A Life in the Slow Lane

The End of the Road

Today was the last day of our trip. Tomorrow we get a Eurotunnel train from Calais to Folkestone and after a day visiting Sarah’s sister in Southern England we will be home on Saturday.

Sarah’s job for the morning was to clear Basil’s cellars to enable us to make a sizeable contribution to France’s wine exports when we cross the channel.

We made our way from our campsite near Le Crotoy to Majestic Wine in Calais, where we had already placed an order to be picked up. Ordering in advance with Majestic in Calais provides the purchaser with an additional 7.5% saving on the advertised price, which Majestic already guarantee are £4 per bottle cheaper than their UK prices.

On our way round Calais, towards the town’s Eastern end, we saw traffic queues on the opposite carriageway and plenty of police activity, which actually distracted me enough that we missed our exit. After having filled Basil to the gunnels at Majestic we made our way back to the motorway and at the roundabout onto the motorway we saw dozens of migrants milling around and others walking across the fields.

When we got onto the eastbound carriageway, we discovered this was the location of the previously seen police activity and we could see some migrants had been detained and the police were scouring the surrounding area with binoculars. As we drove east the opposite carriageway was clogged with vehicles in a traffic jam. Our speculation is that there are roadworks on the westbound carriageway which causes lorries to slow down or even stop, an ideal place for these desperate people to try to stowaway under, in or on lorries. We have decided to take the non-motorway route to the Tunnel tomorrow morning.

Basil at his final stopping place – Gravelines marina

Our overnight stop is at an aire (50.988013, 2.122208) next to the marina in Gravelines. We stayed here at the end of our trip last year and at €3.50 for 24 hours it is very pleasant. Gravelines is a two minute walk away and it is an interesting town which deserves more of our attention one of these days. It was the western most town in the Spanish Netherlands and so has impressive defensive walls and a partially intact moat. We had a quick look round and I have identified a bakery for our morning treats. It will be necessary for us to leave Gravelines at 7.45 am, so I think we will have breakfast in Basil on the train!

Gravelines defensive walls and moat

Gravelines main square

This is the final blog of this trip, which I hope you’ve enjoyed. We will be setting off again next spring and I plan to blog again. The current thinking is that we will visit central Italy, go over to Greece, which we enjoyed so much last year, and then, if I can get insurance sorted out for Basil, we want to do some travelling in the Balkans: Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and ending with Croatia.