(hopefully the google map location worked above, bear with me if it didn’t)
Buzz, buzz, buzz the alarm goes off at 4am, by 4.20am we were ready to leave this Aire at Canterbury for the euro tunnel. I popped over to the ticket machine, guess what, it’s broken! The screen was locked at a £45 credit card payment at 8.32pm last night! I frantically put my ticket in all the slots and then any slot but to no avail!
Now we are trapped in the compound, the barrier can only be opened with a ticket. The clock is ticking, I press the help buttons but there’s no response, I run around to the other side of the building, there might be another ticket machine, there isn’t. I can see another payment machine inside the building, but the doors are locked! A quick look around for a telephone number but there isn’t any information at all.
What am we going to do? Incredibly a council employee arrived in a van, I literally pounced on him, not a pretty site at 4.35am! After a quick explanation he kindly opened the building and I used the inside machine, made my payment and we escaped!
Drove to the tunnel but due to my poor planning, I had to stop twice at the terminal, once to dig the passports out and my debit card that I paid on, secondly to switch the gas off, we joined the queue but we didn’t make the 5.45 am, we had to wait for the next one at 6.20am
We were directed on to the train carriage about 6.10am, now we were in the first 10 vehicles at the front of the train.
35 minutes later we arrived and drove off cautiously and slowly towards Dunkerque. I have to familiarise myself to the new driving situation, positioning despite the van being a left-hand drive. I quickly grew in to it. After half an hours drive we pulled off the A16 for diesel at 1.37 euro per litre.
Breakfast at the seaside, pulled up at Dunkerque near the beach front, the weather is not so kind, it’s pouring with rain and very grey, we would like a walk, but we didn’t sleep last night and need to have a nap.
We moved to an old Aire camping spot 200 yards away and we had 40 winks. Awoken by the council maintenance team cutting and strimming the overgrown grassy areas, we have a look at finding somewhere to sleep tonight. After researching we decide to go to Ypres about 30 miles away and stay on a newly built Aire. Put the coordinates in and off we go, after an hour it doesn’t feel right, and we end up outside a farmer’s barn, this is definitely not right!
We check the coordinates again and I had mixed the digits up, maybe it’s because I was tired, the correct ones entered and now it’s another hour’s drive! I am annoyed with myself, but I’ve learnt an invaluable lesson to check the map after the coordinates have been entered.
Found the Aire easily and it’s a good spot, by a large lake surrounded by tall trees, it has all the usual facilities (no toilets) for 8 euros per night including electric. (N50.83628, E2.90506) Kampeerautoterrein Zillebekevijver.
It’s a short walk in to Ypres tomorrow and the weather forecast is looking better as well.