France – Chunnel and Le Bec-Hellouin
30th August 2022
Holiday time, our first trip to France in three years!
Early morning alarm, 4:30 am, and off on the road at 5:05 am. We needed to make the 9:50 Chunnel crossing. Poor old Google was sure there was a closed road on the route. We hoped we knew better so ignored her. The traffic down the A41 and around the M25 and M20 was light. The parking lot on the east bound lanes was devoid of the anticipated lorries awaiting their turn to cross the channel. Predictably we arrived exceedingly early and could go on the 8:20 crossing for free or pay £33 for the 7:50. The 8:20 crossing it was. The formalities at passport control were quick, a stamp in the passport, no inquisition on our finances or where we were booked to stay. No questions regarding ham sandwiches!
At the other end, we were straight onto motorway and heading down south, to Le Bec-Hellouin. Soon we were on to the local roads, ignoring the faster toll roads. At Rouen, we took a different route to how we normally progress, more into the city and along the underpasses. Thankfully, Google took us off the underpasses at the point where they went down to 1.8 meters high (the campervan is over 2.00). I just managed to see the height restriction at the same time 🙂 Wow that was a near one.
Out of the city it was now a short distance to Le Bec-Hellouin, so we made a supermarket stop to stock up on meat and dairy (both of which we can’t bring from the UK). We were trying to run down our preloaded Euros on a PO debit card. It was due to expire on the 31st. We searched for a cash machine to remove more of the Euros from the prepaid account. The bank at the first stop was closed, with no machines outside. These French lunches!! The second stop was in a busier area, and I was able to withdraw some Euros.
We headed to Camping Saint Nicolas in Le Bec-Hellouin, a site we have stayed at several times, the first time was in a tent as we were returning to England. It is a pleasant site, with a bar and restaurant. The site is a convenient distance from Calais for a first night. There is also the Abbey to visit withing walking distance. The campsite was very quiet, just a few vans and caravans which stopped overnight. Never seen it so empty.
A lovely supper of a precooked vegetable and bean chilli plus rice and a smashed avocado. During the evening, we were entertained by bats swooping within centimetres of us and a large, black cat. Rosemary was more successful in photographing the bats on her mobile phone than I was on my new EOS R7. Both though did not make the grade for inclusion in the attached gallery.
The black cat was quite a fat cat, doing well off the campers. Late at night Rosemary had trouble with him, tripping over him as he weaved in and out of her legs in front of her. A black cat on a black night was difficult to see.