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Three go to France 16

Day 1

A bit of a fraught start with the car seemingly needing to be bigger than it is. In the end the Tardis effect worked and the boot/trunk was full and half the back seat not occupied by Reggie was packed too.

Once we had filled the tank and checked in to find we had an hour delay we had time to let Reggie have a run about in the dog exercise area.

Our original departure time was 1020. The huge board by where I parked said it was now 1050.

We rushed into the terminal to get a coffee. Huge queues so made do with a crappy machine.

We should have bothered. We sailed through passports, UK and French, and into Lane 12. It was 1014.

Our place for the next 50 minutes was that queue. It rained a few times and that 1050 crossing faded.

Almost an hour was up and we moved up to the next queue, tantalisingly close to a train.

On the down ramp we could see another train loading in parallel.

1120 came and went. At 1141 we finally wheezed out of the station.

Delays of over 30 minutes on UK railways are eligible for compensation but not Eurotunnel. The lack of information is the main source of frustration.

Finally in France and the exit from the train was to turn left and out of the back entrance rather than the usual right turn and out past the petrol station. Who knows why. No one bothered to explain!!!

The run down the A16 to Abbeville tested the new toll tag I got from SANEF the French autoroute operator in the North. You just drive up to the toll, it peeps and off you go. Pay later.

First stop the Baie de la Somme services for a coffee and sandwich. It's always a reliable stop and plenty of parking.

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From the Baie de la Somme services it was a short run to the campsite at La Mollière.

We checked in quite quickly and drove round the one way system to emplacement 136 where our mobil-home is placed.

As Reggie takes ownership of anywhere he stays, he gets protective and defends. This means there is liable to be barking. I asked for a spot with little passing traffic. That's what we have.

After unpacking we had a walk across the road to the dunes. We had imagined the sea to be there. Wrong.

We also climbed this 60 foot sand dune when a walk along to the west would have seen us walk through a gap on a path....

It was good exercise and we were the only ones daft enough to do it.

For dinner we ate in on Carrefour supermarket microwave lasagna. Yum.

20161001_191527.jpg20161001_192545.jpgOur Home for the week

Our Home for the week

Day 2

I mentioned that Reggie can be protective but what I really meant was overprotective. It rained heavily overnight and as well as that there were strange animal noises to keep him busy at intervals all night.

The beds are okay and the sleeping bags are similarly okay. But having a dog having mental barking fits is not so good.

Luckily being off season the four similar units we drive past to 136 are all empty. At least no one for Reggie to annoy.

The people in 137 across the roadway are in their own caravan and they seem to talk loudly all night until gone midnight. Reggie does not like that either.

So Day 2 dawned a little dull and we had a walk to reception to collect our bread order. The French love their fresh baguette every morning.

Once breakfast was over we set off for Cayaux and after a walk and coffee we went to look for the tall chalk cliffs that extend from Ault almost to Le Tréport. We found them.

Le Tréport is a very lively town on a Sunday with free parking everywhere after 30th September.
Something other places might like to note to attract visitors to spend money rather grubbing about for €1 an hour parking.

We had a walk around the harbour and coffee and gauffres before setting off back to the campsite.
A long day ended with Carrefour couscous and a beer to wash it down.

It is easier with the dog to eat out if need be at lunchtime and in for the evening.

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Day 3

After another dog affected night we awoke to bright sunshine. Again Reggie and I went to get the bread. The cats that live near reception kept a low profile.

After breakfast we drove into St Valery and parked up. Pay again.

As we walked along the pedestrian area Ali guide the bay the tide was us starting to turn. We had a coffee at La Terrasse before walking to the end where the river opens into the marshy bay.

The tide was rushing in quickly and in less than half an hour the beaches on the far side of this inlet had gone and it was lapping up against the concrete sides on the town side.

We stopped in La Terrasse again. This time for lunch. A goats cheese salad for Claire and a blue cheese burger for me. Amazingly I could eat all the chips/fries.

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We called in a Lidl for some supplies on the way back and noticed a McDonald's as well.....

After Reggie's dinner we went into Cayaux for another walk as it was still bright and sunny.

Tonight's dinner is fish soup and bread bought in the Carrefour.

Day 4

Another disturbed night due to whatever has Reggie awake and growling plus today the locals are out with their shotguns.

It is a miserable existence for anything that can fly in France as the brave hunters will shoot it. From endangered songbirds to ducks if it takes to the wing some twat in camouflage gear will shoot at it.

I almost feel sorry for the French air force as they flew along the course of the Somme the day before. A target that big?

After breakfast and a short walk we both had an extra lay in to get some rest. Relaxing this holiday isn't! !

It meant we were late going across the bay to Le Crotoy.

With pay to park everywhere I moved the car a few times to more convenient places all on the one ticket.

Reggie wasn't enjoying today's walk and he wasn't allowed on the beach here.

We had a coffee and sit in the sun for a while. Nice to soak up the warmth.

On the way back we stopped in another Carrefour and got some sandwiches for lunch plus some tarte de pommes.

We ate the sandwiches at St Valéry overlooking the river. The tartes waited until we got home.

The late afternoon spent reading and blogging.

Day 5

Today we had a lazy day, or at least start to the day. Late breakfast and a walk for Reggie to do his ablutions.

Today we stayed local again. Going into St Valéry for a walk about and down to the railway station on the harbour to watch the train leave.

The train is a heritage line and runs from Le Crotoy to St Valéry almost all year and in the summer there is an extension to Cayeux.

We were lucky enough to arrive in time see it leave at 1430.

Baie de la Somme Railway

Baie de la Somme Railway

After we watched it fill up and leave there was time to have a barquette of frites between us.

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Once again we ate in for the evening meal.

Day 6

Today is pet passport day. A drive into Abbeville where the TomTom took us straight to the door.

We were very early and so we parked, again free, and went for a walk around a garden before a coffee.

Abbeville can't be confused with an interesting city centre. The town hall looks like it was styled on an ancient design with a tower but in white concrete....

The church is old though. Still ugly.

We had time for a pannini and then it was gone 3pm. The short walk to the vets gave Claire a chance to pop into a boulangerie and buy a meringue for after dinner.

The nice lady vet checked Reggie over and filled in his passport and gave him the worming tablet. He thought it was a treat and gobbled it down. We left ten minutes later and €30.10 lighter in the pocket but with the passport filled in to get him back into the UK.

On the way back to the campsite I saw a sign for a WW1 military cemetery dedicated to Chinese workers. This one at Noyelles has 811 registered burials.

Later I Googled it to find that the allies employed 96000 Chinese workers during the course of the war. Many of these graves show no names but others have names in English and Chinese.

The traditional entrance has been replaced with a Chinese style arch. Still designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The architect of many British memorials.

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

Noyelles-sur-Mer Chinese Cemetery

The inscription is by the Chinese ambassador in Paris at the time.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/68500/NOYELLES-SUR-MER%20CHINESE%20CEMETERY

Another night in after a stop at the supermarket for beer and some dinner.

Tonight Reggie encountered his first hedgehog. A bit of barking and lunging at it ended up with the hog in a prickly ball and Reggie having to be tugged away.

Day 7

Our last full day of the holiday. I had hoped to get to St Valéry and ride the train but a bit of back ache meant I could hardly move for hours. Okay sitting or walking but nothing in between.

In the end a it was also our wedding anniversary we decided to have lunch out. We had exhausted St Valéry and so headed for Le Tréport again.

We have always thought of France as being more dog friendly than UK but we still felt odd asking at L'Aquarius whether Reggie could go inside with us. "But of course" was the response. The food was good and Claire got her mussels.

We had a walk around before heading up to the heights above the town to check out the views. It's also up here where the Funiculaire has its upper terminus.

As we walked along the top of the cliff to overlook the town. Below it looked like a model village. The funicular runs through the cliff and like parking in Le Tréport it is free.

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport Military Cemetery

Le Treport Military Cemetery

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Le Treport

Of course in lieu of missing the train ride we had to go down to the town and back up again. Then it was back to the camp to start packing and another dinner in.

Tonight was Reggie's second encounter with a hedgehog. This time a much bigger one but with the same result.

Day 8

The last day.

We had to be up early as the mobil-home had to be cleaned and the floor washed before we could get one of the staff to come over and check that we hadn't broken or stolen anything....

We had checked the inventory on arrival and they check it when we leave. Many of the FB and TripAdvisor comments seemed to find this strange.

We hadn't used any of their bedding as we had taken sleeping bags and our own pillows, plus throws to stop Reggie leaving hair or mud on the furniture.

We brushed round and then I washed the floor with the sachet of hospital cleaning grade cleaner they had left.

We eventually left about 1015. First stop the recycling bins and then off towards home.

A coffee stop again a Baie de Somme. Reggie had people laughing as he was looking in the water out back when a huge carp swam towards him. He jumped in the air like his legs were springs. After that he wouldn't near the edge, not even to bark or growl at the ducks.

And then we were off again. Cruise control at 70mph and we passed maybe one other car in 60 miles.

Before pet check-in we went to the Auchun to fill the tank with cheap French diesel. The price was €1.119 a litre. Today's exchange rate about 1.159 to the £. So less that a £ a litre. At home the same in £'s at Tesco.

And then to the fiasco that is border controls.

Pet check-in was easy and Reggie and his passport sailed through. ANPR picked us up and we joined the relatively short queue to French controls. Slowly edging forward through empty booths. The French not bothering to check the passports.

The slowness was because UK Border Agency, or whatever pseudo US name they have given themselves now, had only three booths open. Plus one for coaches only. There was one coach...

We edged forward and then it was all done and dusted. Only 45 minutes from checking in and getting 400 metres up the tarmac.

It did mean we could go straight onto the train. A miracle that it left on time. The first time in many years

And 40 minutes* later we arrived at Folkestone for the short journey home.

Holidays for 2016 over.

  • you don't believe all that 35 minutes advertising spiel do you?

Posted by InvictaMoto 08:40 Archived in France

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