Last of Europe
June 2013, North coast of France
We saw a glimpse of the White Cliffs of Dover this afternoon as we arrived. We are camped on nice grassy patch, it’s a cool afternoon here on the coast and we are both loving a little of what we love about France- some cheese and biscuits for dinner with a cheap and v good bottle of wine. We are sitting at our camp having a glass of red in our plastic Spider Man and Shrek cups loving our life in landy. It’s very hard to believe its our last night in Europe before going to the UK. Excited? Sad? Not really as it doesn’t feel remotely real yet. But our ferry is booked for 9:50am, Calais to Dover.
A bit of a back track about the rest of Europe. We spent most of our time in eastern Europe and just buzzed through western Europe. Europe is a head spin! So organised, clean, quiet and easy. I was far more comfortable in the less developed eastern European countries we went through. We had a brilliant time walking the walls of Dubrovnik in Croatia, what a city. It was really hot and we waited until as late in the day as we could to see if it would cool any, it did but only a tiny bit. The city walls are the most complete in the world and provide magnificent views all the way around of the shimmering sea and the enchanting and incredibly picturesque old part of the city.
As soon as we reached the very northern bit of Croatia and crossed into Slovenia (our last border crossing until we reached the UK) there was a drastic change in both landscape and temperature. We had spent the last few weeks boiling, especially in Montenegro and Croatia and everything had a real Mediterranean feel to it, suddenly the temperature dropped (felt cold to us) and the scenery was very Alpine, different trees, different smell and feel and different architecture. We zipped through Slovenia with just one night there, beautiful mountains and magnificent church spires dotted all over. One of the places we decided to have a look at (we only chose a few for Europe, not trying to see too much in a short time) was the Grossglockner Alpine road, a drive that snaked its way up towards the snow capped peaks. We ended up driving through falling snow in landy for the first and only time on the whole trip! Very beautiful and great to be in the mountains, I couldn’t resist throwing a snowball at Olly which, as it often does, backfired! The problem with a snow ball fight is how do you end it? We ran around and around landy which is fine for a while but something has to give! I knew I couldn’t jump back in landy, lock the door and roll up the window in time but I tried anyway and got a big cold splat right in the face!
Germany was a blurr, especially as I picked up a nasty head cold and was feeling pretty rubbish and dozing a lot as we made our way along the autobahn. Every car seemed to be new, spotless and expensive looking, just us rattling along with everyone passing us going at least double our speed! Germany was also where we really felt “We are in Europe” in that it must be the opposite of Africa- so efficient, polished and structured and so much of everything. We stopped to get petrol and found ourselves at a massive complex with two restaurants where you could buy everything, food, newspapers, magazines, toys- we stood there looking around at all the stuff around and feeling very happy to retreat to landy. I have a feeling I will be happy to do that at times as the choice becomes overwhelming, we forgot that is the norm (well the norm for our culture). Weird. Anyway off to Belgium where we decided we would keep going and try to find somewhere nice and small and did we ever, we ended up having a brilliant night. We randomly got off the highway, drove around a bit and found a nice small village where we stopped for a meal out in a pub, tasted some different beers, which the Belgium do so well and then found a picnic area in the woods to pull into for the night, so much better than a camp ground. Surrounded by trees and chirping birds, starting to notice how late it stays light out we happily stayed the night there. The next day, yesterday, was spent a happy time walking around Brugge tasting some yummy chocolates and a cone full of chips with a huge blob of mayonnaise, which was one of my favourite things last time I was in Belgium, yum! So tomorrow we are off to England. Wow…..
L and O