friday 15th Hasselt - Calais - Dover
todays plans: work :-D drive to Calais, take the boat to the UK (Dover) as footpassengers, and stay the evening in Dover.
slept a good three hours. Off to work at 8am. I felt very surreal because of the lack of sleep second night in a row, but was able to get everything done like it should, and went back home to re-pack and get ready. We planned to leave asap, as its a bit of a drive. We assumed the traffic would be smooth because most people are off today. well we didnt really had problems, but it was very crowded with people going to the coast. Also from the corner of my eye I saw a warning that said something with “15km traffic jam” and “antwerp”
So, did we have to avoid Antwerp, or make a detour to Antwerp? confusion. Traffic info on the radio sorted it out, you had to avoid Antwerp as there were huge, huge trafficjams because of roadwork. Never thought of that! (and so glad we were going via Brussels)
Things got a bit silly after that because we’re so tired, but we got in Calais nice and smooth.
At home we looked up where to park, but ofcourse in real life it was way different. We found the only left over spot on the free parking, so we parked and got ready. Robert went for a walk and noticed something alarming: all the cars around us were damaged one way or the other. Slashed tires, broken windows, missing mirrors, everything! we didnt feel safe anymore and decided to check out the paid parking. More confusion, so we asked a staff member and he said “just get your car and park here” so we did. We’re right in front of the terminal in plain view so I hope they leave us alone!
not much excitement going on here at te moment. We’re at the gate waiting for the bus to the boat. Security check was kinda cute. Then funny passport control: first you go to the window for the french passport control, then you walk 10 steps and there’s the British passport control.
It has been 7 years since we went to the UK this way. I’m just as (happily) nervous :-) Sea is calm.
16.15 CET - big boat :-)
“not very crowded here” we thought when we walked on board, but 5 minutes later busloads of a) young children (very quiet) b) screaming german teenagers c) screaming English teenagers d) screaming random teenagers (ok I’m overreacting) and also Spanish tourists. Lots of people doing quick naps on one of the many benches (quite comfy if you wear earplugs!)
the boat is filled with screaming 16 year olds :-S (still better that a SINGING CHOIR)
and there are some serious waves too apparently. We found a starbucks corner (the slowest ever, but we got a discount)
When we left the harbour, we had a very nice view on Calais with its churches, the superpretty belltower and the white lighthouse.
View on Dover was just as nice as the view on Calais, but the cliffs were remarkable whiter. Thats probably why its the white cliffs of Dover and not the white cliffs of Calais.
there were about 10 footpassengers, and finding the way out in Dover was complicated at least. How many times can you run up and down the same stairs? (and everytime you run up, you have to fight yourself a way trhough busloads of teenagers)
21.00 UK - Dover.
So far so good! enjoying the day. Dover isnt very charming but has a very big castle on top of a hill and the people are all friendly. Our BnB isnt expensive, but ok! very friendly owners. Tiny room though with miniature bathroom, not suitable for big or tall people! went into town for a walk, didnt feel very safe at all times. Shops were all just closed as we arrived, bummer! only one we could see was ofcourse a thriftstore. Theres so many of them in the UK! some nice houses in the city center and some impressive old buildings. Sun started shining and it wasnt as cold as expected.
only really bad thing is crossing the road here!! you have to look to the right first, feels so weird and un natural. We’re tired and we just grab eachother and look all around us, even behind us and up :-D :-D I’m glad they’re used to some confused mainlanders here.
we found a street (the Highstreet out of town) with lots of small local restaurants, and some indian restaurants (at least two of them were called Taste of India) so we chose one. I had a supertasty meal with lamb and tomato sauce, and Robert managed to choose the Atomic Chicken Special again!!! (and it wasnt even hot according to the menu. There were also dishes “hot” “very hot” and “extremely hot” ?! )
He did finish it but the tears were almost running down his face.
Visit to the local supermarket was planned, to get some fruit and veggies and chips (i mean cripspsspsps) and sweets. ASDA and Morrisons were next door to eachother. I had the feeling ASDA was cheaper so we went there. Regrets! though the staff was friendly, I didnt like the shop at all and just wanted to leave. Back to Morrisons, were Robert sat down and I had some extatic 15 minutes running around looking at snacks and food, and giggling about signs and words. Esp “crisps” ( = chips) and “everyday biscuits” I wonder where the fancy biscuits were! so many cool english stuff like crackers for cheese and crackers and 100 types of marmelade and lemoncurd (drooool) and so many cookies that looked so different than at home. And cakes and rolls too! and oatmeal bars (flapjacks) and toffee and caramel and, and, and. I managed to leave the shop with only carrots and water for me. (and crisps for Robert)