Holiday in France and Driving the Mille Miglia Route
We had been looking forward to this trip for a long time it was a dream put on hold when The Big C came knocking on my door and demanded a fight. Well the referee lifted my hand at the end of that long fight (I don’t relish a rematch that’s for sure), so this trip has come off the back burner. The route had been planned, the hotels booked and now at last departure day has arrived and a 16 day European adventure awaits.
Day One – Friday 24th May 2013
A normal day in work for me but with a twist – at 4.30 Peanut was picking me up and we were driving straight to Dover to start our holiday. By the time 4.30 came and after another manic day in work I was really excited. The girls I work with sent me off with kind wishes for a great holiday and I left the building and stepped into the waiting SiverBeast. Peanut smile a greeting and I was on holiday. A quick kiss, The Channel Tunnel on our sat nav and we were off!
We were both really excited and chattering away about all sorts, the holiday, what we had packed even the fact that Peanut’s Mum had sewn Velcro pads onto BullyBeast’s feet so that he wouldn’t be flying around in the car. BullyBeast by the way, is our soft toy mascot that sits in SilverBeast guarding him. The train check in was 9.20 so Peanut thought we could stop off at a pub en route for a bite to eat. Sounds like a plan I said. Yep we were excited and giddy and still only 10 miles into our drive. Turn left said the sat nav girl but we were both too excited for her to get our attention and we missed her instruction!
Yep 10 miles in on our epic European adventure and we had gone the wrong way! We had carried on down the M5 to Bristol. I hate going back so we carried on and cut through Stonehouse and Stroud to get back on course. This served only to make matters worse as it was a very slow route. The cost was that our pub dinner became a rushed fish and chips in a service station followed by heavy traffic on the M25 and us only arriving at the Tunnel at the time of check in. We were stressed but for nothing as in truth it was chaos at the Tunnel due to it being Bank holiday weekend and they could not cope with the volume of traffic. All trains were running late and it was 12.30 French time before we drove our first mile on French soil!
Saturday 25th May 2013
The drive down to our apartment in Port Cogolin went without a hitch, there was no traffic problems and armed with a little box in the car we were able to breeze through the tolls. Most of them had quick tolls where you only had to slow to 30 km/h as you drove through the toll and the barrier lifted automatically. This gizmo really does speed up these trips.
However, we had lost a couple of hours waiting to cross the tunnel so our arrival at Port Cogolin was not until 1 pm. However, the drive was especially easy as we made sure we stopped for a small snooze while it was still dark so in truth it was 4 hours of night driving and 6 hours of daylight driving.
We leave the motorway and come into Port Cogolin via La Garde Freinet and Grimaud. This is a beautiful though windy last twenty miles of the drive and we always get so excited doing this bit. We turned into Port Cogolin and were greeted by the sight of the back of our apartment block all freshly painted and gleaming in the sun. A nice surprise and Happy times!
We brought our bags up and spent the next hour unpacking, brushing the patio and generally making the place home. It is a mad hour of hard work but worth it as we are then settled in. It is a very weird feeling as you just carry on from where you left off the last time you were here. You know how sometimes you leave work on a Friday night, have a fantastic weekend but by 10 past nine on the Monday morning it is like the weekend never happened and you are just back at work. Well it is like that but in six month chunks. Most peculiar.
The next job was to get the famous checked shopping trolley out and stroll to Geant the nearby hypermarket to get tea and a sandwich and to stock up on supplies. Back at the apartment and I have already decided I want to have two new canvasses done of photographs from around and about so it’s off for a walk to see what I can photograph for my freshly hatched plan. Dinner with a glass or two of wine and a fun philosophical chat with Lady Peanut rounded off a lovely day.