Saturday, 31 July 2010

Day 15: Calais to York

Last night, our final night in continental Europe, we has an authentic french meal. No frogs legs or snails mind, but french onion soup, chicken and shallot sauce and crepes. Rounded off the trip nicely I thought. I opted for a shower last night, so I could get an extra 10 minutes in bed this morning, obvs, but there was no frigging hot water! I blowdried my entire body dry just for a bit of warmth. We were really looking forward to, finally, a night in a comfy bed. But low and behold, neither us could sleep; we're both really stiff this morning too. Typical.

The return leg of the trip, and we're both horrendously depressed, but horrendously brown (well, I'd like to think I am. Not at all red either. Win!)

We've had an amazing time on our travels, and have learnt so much. For example, we now know that being in a moving car is tiring, whether you're driving or not. And that when you think you're going to get a solid 9 hours sleep, in reality this is closer to 3 due to snoring, itching bites, uncomfortable ground, heat/cold, rain, drips of water on your head or sarah rolling on your face. We now know that in warm weather you must make a choice between being eaten alive by ants in the shade or boiling in your own skin and in cold weather you must not camp in the following areas;
a) on a mountain
b) in a valley
c) in Switzerland

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. If we were to do this again we would ...
1. Bring a blow up mattress
2. Bring cooking equipment/BBQ
3. Bring extra towels
4. Prepare for weather better. I.e blankets, fans etc
5. Buy a satnav
6. Buy mosquito repellent
7. Buy an adult sleeping bag and 2nd roll mat
8. Make sure bags/phones etc are under pillows when sleeping
9. Bring tire pumpy uppy thing
10. Plan to go somewhere big on the way back, like Paris or Venice. We ended up kinda aimlessly travelling around random countries and campsites.
11. Bring toilet roll. Some campsites (not in a specific country or area) don't provide toilet roll. We've been hoarding napkins at every restaurant we've been in. Sarah resorted to baby wipes!
12. Sarah would have brought chairs to sit on, but I veto this idea in favour of a blanket to sit on. We wouldn't want to look like massive camping geeks.
13. Bring a full set of playing cards. Don't rely on the Swiss to provide these.
14. Buy a better camping light/torch, or bring better replacement batteries. Sarah resorted to reading by iPhone, and I used the torch that was so bright it only lit up one word at once.
15. Go in a campervan!

Although we moaned a bucketful about the tent, the campsites and the sleepingbags, neither of us would have done it any other way really. The freedom of camping/living out of a car for 2 weeks can't be beaten by the train/hostel alternative. Not for us anyway. We did have to establish a few rules for camping though.

Rules of camping club
101: when its raining, don't touch the side of the tent
102: no farting in the tent
103: sleep with bags under pillows.
104: no wine in the tent, unless it has been decanted into a empty screw top, plastic beer bottle
105: 'set up tent before going camping' ....that was advice on the actual tent. See photo. Good job it told us, I was just going to camp with it still in its bag. Duh

Miles: 3000 (give or take a mile or two)
Countries: 10

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