We woke today with very mixed feelings as it was time to start the journey back to the UK and reality! We were both looking forward to seeing friends and family again, but at the same time life on the road was a whole world of fun and we knew that going back to ‘normal’ life would be a bit of a shock to the system. All of that was a twelve hour drive away however, so we set of on our two day mission to Calais.
Over the course of the past 157 days we’ve driven through some awe inspiring scenery, sadly the 7 1/2 hours that made up day one of the journey home don’t fall into this category! Mile upon mile of flat road, interspersed with aging hamlets, a prison and industrial estates followed.
Admittedly we didn’t plan the route back in any great detail, so probably missed lots of nice places, but if you do the same trip and use google maps (no toll road option!) be prepared! Finally arriving at our stop for the night, we made a quick trip to the local Carrefour to pick up a relaxing beer and some nibbles before retiring to the BFG for dinner whilst the rain danced on the roof of the van.
Waking to the final day on the road, we certainly noticed the drop in temperature the further north we headed. With another five hours to go, we set off early in the hope of getting an early ferry. The closer to Calais we got, the more built-up things became, and soon enough we could see the white cliffs of Dover ahead of us – a very strange feeling after such a long time away from home.
Arriving at Calais we only had a short wait before being ushered onto our ferry back to the UK. It had been a very windy drive up, and the wind was still blowing hard, so it looked like we were in for a crossing that would give a roller coaster a run for its money!
Fortunately as we exited the calm of the port, the channel wasn’t as bad as we were expecting and before we knew it, it was time to get back in the BFG and for me to remember how to drive on the right (wrong?!) side of the road whilst also driving on the dark!
It was certainly a bit of a shock to the system as we made our way home trying to avoid rush hour traffic. I’d forgotten how narrow and twisty UK roads can be, and by the time we arrive home, I was shattered!!
So that was it, after 8914 miles and 10 countries, la grande aventure was over. It had been an amazing 159 days of wonderful places, people and experiences. From mountain tops and deep fjords, to vineyards and sandy beaches, Europe has so much to see and we’ve barely scratched the surface! We have a long list of places to head back to, new places to see that we didn’t manage to get to and new friends to visit!