Monday, May 5, 2014

Wow!! Sun 4 May ‘14

Warning !  There are lots of photos in this blog post … we got very excited today!!  We have written this up in Windows live writer and will publish it in a Maccers when we find one tomorrow!

El here … writing this while Paul is sunbaking beside the River Seine … not bad for a first day!  Before getting to today’s events though, we should add a little more from last night !  After we published the blog the Landlady showed us her two dogs behind the bar !  The black one is an unclipped Schnauzer who has her own stool behind the bar!  Here she is … you can hardly see her features she is sooo black …P1060279

… and here is the other one – a Papillon.  They were both most unimpressed with Sammy and Bombo being in their bar!!  


The crowd in the pub last night were so friendly and heaps of fun … we ended up staying much later than we had intended and having a great chat with the locals … especially the local volunteer Coastguard, Ken, who had lots of tales to tell!  A great night!  We would thoroughly recommend it as a stop off point before going to the ferry at Dover.  It is the Plough and Harrow, as mentioned in the previous blog post.

So, this morning we set off at 7 am … yes, the first 7 o’clock in the day … shocking stuff !  Here was our first sighting of the sea and the ferries …P1060284

What an absolutely huge place the ferry port is .. but it was relatively quiet.  I had all our documents in order to pass over to someone … but we just kept getting waved on … no-one wanted to check us, nor the animals, out!


We got in line and had a little wait before boarding, so we took the dogs for walk and grabbed a cup of coffee.  Then it was time to load up – here we go … Sammy was navigating!


Here we are parked up inside the ferry …


… and now up on the deck.  I may be smiling but I was fretting about the puppies in the van … A LOT!  What a shame you can’t be with them during the crossing.  At least they had all their home comforts in the van …it was not as if they were in a box travelling to Aus!!!  I think I made the decision today that I can’t do it to them again ie we will have to live somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere until the dogs are no more … not that I want them to be no more, you understand !


The water was soooo calm.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day …


So then it was silly selfie time to pass the time away … P1060301

The inside of the ferry was amazing !  Not at all like the old ferries we both remember … this one was well plush !


Eventually we got into Calais (it was a 90 min journey) and I finally got to return to the boys in the van.  They were pretty excited to see us!  We set off and soon got out into the BEAUTIFUL French countryside.  It was absolutely spectacular and not at all what we both expected. 

We needed to fill up with fuel and hadn’t found a servo when the fuel light started flashing.  Oops!  We turned off the main road in the hope of finding a local servo … but we didnt !  We asked a local lady who directed us along and left and along and then left again and et voila … there it should be!  So we did that … and it wasn’t !  So … we decided to get back on the main road when, lo and behold, we saw a little petrol pump displayed on the GPS.  We followed the GPS directions to it and found it pretty quickly.  Turned out to be a self service servo … so we had to read all the instructions on the machines en Francais !!  We took a flying guess that Gazzole was Diesel!!!

Paul tried to use his new fancy currency card from Fair FX in the machine but it was rejected !  Oh bugger … we had to dig out another card, that we hadn’t intended on using. 

Here is the van .. just about fitting under the servo roof … and Paul giving the doggies a quick walk.  Lovely countryside around!


The dogs were completely knackered today … and kept assuming their positions at any opportunity … poor puppies !


After the FX card kerfuffle we decided we should try and find an ATM machine to test it out, so we called into Rouen city centre.  We turned a corner and were confronted by an amazing view of the River Seine, then turned a corner to see some brilliant Churches.  It was a big WOW moment!  Shame we couldn’t really take it all in as we were on a mission to find a Banque automatique!  We found one eventually, tried the card and got rejected again. Double bugger!  Had to use another card (that we hadn’t planned on using!) to get some Euros out.  We decided we would try to check out the FX website to see what was going on and also decided that this was such an emergency situation where we had decided we would switch on the Wifi … triple bugger .. it didn’t work!  So, we gave up and carried on our way …

Just some random Wowwy Chateau along the way …


We had decided to go to an Aire that was on the River Seine in Oissel but after an hour of trying to get to it and going round it circles we gave up and headed for another one in Pont de L’Arche …much easier to find !!!

This Aire only takes 4 motorhomes at a time and, as luck would have it, one was just pulling out as we pulled in!!  So we parked up and jumped out with the dogs. We said ‘Bonjour’ to a local puppy and his Mum and then I had a go at conversing in my terrible High School French with her!  We had a good bit of a English – French chat for a while … quite interesting!  Turned out she and her hubby live locally but they are trying to get their new Puppy used to the van as they are going to Italy soon. Lovely couple and lovely dog .. not sure what breed she said it was … sounded like Grenache but I think that is wine!  Does anyone know how to say ‘What breed is your dog?’ in French … I think it is a good conversation opener! As it was I said to her … ‘er, Bichon Frise??’!!  (I did look up ‘breed’ in my French dictionary but it was all about …er, breeding, so I had better get that phrase right!)


We decided to have a little walk around the town, first passing by the Aire service point, proudly displaying where you could put your grey water …


The houses and Churches … are just Wow !  We said that word a lot today!


I think these houses look like something out of a story book …


Paul’s arty shot for the day …


I was a bit knackered myself by this point in the day so went back to the van to get some Dejeuner happening !  Paul continued walking along and around the river with the dogs and came back with these shots …


Motorhome bottom left hand corner … beside the river in Pont de L’arche … lovely!


Poor boy was tired himself when he got back, so he grabbed his chair and his beer and pushed up a few Zzzzzzs for half an hour in the sun!


I will try and get a bit more high tech with this bit but for the moment the following pic will suffice to show you where we are at!


I think we will sleep well tonight ! 

Toodloo for now Smile


  1. Wow!!! Jealous!!!
    Elaine, you really do want to get that "what breed is your dog?" Sorted out. You might accidentally ask something you don't want to know the answer to!
    So glad to see you having such fun.
    Elly x

    1. Cheers guys, all good fun in the sun!

  2. Hi Paul - looks fantastic! Could you be looking for the phrase Quelle race est votre chien? As for the maps, I use Google maps, put in our starting point and destination as if searching for directions - this puts a route on the map, then use the share button to provide the HTML code to put (embed) into the blogger editor - (in HTML mode not plain English mode, quite easy as you are just copying and pasting). The map complete with your route is then posted as an interactive image. Peter.

    1. It is fantastic Peter, I have passed over the map thingy to Elaine the navigator, she can work that out.

  3. Wow.... what a superb start to your continental adventure... great pics too

    Andy & Sue

  4. Jill, Matilda RoseMay 5, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Welcome to the European mainland!