Turns out, we are off

To spend three months on the road in Bertha takes time to prepare. Time to ensure that she’s road-ready, and fully clean both inside and out. Time to plan and pack for a comfortable home on the road as well as essentials for safe and legal travel.

Time to research and plan a route, complete paperwork, make bookings ahead for ferry crossings and at busy campsites. Time to get trip fit on long walks and cycle trails. Time also to spend with family and friends and to wrap up everyday life by shutting up home and finishing work.

Time to get trip fit along the Seven Sisters

Five different trips across ten years has taught us the value in time taken to prepare, except that this time we didn’t have any time.

Five weeks before we were to begin a road trip to Hungary we were blissfully unaware and planning a social early summer. An urgent call from one workplace and a pragmatic conversation at the other sounded the starting gun and suddenly, we are off!

So, it was with a strange feeling of other worldliness that we stood on the deck of the Seven Sisters smiling incredulously at the bright white coastline of the same name and, in my case, clutching the blue plastic wallet that contained the Plan. The crossing was calm and allowed for discussion over maps as to where to head from Dieppe.

Leaving Blighty

We left the harbour, busy with French bank holiday weekenders and headed an hour south on the route to Paris, stopping at the village of Cleres.

The aire was well laid out on level ground with hedging and as we ventured into the pretty half-timbered village centre with a cruck frame medieval market place and winding streets cut through by a channelled stream, we were waved at excitedly by a young bride in a big Rolls Royce heading to her wedding party.

The venue turned out to be the large hall in our aire making for a long night of boisterous but good humoured interruption.

The eighteenth century market hall ‘Les Halles’

The music finally finished at 6am and as blearily we sipped tea at 8am the last of the revellers shambled away. Not the most restful of starts to a trip but with the turmoil of the last weeks, and with the prospect of Brexit and now a General Election behind us, it felt the right time to be taking a break from Blighty.

Our first home for the night on our 2017 tour, at Cleres Aire