Southbound

4:00am. I awake half an hour before my alarm but such is the lack of sleep i’ve had/will have, i force myself back to sleep.
5:00am. We’re packed and on the road. An hour and a half sees us at the Port of Dover, quickly waved onto the ferry to join the others already boarded. A cup of tea so awful it’s discarded, cigarette and quick shop and i’m on a small bit of floor, using a kilo of Golden Virginia as a pillow, for no more than an hour.
7:00am GMT. Back in the car, in daylight now. Two hours and we’re in Reims, another two and a half and we’re off the motorway, taking roads less travelled. Desolate and endless, the straight roads keep going through the French countryside for what feels like an age.
12:30 GMT. Take a turning for Bar-le-Duc and follow signs for l’Eleclerc, a large supermarket. It’s Sunday and France is shut; every shop, cafe and bar. Gutted. When turning round, we come across a First World War cemetery and stop to look. Even this tiny town has a large memorial to their 3,000+ that died.
13:30 GMT. Stop at a petrol station briefly for crisps. Past Nancy but not hit Strasbourg yet. Not long before, we’d stopped near Phalsbourg and come across an old US army tank left as a reminder, this time of World War 2. It’s easy to forget what an impact those 31 years had on this rural part of France.
15:30 GMT. Suddenly see a clock tower and finally put our clocks forward.
18:30. Make it through Strasbourg, after a navigational nightmare as the rain beats down so hard you can’t make out the lanes on the road.
20:00. Stop again, this time in a small German town and go into an Italian restaurant called la Romanticita, Italiana. Eat pizza with my sole male companion and feel slightly uncomfortable.
21:00. Go through the border into Switzerland, buying the vignette and noticing the large guns every guard carries. Leave quickly.
0:30. Arrive at Bodhi camping and get saturated while pitching the tent. Unpack the essentials and climb into bed, 30 hours after leaving North Wales. I’ve been driving for nearly 20 of them, and had 5 hours sleep.
10:00 Monday. Awake and realise it was definitely worth it…
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