Same procedure as every year…
This time last year we were at our friends in Nottingham for the British icehockey playoffs. There we had already decided to come back, and that is what we are doing today.
Like at the Didimobile’s first visit on the island we are traveling with the same bunch of people and two vans (the Didimobile and a VW T5), but this year we bring along more time, because our home hockey team, the Hamburg Freezers, are already on vacation – and shall dissolve a month later completely surprisingly.
Past the already well-known border giraffe on Dutch A37 motorway, we follow the familiar, rather boring route across the Netherlands and Belgium to Calais in France. Our stopover is at Boerderijcamping “De Meet” directly on the Dutch-Belgian border in Huijbergen.
The narrow access road lies on Belgian territory, the site itself however lies in the Netherlands. Thus you have to walk from the Netherlands via Belgium back to the Netherlands when going to the facilities in the morning. Crazy. 🙂
No waffel again
The alarm goes off at eight this morgning, the shuttle train is scheduled for 13:20 in Calais, a fair 250 kilometers from here. Enough time to look for a Belgian waffle which we had no chance to get last time. In a Bruges’ suburb we finally find something to eat, just be it at an infamous US-American fastfood chain. No waffle, but burger instead.
This time we take the shuttle train through the Eurotunnel. By chance this auto train was a bit cheaper than the ferry, but turns out to be a real mess already with the booking procedure concerning service and custumer friendliness. Therefore this this connection will remain a one-time only experience for us.
The only positive thing to mention is the possibility to being offered an earlier train than the one booked on site without any surcharge, which has not been possible with any ferry yet. Thus we can directly continue to the loading bay instead of having to wait for half an hour for our booked train.
LeShuttle itself, as the train is officially called, offers little to no comfort at all. Like in a giant car wash the cars are parked one behind the other and passengers stay with their cars for the half hour tunnel passage. The only difference to a car wash is that the car does not become clean.
Time Travel to England
The train ride to England resembles a time travel, because due to the time shift we reach the British shores half an hour before departure in France. Very convenient. 😉
With this gained extra half an hour we start exploring the sunny region on the typical narrow country roads. There are rumors that the name England is derived from the German word for narrow, which is eng.
Without any fixed destination we cruise through tiny villages across Kent until by chance we come across a small campsite in Ashurst. Since it is getting late and we want to have a barbeque tonight while it is still light outside, we turn round and ask for a pitch for the night.
On Manor Court Farm we are warmly welcomed and get a great pitch next to old farm buildings, where the ground is not as wet as elsewhere on this site.
Apart from the obligatory sheep there are chickens, a turkey, cats, guinnea pigs and lots of other animals on the farm. It is situated very calm an idyllic, and does not only offer camping pitches, but also small holiday apartments. As a highlight guests can rent a personal chicken which – with a little bit of luck – lays their guests a very own private egg every morning. 🙂
In the evening there is extensive barbecuing and the debut for the England holiday is considered to be a complete success.
Finally traffic jam on M25
Since we have made more than actually planned yesterday, there are only 300 kilometers left until Nottingham today. Last year the Dartford Crossing has got a new toll collection system and therefore became a real data collector, so we are going to use the M25 clockwise around the western part of London instead. We relaxedly start around 11 in the morning to reach the campsite in Nottingham at around 16:00. Unfortunately we have not considered the omnipresent traffic jam on the M25 which takes us 2.5 hours for 40 Kilometers. We definitely will not make it in time.n.
Past London the roads are clear and we make some progress, but it is only 18:30 that we arrive at Thornton’s Holt Caravan Park, our home for the next four nights.
Not much has changed here, especially not the new facilities building which has been under construction since our first visit in autumn 2014. Although the walls are already standing, there has not been any lighting installed yet. If we will be the first ones to be able to use the new luxury sanitation buildings next year?
On my Cornwall-Tour in summer 2017 (link to German version only) I actually was one of the very first guests to being allowed to extensively test the new building. It’s bright, spacious and comes with a floor heating. Two weeks later it went into full regular service. ♥
Even the chickens which did not leave our side during our first visit are there again. And even the rooster has an eye on his chickens that none of them gets the chance to cheat on him.
Perfect Hockey Weekend
Saturday, 02.04.2016 – Monday, 04.04.2016
The weekend can once again be described as superb. Ten thousand hockeyfans from all over Britain turn Nottingham into a big party zone, and it satys peaceful all the time. All fans are celebrating with each other, be it during the games or in the pubs before or after the matches.
We ware really happy that Nottingham Panthers win this year’s playoffs and thus are British hockey champion. Could not have been a better weekend. 🙂
On Monday our honored ladies want to go back to Rushcliff Abbey again, which we have already visited in 2014. In the evening we meet with the other Hamburg lads and our English friends for a final farewell dinner so we can start in a good mood and well strenghtened for our small roadtrip through the south of England tomorrow.