Look around Europe, Stage #1

London to Dover

Yesterday afternoon I loaded up my van and set of on what is to be my first European adventure on the roads. My ferry is due to leave now but rather than leaving super early this morning I chose to drive down last night so I could be fresh for my first European drive. As a rookie van dweller I’m only really on a kind of reconnaissance mission to see how I fare on my own abroad. If this is successful I’m hoping to buy a white van and convert it – I love my Nemo Romahome but it really is tiny and not particularly practical for general use – I like to have more than one passenger seat perhaps a little more storage.

I found a lovely curry house using the app park4night, The Swingate In & Namaste Dover. This app excites me with it’s promises of all sorts of interesting free stays across Europe. This particular site offered free overnight parking as long as a meal was purchased in the restaurant which was more than good for me. The menu was great and I had a lovely chicken biryani, half of which is in my cool box for lunch.

So this morning I got up early in order to practise my van ablution routine which is still not as slick as I’d like. I thought I’d better make a bit of an effort as I’ve arranged to pick up a passenger in Calais through BlaBla car. This is new to me and I’m a bit apprehensive as it’s my first attempt at driving in Europe but I thought I’d take the plunge. My passenger is a 22 year old French psychology student so what could go wrong apart from the fact that I’ve already managed to miss my original ferry by going the wrong way and then messing around filling up my car and buying reflective jackets. I might just have also forgotten that France is an hour ahead so I’ve had to change her pickup time to 1200 rather than 1100, hopefully she is an understanding psychologist.

I’m hoping to make it all the way up to Sieverner See, near Bremerhaven in Germany. An old work colleague of mine moved over there and adopted an 8 year old girl who I am very excited to meet. It’s a long way and I do like a nap so it’s probably luck I have company. Here goes…

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