We decided to set off in advance of our scheduled start, the reason being that
we would have to get up at 5am, drive 45 miles and catch the train to arrive
in France around 8 or 9 o'clock and have the daylight for driving the long haul
to Berlin. This meant going to bed early and we both felt too excited to sleep
at this point so I said to Nathalie:
"Call the booking office, let's go!"
It was around 10pm.
"You wanna go now?!" She replied.
"Yeh! Let's go! We can cross and then sleep for a few hours".
I felt the anticipation reaching a climax as the weeks of checking routes and costs, and whether Nathalie would be at work at this point or not, all those thoughts about which way, where would we stay, did we have enough money, would we make it?
Now we were on our way at last and all those thoughts had started to refine themselves as we
settled into the 'no-turning-back' phase. We planned to drive to Lithuania, one of the Baltic States the other side of Poland which until 1991 was part of the old Soviet Union.
We had a Renault Trafik van which I had spent all day making comfortable for the journey - the idea to save money by sleeping in the van periodically - by laying layers of carpet underfelt on the wooden floor, covered with a large mat, and with the aid of 2 hooks would be able to hang a blind over the back windows, and a curtain over the front. I'd also fitted a shelf onto the left rear wheelguard in order to have somewhere to put the camping stove and plates when we ate. Three boxes of food, bedding, cooking/eating utensils, and usual baggage, including a few gifts for friends, and last but not least the flask for refreshments as we travelled .
I'd been three times before and always had the desire to return.
Being a Northern country, opposite Sweden across the Baltic Sea, it was cold from October to March/April but for the rest of the year can be quite hot from May onwards.
Before arriving in Lithuania we intended to stop off in Eindhoven.
The plan was to arrive in Eindhoven around lunchtime, have a look round and then find a campsite and chill out amongst the greenery and ambience which can only be found in Holland.
We'd managed to book the 01.30 train from Folkestone which was only a short drive from Chatham
so we arrived early at the terminal and waited in the car park for 20 minutes watching other travellers arriving.
My preference for speed and comfort is the tunnel but I don't mind the sea crossing if the water is calm! Also much better at off-peak times.
The train emerged from the tunnel, the lights of the marshalling yards signifying terra firma. I put the book away that I had been reading aloud to Nathalie during the 25 minutes under the sea. The cost, pre-booked, is £164 one way. After a few minutes wait for security checks the van eased off the transporter onto French soil.