Back to England
Monday 30th October – Thursday 2nd November
Booked the Chunnel last night so looking forward to this new adventure. All the English Channel crossings in the past years have been either by plane or boat.
Left Zonnebeke Belgium in plenty of time to allow for traffic hold ups. Just as well as we struck standstill traffic along the highway which held us up for nearly an hour.
Ready with passports in hand at the Belgium border into France but again no sign of police or customs officers at the border.
The departure terminals were massive but really easy to navigate through. Our Australian Passports were scanned but not stamped at French Customs (which worried us) with no questions asked or no inspection of Ziggy. Next to English Customs and Passports were stamped and the only question asked was how long we were staying in England. Straight through with no inspection and then onto the train.
Hard to believe we were travelling under water – what an engineering feat the Chunnel is. Just over half an hour and we were at Dover and we could stay in the comfort of Ziggy all the way across.
Took a little while for my trusty driver to get used to driving on the other side of the road again in England having done 25,000 on the other side in Europe, particularly at roundabouts which were really scary with cars darting in and out of lanes to get across to their exits. Nearly collected one that came across two lanes right in front of us.
Our campsite for 4 nights: Leo Bay Campsite, Rushenden
We arrived here a day earlier than booked. Set high on a hill overlooking the bay at Isle of Sheppey, only a small campsite with five designated spots apart from the permanents. Leo Bay was fully booked but our hosts Steve and Sheila found an overflow spot for us for tonight.
Very homey campsite with great showers and toilets and what I would call a self contained flat without bedroom but with full kitchenette, lounge chairs and a fireplace plus a great outdoor deck overlooking gardens and lawn. Bird feeders everywhere – watched birds happily swooping in at feed time.
Steve pre ordered parts we needed for Ziggy. Had to replace the back of one of our side mirrors which we left behind in a tunnel in Norway and rear light cover which found its way around a garden post at a Lidl somewhere in Europe. Had to get these fitted before heading off for our MOT (annual vehicle inspection) which Steve arranged for us for the next morning.
Ziggy passed with flying colours (the mechanic said Ziggy was in excellent condition) – so happy to get the big tick and head back to LeoBay to meet up with Debbie and Michael (soon to move to the Gold Coast) who had also booked in at Leo Bay for an MOT, full service and running repairs. Spent many hours catching up with Debbie and Michael over a good red.
Next day, Steve had booked Ziggy in for a full service in the town of Sheerness nearby so took the opportunity to catch up with some internet at McDonalds whilst the service was done . There was not a great deal to see in Sheerness. Ziggy came through with flying colours with no repairs required during service and once again the mechanic saying that Ziggy was in excellent condition.
Next day Steve went about fixing some niggling but non mechanical repairs for us. Our solar controller had not been working since the start of our trip so he replaced this. Ziggy’s intrusion alarm system was also not working and he fixed this as we were keen to get this done before heading to some of the less safe countries in the next few months and lastly, Steve re positioned our rear view camera so it could be used as a permanent travelling camera and not just provide pictures of our bike rack and covers when in reverse.
Really had some wonderful days and nights with Debbie and Mike including a dinner at the local downtown pub only 20 minutes away. They have a prospective buyer for Normie their motorhome and are heading to Asia for 5 months before heading home to the Gold Coast. Really looking forward to catching up with them when we get home to Oz. They reminded us that we have now dined with them in 3 different countries – at the Currumbin Surf Club in Queensland in February 2 weeks prior to our departure, in Berlin a couple of months ago and now in Kent England.
Thank you so much Steve and Sheila for looking after us and Ziggy and we can highly recommend your friendly, professional and efficient services to any fellow travellers.
Friday 3rd November
Left early to grocery shop before heading to Dover. No sign of Debbie and Michael being awake so opted not to wake them up so planned a phone call at Dover to say our Good-byes. Caught up with Steve and Sheila for hugs and thanks with the likelihood of seeing them again next year for “bibs and “bobs” to Ziggy.
Arrived in Dover an hour early so were able to get on an earlier ferry today. Again our French Customs experience was uneventful with a stamp and a wave before heading though security with a wave and through English Customs with a stamp. Have used our Australian Passports throughout without any issues despite being in the Schengen area for 8 months rather than the legal 3 months.
A great day with blue skies and a sail across a calm ocean as we waved good-bye to the “White Cliffs” and enjoyed the short trip across the Channel back to France.