Our mini road trip has finally started! Done with all the planning and preparation, we began our journey at the end of Ashique’s last day at job(gulp) and beginning of kids school holiday – 23rd July 2014. I will still be working from the road, just have to incorporate few hours of writing every day.
Drive to London was uneventful and at that point in time, it all seemed very routine as we did this exact ferry crossing ten days ago for our Punjabi English wedding trip! Our friend Richard joined us for the first part of the journey – ferry from Dover to Dunkirk, 2 day camping in France and onwards to Switzerland.
The only difference this time around from last week was how glorious the weather was, blue skies, aquamarine water, warm temperatures, the white cliffs of Dover looked so beautiful – it almost feel wrong leaving England when you have such sunny weather here!
We left Dover at 10am, and arrived in Dunkirk at 1am lost an hour. Few lessons we learnt from the last trip that we wanted to apply on this trip -5 hours maximum driving time is optimum for each day. Doing on average 3-5 hours allows Ashique to be not too tired (from driving all day), and we still get to do an activity or sightseeing without feeling like a whole day was just spent driving. On our last trip to France last week, we had miscalculated the drive time home, ended up driving for 14 hours! This time upon arriving to France, we had left 5 hours to get to first destination Dijon.
Lesson 1 learnt on this trip -If we are thinking no more than 5-6 hours of driving/travelling, then that has to include both drive to Dover and time on ferry (2 hours). Otherwise end up being on road 10 hours or more. For this reason we were unable to reach first destination, as would have been travelling all day and get to campsite very late.
Flexibility was the key in this trip, and thanks to the philosophy of this trip the alternate path ended up working out really well! We stayed at Les foret d’orient. Lovely campsite, cost us 25 Euros per night for 5 people. Lake was 5 minutes walk from campsite, we went swimming and boating around the lake. We experienced two beautiful sunsets just sitting outside our tents. Shahaar made friends with some french boys, played lots of football. Shama climbed trees and played in the sand. We did BBQ one night and pasta another night. Weather was amazing, super hot and sunny.
Besides the fun stuff, we had few hiccups along the way….main one having extremely bad luck with electricity. Sometimes too much planning and efficiency can get you nowhere! Before this trip, we charged only our phones in the car. Trying to be super efficient this time we bought multiplug for the car to charge laptop, 2 phones, and tablet. The car could not handle this much extra gadgets and blew a fuse. We only realized this before getting ready for bed and needed to blow up air mattresses. Wasn’t fun dragging both mattress across camp in the dark to toilet area where they could be inflated.
After 2 day camping here we set off for Switzerland via a nice drive through Chamonix. We hadn’t even completed one hour, when the biggest rainstorm started, everyone just froze on the road. We kept going through intermittent sun and rain and at a pit stop, we checked the weather forecast and saw that there would be thunderstorm all along our destination. We decided to just get to Zweissimen, Switzerland via the shortest route possible. Just a glimpse of our drive, breathtaking views, getting excited about the 2nd stage of roadtrip -5 days there with some of our favourite people in the world, post on that next time!