Friday, 12 February 2010

12/02: THE BEST LAID PLANS ........

Well, we set off at 7am yesterday for the half hour journey to the Ferry port at Dover - we were booked on the 8.30am crossing to Calais.

As we approached Dover on the A2 motorway everything ground to a halt. We were fortunate (?) in that we were close to the front of the queue that rapidly formed. To cut a long story short ... after 90 minutes a troop of scottish soldiers (don't know which regiment unfortunately) jogged along the road to assess the situation. Their vehicle was way back in the queue but they expertly diverted it onto the opposite carriageway and drove (the wrong way up the motorway) and dragged away a lorry that had jackknifed and was blocking the road. Unfortunately, we then found out that other accidents along the way still meant the route to Dover was blocked but it did enable us to turn off onto a side road and risk a 'scenic' route to the Port. We got through ... but I think our minor road got blocked soon after as we heard some people spent more than 3 hours in the queue.

Listening to the local radio station, we learned that their traffic reporter was held up in the same queue. Then we saw a man get out of the car in front of us holding a very large camera/video and start to film the scene. So we sat up and smiled a lot (as you do) and I've heard from a friend that we featured on the local TV news!! Obviously we missed that .. but in the following video from the BBC News website our car is shown at the very end of the film - a black Nissan Qashqai A5 DPC. So, could this be our 5 mins of fame that everybody is entitled to??  I'm pleased to say that our car isn't the one shown upside down in a snowdrift (at the beginning of the video)

We eventually arrived at the Port at 10am to find our 8.30 ferry hadn't departed - so we didn't miss it (??) We decided to carry on with our planned daytrip anyway and I'm pleased to say we eventually got to Calais at about 1.30pm. We'd abandoned our plans to have a nice meal in Bruges and ate on the ferry to save time (why else would you eat on the ferry)? As its only one hour's drive to Bruges we arrived in time to have a whistle-stop tour. I knew it was off-season so the boat tours weren't running, but I had hoped to take a horse-driven tour ... but we didn't see any carriages so just had a brisk walk round to get a feel for the place.  I couldn't believe how many restaurants and bars there were - obviously the town gets very busy with tourists.   As could be expected, there are lots of shops selling beautiful home made chocolates - they are so beautifully presented (and expensive) ..... but I don't really like chocolate so was able to resist :o)    The light wasn't good for taking photos but, from the little we saw, I'm certain its a place we'll visit again in the Summer.

Bruges had less snowfall than we had ... but it was VERY cold - as you can see from one of the statues in the Market Square

These are the views I wanted to see ... and I now know that we'll be going back in warmer weather to see more of the place when the trees are in leaf and the sun is shining

and the good news is ....... we still had time to do some shopping for 'essential supplies'  in France on the way home ... so we've replenished the wine stock!  


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