Sunday, 25 November 2007

The final chapter – from Amiens to Wolverhampton

This post covers our last day in France and the final journey home.

Our last day in France! We set off from the campsite then proceeded to drive around Amiens looking for a park for Ace, finally finding one right outside the Jules Verne Museum.

We walked into town to admire Amiens Cathedral, the tallest complete cathedral in France with the largest interior volume. We walked inside this world heritage listed building, admiring the chapels, one of which was dedicated to the Allied soldiers from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
Above: Ace at Amiens
Below: Amiens Cathedral - I won 2nd place for this photo in the Guardian Saturday Magazine 2 weeks ago for the theme of space
We stopped off for half an hour in an internet café to update our website (yes, shamefully, we have not updated it again until now, apologies!) and then had a quick bite to eat in a café before heading back to Ace.

It was getting late in the afternoon and we had a good 2 hour drive ahead, but I still managed to drag Sarah into the Jules Verne Museum right next to Ace. The “father of science fiction” lived in this house with his family from 1882 to 1900. It was quite interesting exploring the house, the library, the study, the winter garden, the salon. The 3rd level of the house was devoted to posters and other paraphernalia from his books and from movies based on his books.

Finally we drove off towards a farm campsite near the coast where we had spent our first night in France in June, it seemed fitting we would spend our last night here too! We stopped twice en route, once in Abbeville for fuel and groceries and a second time in the middle of nowhere for me to take some photos of some beautiful black and white cows. I love the cows! And they love me!
Left: Jules Verne Museum

We arrived at La ferme des Aulnes and Sarah stayed in Ace as I went and checked in. Once again I jumped into a golf cart and whizzed past Sarah and off into the well laid out area where the pitches were situated. Unfortunately being so close to Calais, the campsite was full of whinging poms! The 2 or 3 couples we saw were absolutely miserable! We had a quiet night and went to bed early.

The next day we got up and drove off towards Calais on the motorway. The fog was quite incredible but we managed to get to Carrefour for one final spend up. We bought a bottle of champagne, a bottle of whiskey and a couple bottles of wine.

We hot tailed it towards the ferry and waited in the queue. A mixture of emotions overcame us, happiness that, apart from a lot of pregnancy sickness in the final weeks, we’d lasted our trip without any major problems, joy at the prospect of seeing family again, and sadness that our trip around Europe had finally come to an end after 5 months on the road.
Left: I love the cows! And they love me!

The ferry headed off and an hour or so later we could see the white cliffs of Dover! It was amazing to be back in England after 5 months away and incredibly strange to drive on the left hand side again and see signs in miles and yards!

It was quite a long drive back to Wolverhampton, but thankfully the sun was shining and it was a lovely autumn day. We arrived back at Sarah’s aunty Anitas around 5pm. We parked up Ace for a well deserved rest!
Left: Ace in the ferry queue

We did it! 142 nights on the road, 14 countries visited (including whistle stop tours in Monaco and the Vatican!) and 11,000 miles journeyed. Our travels around Europe in a motorhome had come to an end. Thanks to everyone who has read this blog, looked at the photos, made a comment, tried to make a comment (apparently it didn’t work sometimes?) or emailed us while on the road. We really appreciated you keeping in touch!

But this is not the end of the story for Sarah and I (and chicken junior!) - this is only just the beginning!

Above: Happy times on the road - Sarah and I at Mont St Michel in June

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