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Travels in Wilma! (Part 2)

So I left you on a total cliff hanger in part 1 of our holiday travels. We’d arrived at the channel tunnel frazzled and more then a little on edge after our eventful morning. Not to mention the stress of leaving our house unlocked thanks to the lost keys!

Blog post 2

The hope that we’d see any sights like this at all were fading fast!

We’d been told, (unreliably may I add), that we had an hour either side of the tunnel and although we were about half an hour late for check in, were quietly confident that we would sail through on the next one. Pushing the ticket in, we were pretty distraught to hear that we would have to wait until the 10.50pm train. It was 7.20pm! Even a quick chat with the operator got us nowhere.

We parked up and I decided to run in and double check to see if there was anything at all that they could do for us, while hubs got the kids out, ready for our marathon time killing session in somewhere with not much to do. I dashed into the office, slightly flustered. I was carrying the ticket, my phone and also hubby’s phone as it had the email booking on. I’d already been in the van for 3 hours and the stressful hours leading up to the leaving had resulted in some crazy hair, (I run my hands through it a lot when I’m worrying!!), and a slightly crazed expression! I’m amazed they served me actually! 😀

They’d told us over the intercom that we were on the 10.50pm one because that was the one we’d booked, which we hadn’t and so I was hoping that they had made some sort of mistake and all would be fixed.

Erm, no. As the lady very matter of factly informed me, we had missed ours. And so this was the one they could give us, (my face started to fall!), but then she added that she might have a space for us earlier. I swear I could have leapt over the desk and kissed her! 😀

She started questioning me as she searched for space on the system. Not about the van, or the journey, but about whether there was anything I’d change if I could go back in time in in my life. Which was a bit weird! I was a bit thrown, but I would have done anything for that earlier spot, (well, within reason!), so I made slightly confused and stilted conversation until she handed a new ticket to me and told me we were on the next train!!!! Arghhhhhhhh!

I legged it out of the doors waving the ticket and shouting for everyone to get back in the van, we had to go NOW! Mr PB said after that the moment he saw me rushing out of the doors waving the tickets was one of the best of the holiday!

The kids were luckily pretty easy to coax back into their seats knowing that this was it, we were about to go under the sea to see the crabs. (No matter how many times I tried to explain to Small Boy that we would not actually be on a train on the sea bed, he told absolutely everyone he’d be seeing crabs, I felt I had to keep explaining!)

I would have been more nervous, (the whole idea of it freaks me right out, a tunnel. Under the sea!!), but as soon as we’d boarded, the kids needed the loo. Which was about 6 carriages away. Which meant 12 airlock doors to get through, then 12 back. And walking past everyone else waiting. Including a foreign sports team squashed into a van and spilling out into the carriage. I was worried we’d get tipsy just walking past because the booze smell wafting out the door was so strong!! 😀 They were super polite though, and all moved to let us through.

It was going well, (as well as toilet trip with two small people in a tiny train carriage loo can!), until they tested the alarm while we were in the toilet, which completely freaked the kids out and rendering them unable to pee! So we had to stay in there until they’d relaxed enough to go! It was not the most pleasant of rooms to spend 20 minutes in. On returning to the van, we found out that Mr P had made friends with the lovely German man parked in front of us, who was taking some vintage cars back home on a trailer. He didn’t speak much English but was so friendly and eager to chat, it was so sweet.

The Mister was slightly distracted by with fitting the special stickers to our headlights. If you’ve not come across these before, they are sort of triangle shaped and designed to stop your beams from pointing across the traffic as they are automatically set for driving on the left if you have a British vehicle. As hubs had neither watched the video it recommended, nor read the leaflet that recommended watching the video, he was winging it slightly. To prevent any further swears, I read the leaflet for him and together we think we managed it. We didn’t get anyone waving or swearing at us anyway! (This can happen if you don’t put them on as you basically blind everyone coming towards you and are that inconsiderate idiot! 😉 )

blog post 3

I think their faces here convey the boringness! (They were watching a dvd here. We put one on to cover a bit of France.) They had had a pj change in the tunnel.

The next bit is a bit boring. It was driving. Lots and lots of driving! We’d not booked anywhere, instead we had a stack of books that I was in charge of. Europe is so much better for camping, in Britain, it feels as if you get moved on if you so much as pause by the side of the road, but as soon as you get off the tunnel, you will start to see signs for ‘Aires’. These are places where you can pull in and sleep for the night, lots are free, by the side of the motorways and road, and the rest are just a few euros usually, although I did notice the price went up a lot near Chamonix so maybe more expensive in popular towns.

They have them everywhere. The facilities vary, a lot are aimed at motorhomes, which obviously have a loo on board and so only need the waste dump area, (vom!), we however, needed one with toilets as we had the emergency travel potty for the kids but I definitely didn’t fancy wobbling over it  myself!!!!

After food, the kids fell fast asleep so we decided to try and push on a bit while they were sleeping so we could do a bit less driving in the following days. I found an aire with a view of a castle and we decided to aim for that. The book had the coordinates and I decided to see if I could and input them into the navigation, I felt very proud after a few internet searches set me on the right track and I managed to get a little pin in the map at the point of the coordinates. I ignored the niggling doubt that the pin looked quite far away from the little spot on the map in the book because, coordinates, they don’t lie right?

Well, it got to midnight and we were in a tiny French village with no street lighting up in the hills, both unsure but not knowing what we were expecting to find, we pressed on, minutes away. ‘You have reached your destination!’ the phone proudly declared as we pulled into a forestry car park. We hadn’t, this was dark, and spooky and muddy, do they have bears in France? This would totally have been bear country if they do! 😉

Aires books

This was my selection of reference material. Despite this, we still ended up mostly using our smart phones to find campsites etc on the journey! I realised how ‘school useless’ my French is trying to read these too! Ou est la piscine? 😉

Oooookaaaaaay, so the ‘winging it’ thing wasn’t working for us that day. We needed a solution and stat! I referred to another of the books and found that there were three aires in the nearest town. That was surely the place to go! Turning around and not looking back, we started back down the steep hill, when, upon reaching the bottom, the fuel light pinged on. Uhoh. This was something we’d been worried about as a massive fuel strike was raging across the country. And we’d been worried about it happening in the day on the motorway, never mind in the middle of nowhere at midnight!

 

 

What will happen next? Will we ever find a place to stay? Would the fuel strike mean that we’ll end up stranded by the side of the road before we could reach the town? Would we be eaten by bears as we used the porta potty in the night? Are our travels over before they have even really begun?!

You’ll have to wait for Part 3 to find out! (Sorry! 🙂 )

 

 

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59 Comments

  1. June 23, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    That is just plain mean! I was really enjoying this adventure haha! I will be tuning in for part 3 for sure xx

    • pinkpearbear
      Author
      June 26, 2016 / 4:32 pm

      Haha, sorry! I do love a good cliff hanger!

  2. June 26, 2016 / 6:53 pm

    Haha I’m liking the cliffhangers! I’m so glad the van is all sorted and going well and you managed to get away in it. I can’t wait until we’re able to do the same thing! I’m very much of a winging it attitude too, what can possibly go wrong??
    Nat.x

  3. June 27, 2016 / 8:10 am

    Oh you! Leaving it there! I’d really got into the story!! I adore road trips and want to hire one of those big motorhomes in the states one year and just drive! Though maybe I just need a Wilma! Looking forward to part 3 my lovely #BigPinkLink

  4. June 27, 2016 / 8:35 am

    Sounds like an interesting start and some grand adventure that you’re remember for years to come….hopefully for the right reasons though 😉 #BigPinkLink

  5. June 27, 2016 / 9:09 am

    haha! the suspense!! 🙂 Your kids sound as though they were pretty good at taking it all in their stride bless them (even if a bit bored lol ) I panic the second the petrol light comes on.. this alone would have been my worst nightmare… can’t wait to hear what happened lol #bigpinklink

  6. June 27, 2016 / 9:17 am

    Haha! What an adventurer. So glad to hear that you didn’t have to wait for the later train. It must have been your powers of persuasion and that strange conversation that did it. #bigpinklink

  7. June 27, 2016 / 9:46 am

    Ha Ha this reminds me of travelling as a child with my parents to camp in France. I laughed at the crabs story and the alarm in the toilet- hope the next instalment finds you in relaxed holiday mode with glass in hand!!!

  8. June 27, 2016 / 9:47 am

    Ha Ha this reminds me of travelling as a child with my parents to camp in France. I laughed at the crabs story and the alarm in the toilet- hope the next instalment finds you in relaxed holiday mode with glass in hand!!! #bigpinklink 😉 Lou

    • October 11, 2016 / 11:42 am

      Haha thank you, I think I’m onto part four and still not relaxed!

  9. June 27, 2016 / 10:31 am

    Oooh! I’m looking forward to tuning in to part 3 to find out what happened! I hope Wilma didn’t let you down! Thanks for hosting #Bigpinklink x

  10. June 27, 2016 / 11:07 am

    Oh no! I really hope you didn’t run out of fuel. This sounds like a very eventful holiday so far! #bigpinklink

  11. June 27, 2016 / 11:16 am

    I was so excited for Wilma Adventures part 2 and I am loving the latest instalment. I obviously hope you have a great holiday eventually (Spoiler alert: I know you don’t get eaten by bears!) but I am so glad you haven’t just gone with, “but it all worked out okay in the end and we have a lovely time… The end.” #bigpinklink

  12. June 27, 2016 / 11:21 am

    Ah cliffhanger! Can’t wait for part 3 x #bigpinklink

  13. June 27, 2016 / 11:44 am

    What part 3?! No I don’t want to wait… Ah the joys of traveling in France…
    #bigpinklink

  14. June 27, 2016 / 11:57 am

    Hahaha loving this adventure! You’re so brave for winging it, hope to see if work out for you in part 3 #bigpinklink

  15. June 27, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    I love the way you’ve written this, it feels as if I’ve come along for the ride! How awesome that you got on the earlier train – and I love the fact that your son thought he’d see crabs under the sea (so cute). Your anxiety about going under the sea would resonate with Mother – when she and Father travelled to Paris for their honeymoon, she was a touch nervy but found a shed load of Prosecco blotted those nerves out 😉 can’t wait for part 3! x #bigpinklink

  16. June 27, 2016 / 12:40 pm

    This travel series is awesome. I’m totally hooked. I can’t wait to hear about the beautiful sights you actually get to see on your vacation!
    #bigpinklink

  17. June 27, 2016 / 12:50 pm

    I’m so enjoying this, particularly as it mirrors many of our own travels!! I think the Lightys need to buy a campervan, though… #bigpinklink

  18. June 27, 2016 / 1:05 pm

    Usually, I don’t like travel posts but yours was so interesting and funny! I love camping but I can see its way different in different countries. #bigpinklink

  19. June 27, 2016 / 1:20 pm

    Haha, loving this series – especially the sort of blind “hope for the best” attitude that I also deploy! The customer service lady would have thrown me though with the slightly odd questioning about your life choices. Looking forward to part 3, you could make this a 12 part season easy! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink.

  20. June 27, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    Oooh a cliff hanger, you big meanie!! Loved this though, although I completely agree with the fear of a tunnel under the sea!! Definitely not something I could do, I’m scared of just about everything and will never understand how a tunnel under the sea is even possible let alone safe!! Can’t wait for part three! #bigpinklink

  21. June 27, 2016 / 2:38 pm

    Noooo not another cliff hangar!! I’ll be tuning in to part 3 🙂 have to see how this turns out. #bigpinklink

  22. June 27, 2016 / 6:13 pm

    Oooh, I love a cliff hanger! Sounds like an amazing adventure before you’d even arrived! I didn’t know that about those sticker things for headlights, guess you learn something new everyday! Look forward to part 3! #bigpinklink

  23. June 27, 2016 / 6:17 pm

    Loving your adventures in Wilma, it makes me really want a camper van. Can hardly wait for part three #bigpinklink

  24. June 27, 2016 / 6:26 pm

    It sounds as if your kids took it all in their stride, which is the main thing! It all sounds like great fun. I travelled with my 4 on a big trip when they were younger and they loved it. Looking forward to part 3! Alison x #bigpinklink

  25. June 27, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    The cliffhanger is killing me… lol. Sounds like great fun, my husband always fancied a road trip like this at some point, probably when kids are a bit bigger and can cope boringness, lol #bigpinklink

  26. June 27, 2016 / 7:31 pm

    I didn’t read part 1 but part 2 was just plain exciting! I’ll come back for more! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink

  27. June 27, 2016 / 7:36 pm

    haha brilliant! looking fwd to the next instalment! ive never been to France :/ ! #bigpinklink

  28. June 27, 2016 / 8:02 pm

    I can’t wait for the next part now. I think you’re a little crazy for your adventure but I love it! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink

  29. June 27, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    Oh no, I want to know what happens next!!! I hope it works out ok for you, I can concur those stickers are a pain to fit, my hubby has done a lot of swearing trying to work out where to put them. xxx #bigpinklink

  30. June 27, 2016 / 9:32 pm

    Ohh bless him thinking he was going to see the crabs under the sea! You can totally see why he would think that though! Can’t believe you’ve left us with another cliff hanger though! I neeeeed to know what happens next… #bigpinklink

  31. June 27, 2016 / 9:44 pm

    Great story but I was really into it and then – part 3. Yikes!
    Bev

  32. June 27, 2016 / 10:27 pm

    Ahh another cliff hanger?I don’t like the idea of the channel tunnel either, a train under the sea just doesn’t make sense. Well I know you obviously made it back to the UK in one piece but I can’t wait to read how the rest of your holiday went..you clearly didn’t get eaten by bears though so that’s a relief 🙂 xx #bigpinklink

  33. June 27, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    Haha. This is hilarious. Sorry, but I am so enjoying reading all about this adventure! I must admit, a tunnel under the sea excites me.. That just sounds wrong.. 🙂

    • June 27, 2016 / 10:46 pm

      #bigpinklink.. I’m so interested in this story I forgot the hashtag! 😉 OOPS

  34. June 28, 2016 / 6:35 am

    Sounds exciting. I think you may have missed a trick with the ticket office. A random discussion about what you do if you could go back in time sounds like it was the set up for a short story! Possibly featuring a wink or a sprinkle of magic dust.

    Good to know about the camping. I’m no fan but my wife loves camping.

    I wait to hear if there are bears.

    #BigPinkLink

  35. June 28, 2016 / 8:20 am

    Blimey you just needed the monumental sound of the Eastenders drums at the end of that post!

    I’m on tenterhooks now! Would love a campervan too x

    #bigpinklink

  36. June 28, 2016 / 9:01 am

    Thanks so much for taking me on vacation with you! I cannot wait to see where we endup! #bigpinklink

  37. June 28, 2016 / 9:45 am

    An epic saga (: So nice to hear about a classic family holiday abroad. It is tricky travelling with kids and not breaking the bank, but so so worth while. These are the adventures they’ll remember (: #bigpinklink

  38. June 28, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    This is the kind of thing that happens to us ALL THE TIME! Can’t wait for Part 3! #bigpinklink

  39. June 28, 2016 / 5:08 pm

    Amazing you managed to get on an earlier train! I’ve never heard of the headlight stickers but then I haven’t driven abroad so I’ve a lot to learn in that respect!! I did laugh about the alarm – poor you! #bigpinklink

  40. June 28, 2016 / 5:26 pm

    Ha ha – love the road trip cliffhanger! Also, the whole tunnel under water thing freaks me out a little too lol X #bigpinklink

  41. June 28, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    Gosh I bet in the end this was an amazing holiday but OMG it sounds stressful – I don’t know if I’d have coped with all of this! I’m a real stress head! Looking forward to part 3! #bigpinklink

  42. June 28, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    Oh I got really into this, good on you embarking on a massive road trip with the little ones, my OH would have been stressing big time st the key debacle and the potential time killing expedition. Can’t wait for the next instalment #bigpinklink

  43. June 29, 2016 / 1:59 am

    Je n’espere que vous trouverez une station d’essence et de la piscine#bigpinklink

  44. June 29, 2016 / 4:52 am

    Oh you are mean leaving us wondering . . .. the suspense is great, look forward to what comes next! #bigpinklink

  45. June 29, 2016 / 10:55 am

    Not another cliff hanger!!! You were so lucky to get the earlier train thank goodness! Never trust a bloody Sat Nav… I love the story of the dutch woman who ended up somewhere in germany, driving for 3 1-2 hours for a 30 minute trip.

  46. June 29, 2016 / 12:03 pm

    GAHHHHH! I’ d have had multiple nervous breakdowns by this point – I can’t even book a one-night stay in Brighton without reading every review on Trip Adviser then deciding it would probably be safer just to stay at home 🙂 Looking forward to ‘next time, on Wilma’s Travels…’ #BigPinkLink
    PS Hubby’s comment re you running from the ticket office, arms flailing made me laugh out loud.

  47. June 29, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    Hi Louise, now that is one hell of an adventure you seemed to be having. I’m not sure I could have peed knowing I was under the sea. I hope your little one wasn’t too upset when he didn’t see any crabs.

    Look for ward to the next installment.

    xx

  48. June 30, 2016 / 10:37 am

    Noooo!! I don’t want to wait!! Loving this so much Louise. You are so intrepid and fun, I think the key loss, missed train, midnight forest and fuel situation would have resulted in some sparks flying between my husband and I! Eeek looking forward to part 3 xxx #bigpinklink

  49. July 1, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Oooh….exciting! There’s always the extra drama with children and their “I need the toilet NOW!” regardless of where or how. Would you be eaten by bears?? I am so looking forward to the next chapter now. Thanks for being such a great #bigpinklink co-hostess!

  50. July 2, 2016 / 6:10 am

    Wow what a cliffhanger, you teeeeease!! I am looking forward to reading more, and so much respect to you for travelling with the kids and all that goes on in between. Sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink apologies for the late commenting, this week my little lady had a horrible eye infection so it’s been lots of catching up wit sleep xx

  51. July 2, 2016 / 7:23 am

    Pooh I’m waiting with baited breath for part 3!! Good job on getting on the next train though, that would have been a nightmare otherwise. X

  52. July 3, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    Heh, dramatic. Exactly what every parent needs … *rollseyes*

  53. July 3, 2016 / 10:48 pm

    Loving these adventures! That moment where a sat nav says you have reached your destination & you just KNOW you haven’t, but now have no idea where you are is awful! #bigpinklink

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