The Journey Home

Thursday 17th July:

Not a good night. It was warm, my ankle was really hurting, and people kept walking around outside my window, talking to each other. We surfaced at 7:30am, had a quick breakfast, made packed lunch, packed the car, and left Woferlgut for the last time at 8:40am.

The weather had closed in again, and we couldn't see the Gross Glockner! Long slow drive to Salzburg through the rain, and then much, much longer drive to Bad Liebenzell. They seem to be re-constructing the entire length of road between Salzburg and Stuttgart, so we'd just get started, and then we'd have to slow right down for more roadworks. The odd torrential downpour didn't exactly help matters either!

Eventually arrived at 4:10pm, Tom Tom having failed us for the first time, or rather, Euro Camp failing us by publishing the wrong co-ordinates! Brilliant! Still the site was easy to find, and we had only gone a short way before we realised the mistake.

Very nice couple running the Euro Camp side of things. They had only been here a month. They were anxious to tell us where we could eat out and what sites we should see, but we were so tired by then that we just wanted to get to our tent.

We walked up to the Netto supermarket to find curry sauce and pineapple jam. Got the sauce, but failed with the jam, Mark and Stef took off in Wombat for the bigger shop at Calw, while I went for a shower.

Good news from home: Dad had seen the doctor, the cancer is gone! He had a full and rather testing day at the hospital, but all seems well now. I got the impression that they were both pretty exhausted, but nothing takes away from the fact that he's had the best possible news.

Mark and Stef did eventually return. They had some trouble finding the shop, but they had success – Stef found her pineapple jam! After they'd both showered, we tried to get some dinner from the site cafe, but for some inexplicable reason it was closed, so we had to go to the pizzeria in town.

I didn't really feel like going out, and maybe my mood rubbed off on everyone around me because it turned into a strange experience. The pizzas were unusual to say the least, and the chef forgot mine, so Mark and Stef had almost finished their's before mine arrived. Then when we got back to the camp we couldn't get in because the office was closed and we hadn't been given a pass key. Mark tracked down the couriers who came and let us in, and shortly afterwards we settled down for the night.

Friday 18th July:

Not too bad a night, apart from some local kids kicking up a ruckus at about 3am. We were up a 6:20am, breakfasted, packed and on our way at 7:02am. We had a full day of travelling ahead of us, and I was worried that if the roads were as bad as yesterday, we might not make it.

Seemed to take for ever to get back to the motorway, especially as we went a bit wrong in Pforzheim! Tom soon sorted us out though, and once on the motorway, we made good time. The route we had chosen worked well, as we had tried to avoid as many big cities as possible.

The roads were running smoothly, and we stopped mid-morning at a services near Luxembourg for diesel and sandwiches. We heard French for the first time in ages – we must be getting closer to home!

We tanked on through Belgium, eating our sandwiches on the go. They were fantastic! Crammed full of bacon and egg, though a little tricky to eat in the car! Stopped once more for fuel in Gent, and got to Calais at around 2:10pm.

The White Cliffs were really shouting to me now, and, as grotty as Calais is, it was lovely to be there, especially as we were surrounded by British cars! We managed to get on a much earlier ferry. We had been scheduled to sail at 8:30pm, but we left Calais at 3:35pm, British time.

Despite the fact that I had nervously watched the trees blowing in the wind as we approached Calais, we had a fairly easy crossing. There were loads of coach parties, which are always a pain, but at least it got us back to dear old Blighty.

Mark very kindly suggested that we go back to Cheltenham via Aylesbury, so I texted ahead to make sure that Dad would be up to some evening visitors, and then we pressed on to the M25. Traffic near Heathrow was very slow, but at least we got to watch the planes taking off! They should provide entertainment like that all the way around that road! It makes the traffic jams seem less arduous.

Got to Aylesbury sometime at 7:45pm. It was great to see Mum and Dad, but he looked quite tired and poorly, so we didn't stay too long, but promised to be back over on Sunday to have a little party for Stef's birthday. Finally got to give Mum that hug! Didn't dare hug Dad, I think it might have flattened him!

Home to Cheltenham. Pulled into the drive at 11pm. The front garden was amazingly overgrown, the peas had died, but the carrots looked strong. Thank heavens we don't have any grass!

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