Day 1 – England to France
At 8.30am on a cold, March morning and with the car packed to the brim, we headed off on our longest journey to date. We were excitedly nervous about the next 3 days and beyond and wondered how the dogs would cope in the back of the car for such a long period…not to mention us!
Luckily, the M25 was kind to us and we breezed round London in good time to get the 1.20 Eurotunnel crossing from Folkestone to Calais. The dogs had some exercise in the play area which was much bigger than expected and had lots of activities for the dogs to get involved with – it looked like something from Crufts Agility!
The crossing was really quick – 30 minutes in total and we were in France before we knew it. Another 2 hours in the car saw us arrive in Rouen, the town of 100 churches and where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake…
Day 2 – Rouen to Bordeaux (via Amboise)
Up early to walk the dogs around this historic town. The streets were quiet and we were able to amble around (despite it being FREEZING). We stopped for croissants from a beautiful little bakery which were demolished instantly.
My brother had lived in France for a while and had recommended we made a small detour away from the main route and see Amboise. It was his favourite place whilst living in the area and it was clear to see why. It’s set on the Loire river, the grand Chateaux de Amboise in the centre, the last house of Leonardo da Vinci is here and has quaint cobbled streets that were lined with cafes and bars. We stayed here for a good 2 hours, had some lunch and really made sure our legs were well and truly stretched.
Unfortunately, we never made it into Bordeaux but stayed at Bordeaux Lac. It was late when we got there and we knew we had to leave early the following day so we weren’t able to stock up on any wine.
The French really are dog friendly – we were able to take the dogs into the hotel restaurants and the cafes without any fuss and bother.
Day 3 – Bordeaux to the villa
This was the longest day of travel – we had 600 miles to cover to reach our final destination. We crossed the border into Spain at 11.50am with no trouble, however coming into France in the opposite direction was a 3 mile tailback of traffic…something to remember on the journey home. Almost as soon as you got into Spain you noticed the change in countryside and landscape. Gone were the flat lush green fields and in their place vast baron lands with mountains in almost every direction you looked. I have to say, after 9 hours of this, it gets a little bit dull!
The service stations are few and far between making it tricky to stop with the dogs, the food is awful and resulted in good use of imagination (a bag of croissants with slices of chorizo) and a LOT of sweets / crisps being eaten.
It seemed to take an age to get to Valencia but as soon as we did, you could see you were back into civilisation – it was industrial and lots of towns / holiday hot spots dotted down the coast. It was then another 1.5 hours to our final destination.
We made it into the villa at 8pm, tired but relieved to finally be here and wondering how the next 6 weeks would pan out for us all…
- Total no of miles travelled – 1355
- Total no of bags of sweets eaten – 3 (not as bad as expected!)
- Total no of nuts / seeds / fruit eaten (to balance out sweets) – 2
- Total no of times Stressed Out (Blurry Face) by Twenty One Pilots played on radio – 10,000
*We stayed at Mercure hotels for our trip at our own expense – they are pet friendly, the rooms comfortable and spacious and we will be using them again for our return leg…
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