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Tuesday, 19 January 2010 08:16

Turkey to UK - Dijon to Dover

Day 7

Last night, (Monday), we pushed the boat out and had our last meal in continental Europe - one duck and one shellfish platter (perhaps a high risk meal for the driver, looking back on it).  

As we walked back along cobbled streets to our hotel the temperature must have been at freezing point.  We again marvelled at the scale and elegance of many of the buildings.  Some of the old wooden doors were perhaps 8 feet high.  "Look at the knockers on that", said the KTLN chief navigator.  I spun round quickly to see the KTLN chief navigator pointing at the door furniture.  They were indeed impressive.

This morning, (Tuesday), we had a simple, but enjoyable breakfast at Hotel Republique, before heading off.  The hotel proprietor had warned us that we could expect 'beaucoup de brouillard'.  No sooner had we pulled out of the hotel courtyard, when the freezing fog hit us.

For much of the journey we felt hemmed in by the oppressive fog - no great views today, unfortunately.  As we made our way north, the temperature dropped to minus 2.  The water from the fog formed a frozen layer on the front of the car  The extensive insect collection on my bumper, so painstakingly gathered over thousands of miles, was being well preserved, in the sub zero conditions.

As always in France, the toll roads are clear, and a joy to drive on.  A total contrast to the congestion you tend to find on UK motorways (except the M6 toll section, or perhaps the little used M18 in Yorkshire).  But if breezing through the French countryside puts a smile on your face, this is soon wiped off every time you arrive at a toll booth.  The toll booth operators should be sitting on horses and wearing masks, and then the whole Dick Turpin experience would be complete.

The final day of the trip

Arriving in Calais was like a fairytale - it was grim.  A grey morning, more grey en route, and then the greyness of the port of Calais.  If we had brought along a CD of David Gray, it would have been on today.

As we arrived at the port, we had a choice of P&O or Sea France - they both charge about the same if you turn up and ask for a ticket.  You do get a better price if you book in advance online.  We didn't because we were not sure of how far we would have progressed.

But once we parted with 106 euros, we were swiftly on our way and in less than an hour, we were sailing.  About an hour later the grey cliffs of Dover came into view, and we were back in the UK.

The final day of the trip

The final day of the trip

Start: 9.15
Stop: 15.30 (caught Sea France ferry to Dover)
Miles: 353 (568km)
Missed turns: 0
Directions asked: 0
Snow encountered: none.
Fog encountered: lots
CD of the day: Eagles - Greatest Hits

It's been a wonderful experience.  Admittedly, not the cheapest way of travelling from Turkey to UK, but as a one off, it is something we shall never forget.  We didn't slum it either.  You could do the journey for less, by going for cheaper B&Bs, and having a car with a better fuel economy.

Also, we travelled further to avoid snow in Europe - we went via the south of France.  There is a quicker route - especially if you avoid Edirne.

If anyone is considering doing this, we would say - go for it.  We are happy to go through things in more detail with any KTLN member thinking of making the trip.

Total miles driven 2,385 (3,838km)
Average 33 miles per gallon (2.5 litre engine)
Average speed over the journey 70mph

Costs in GBP £
Ferries:  £371.24
Petrol:  £485.97
Tolls:  £129.58
Hotels:  £432.83
Total cost:  £1,419.62

Hotels include breakfast.  No other food costs included.
Tolls were mostly for French roads.
Turkish Lira exchange rate used = 2.4
Euro exchange rate used = 1.145