cars on a train

Wwhat a stressful day. we wanted to leave home by noon, but got a text from the Eurotunnel warning of delays at the border, so we had to leave earlier and take a different route. the only thing that was actually finished on the morning of departure was the laundry.. so my clothes are clean and dry, but nothing is actually packed!

I do a bit of hurried packing before starting my half work day and then spend the next four hours wrapping up projects and handing over pending issues or changes to colleagues. Finally the time pressure forces me to quit and finalize the packing. Meds? Check! Wallet? Check! Passports? Check! Cell phones and e-readers? Camera stuff? Neat nest of wires for charging all of it? Check, check and check. Everything else we can do without.

We leave only slightly behind schedule. We avoid the long delays on the coastal highway and instead drive via Lille, France, arriving in Calais with plenty of time to spare before our check-in time. As advised we drive past the long line of trucks waiting for customs clearance and queue at the tourism check-in of the Eurotunnel complex. unfortunately it turns out that after our check-in we have to wait over an hour to pass the French customs check, as they are protesting something and investigate every single car in detail, taking swipes for drug tests on the doors and the luggage. As a result, we miss our train at 15.40, but then so does everybody else and we can simply hop on the 16.40 instead. We drive our car into the carriages on one end of the chunnel, wait comfortable for 35 minutes – the worst discomfort is the occasional pressure change felt in the ears – and then drive off again in the UK.

Driving is initially a team effort: Arne focusses on staying on the left side of the road, I read signs and give the occasional reminder about which direction to take the round point, it’s extremely counterintuitive and we’re both exhausted when we arrive at our first stop: the Long Man of Wilmington. Typical of me, I’ve downloaded and read all the Wikipedia articles of stuff we might visit in the past weeks, so I’m pretty well informed, but we don’t have enough energy to talk about the history of the thing at the moment so we just enjoy the view, take a few pictures in the fast fading light and then continue on to Brighton.

The long man of Wilmington. Hundreds rather than thousands years old

We have time to visit the city tomorrow morning, so tonight we simply have a burger in the hotel restaurant, talking about the history of hill figures in South England. I hope we’ll have time to go see the Uffington White Horse later on, that one is actually 3000 years old, as opposed to the one today which is a bit more than 300.

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