We arrived at Calais the following morning and parked the truck in our usual spot at the Cité d’Europe car park. We found the area was swarming with migrants. We always felt huge sympathy for these unsophisticated youngsters – on previous visits they would be hanging around in small groups, pleading for us to take them to England. When they realised we would not be persuaded, they usually left us alone. This time it was more sinister. We left the truck to do our shopping and when we returned there were five or six young men trying unsuccessfully to break in to the truck. They ran off as we approached but later, when we were sitting inside the truck, one youngster returned and tried to get in through our door. We were advised by a Border Force officer to park somewhere else – he explained that our presence encouraged the migrants to congregate in the car park. We moved on to a pleasant aire at Sangatte and spent an extremely windy night on the sea front. We hoped the migrant boys had somewhere warm to sleep.
Towards the end of 2020 we had made the decision to go travelling in Europe and beyond, rather than staying in the UK and having to adhere to the ever tightening Covid restrictions. We realised that at our age we didn’t have too many useful years ahead of us, so we counted each day as a blessing and a challenge.
Since leaving the UK we had covered 10,000 kilometres, passed through 13 countries within and outside the EU. On returning to UK we accepted that we would have to quarantine for our first ten (actually eleven) days. We provided a negative Covid test at Calais and completed Passenger Locator Forms. We were much less happy with having to book and pay for two postal Covid tests for day 2 and 8 of our quarantine. The purchase of the tests was a legal obligation and travel was refused without proof of payment. Since the Covid crisis struck we had legally travelled to and from the UK on five occasions without hindrance – it was only on this last occasion that we had to pay what was actually a repatriation tax of £210 each – imagine how that would damage the budget of a family with several children.
Blog Ends . . . .
For our next trip we had planned to explore Alaska and Canada before travelling down the US west coast to South America. We booked to travel with the truck on a container ship from Liverpool to Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, due to Covid, these plans were cancelled. We have now rebooked for September 2021 travelling with the truck from Antwerp, Belgium to Montevideo, Uruguay arriving at the start of their summer, a voyage of 28 days. What could possibly go wrong?