La Belle France

Within an hour of leaving the UK we were in Calais loading wine stocks into the truck. We were watchful of two young men showing great interest in our vehicle. They didn’t look as if they were sleeping rough, they spoke excellent English and said they were hoping to get to the UK. They were disappointed when we told them we were heading for Morocco. One was from Syria and the other (who didn’t engage us in conversation) could have been Nigerian. We had often seen desperate young men living rough in the Calais area; one even jumped onto the back of our camper van and could easily have been killed had we not been flagged down by a passing motorist. We did feel sorry for them and wondered why they wanted to get to England rather than settle in France. Anyway they refused our offer of money and left with a cheerful wave.

Once the wine was stashed we set off for Le Crotoy, a fishing harbour not far up the coast. There was a popular Aire at one end of the village where camper vans were allowed to park overnight. It was a five minute walk into town where there were plenty of fresh fish stalls as well as restaurants serving the freshest of fish.

We travelled through France avoiding the Toll Roads as we found the motorway services were very poor. We preferred stopping at roadside restaurants used by lorry drivers. The only problem was that the food portions were enormous, bottled water and wine were already on the table and three courses were offered, followed by a strong black coffee. Cost was less than €25 for us both and no further food was required that day. At night we parked up near the HGVs and when we woke in the morning we usually found all the lorries had left and we were alone in the car park.