I decided that I was well overdue a visit to the UK as during the two COVID years I could not visit of course and my last trip in December was ruined by the COVID admin and the stupid personal locator forms and the other crazy bureaucracy that those idiots Boris and Priti Patel invented to keep people out and to raise money for their mates. Sad indeed.
I also needed to get my old Merc Vito van rolling again after her 2 year enforced stop. I was concerned that all was not well as she had been misbehaving recently and I could not work out the reason so I thought that she and I both needed to stretch our legs/wheels. My best guess is that the enforced stop caused the fuel to become sticky inside the tank/filters/injectors??. Watch this space.
I went north to Empoli on Saturday to watch a basketball match and as the van was going great I stayed one night and then headed north early the following morning without any hotel bookings which is in my experience the best way to travel! I know several hotels on route so I prefer to see how the trip goes and then book when I want to stop, May is not yet peak holiday season and France is massive. Empoli is near to Firenze (Florence) in the Italian Midlands so the distance from there to the Mont Blanc Tunnel is only about 500km and thus a gentle motorway drive as the Italian motorways are generallly excellent, in my opinion you get what you pay for. I was expecting to queue to get through the tunnel but amazingly enough there was no queue at all (I was there at lunch time) so I was straight into France heading north. The other HUGH advantage of weekend travel in Italy is that the big trucks cannot travel on the motorways. Another big point is the European Telepass: I can travel in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal without queuing to pay the toll fees.
I stopped at a motorway service station and used their wifi to look at distances and I booked a room at the Hotel Royal in Troyes, this is one of the Brit chain of hotels (Brit is Brittany and not British) and this hotel is really great!!! As it was Sunday evening the restaurant was closed so I just had a few beers and snacks and headed to bed well tired after 950kms! The friendly service they offer is fantastic.
The next morning I had a quick breakfast at 7am and hit the motorway north towards Calais and I was there by midday and checked in for the 1320 ferry with DFDS and then in the UK at about 1430 given that I gained an hour so I was at my sister’s place near Duxford for some beers and then food at about 1700, tired but very happy!
The return trip was very easy and the van went really well, a few pics follow.