Thursday, 5 February 2015

New Adventure (3)

The Road To Ruin – Whoops, I Meant Rouen!

Bayonne or Bust and it Almost Was!

Friday 9th of January 2015.

The next morning the weather continued as it had left off the night before – heavy rain was followed by even more heavy rain. Which did little by way of improving the driving conditions. We were now close to the River Seine just a bit upstream from Le Havre and in the main canal area of Brittany. As we drove along we kept an eye open for various waterways. We saw a few locks and one or two barges which make the largest sand or gravel barge on the UK waterways look like a lifeboat by comparison.

We were soon on our way once more, but only after a lengthy 'French style' breakfast in the hotel at Euro 2.95 per person this gave good value for money. It would be another long day stopping only to eat. We soon learned that the best places were where the truck drivers also stopped for meals. Typically 8.50 Euro per person for two courses and plenty of coffee. The French drivers are very good on lane discipline on multi lane roads and motorways. However, they also have a tendency to drive almost on the boot lid. There were occasions where I thought we were towing the car behind. Our next stopping place was also a bit optimistic. I had booked a hotel in Bayonne about 100 miles short of the Spanish border. It was in the evening just after 8:30pm when we arrived, at our intended F1hotel. After an eleven hour journey in the continuous pouring rain.

On arrival, at the F1hotel in Bayonne there was no one in attendance – no problem – as there is a kiosk outside where you can sign in to get your room number and digital password. Only the kiosk touch sensitive screen was displaying a windows desktop. - big problem - So I asked around but none of the other guests in the hotel could give any assistance. I checked behind the attendants desk for the telephone. Previous F1hotels had a notice on the telephone with an automatic connection. But it seems that the line in Bayonne F1hotel is just disconnected.

We were now to use a nautical term - somewhat high and dry and up the proverbial creek without a paddle. So we started searching for alternative hotels in the area. Eventually we found the Camponile in Bayonne which had vacancies available and we booked in for the night. So we had paid for the accommodation twice.

You may have wondered why I was twittering on about fuel consumption yesterday. So by way of an explanation - by avoiding the faster toll roads in France we saved around 40 Euro in tolls. It was a similar amount of tolls (around 30 Euro) saved in Spain. Our total fuel consumption for the whole trip from our boat mooring in the UK to Denier is Spain came to around 70 Euro's or £55. The same amount of fuel in the UK would cost about £82.There was only one section of the road we travelled that I might consider paying a toll charge and that was between Chartres and Tours which is a 130km (80 mile) single carriageway which is very slow and made slower by an endless supply of roundabouts.

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