Although I’ve been keeping a written journal of our travels, it seems a bit daft to put it up alongside what Nathanial has written (and I’ve edited) so I thought I’d just add in a few of my thoughts from the journey so far separately.
*Book your channel crossing in advance. Turning up on the day costs more.
*Building your own motorhome/campervan is fantastic for getting exactly what you want for a fraction of the cost, but if four people are going to be using the toilet, position it so that you don’t have to remove four bikes and a bike rack to access the loo cassette.
*Listen to experienced motorhomers, their advice can be invaluable (lumps of wood notwithstanding). Turning up at an aire in the dark when the loo needs emptying and it’s raining isn’t much fun. See above.
*There are three ways of expressing GPS co-ordinates. Our aires book and our sat nav weren’t singing from the same hymn sheet to begin with.
*Dry shampoo is quite handy when your hose connection isn’t compatible with the aire’s water supply.
*Buy lots of different hose connectors if you are going to be travelling abroad. See above.
*Schoolgirl French will get you so far but a northerner miming and attempting an accent is far, far funnier.
*The French do not appear to drink milk like the English do. It is hard to find fresh milk (lait-frais), even in supermarkets.
*Many French public loos don’t have toilet seats, paper, or soap, but they tend to be cleaner than English ones (because they make them harder to use?).
*Chickens are more expensive and tougher than the ones from home, but tomatoes are cheaper and taste much better than ours.
*Mechanics pull the same faces and do the same air-sucking noises and head-shaking the world over. In my vast experience of two countries.
*MacDonalds is a great source of free McWifi, albeit quite slow. The food is just as bad/good dependent on your thinking but I would say more expensive. Also, I have never had the door wrenched open on me whilst visiting the McToilet in England by an over-enthusiastic cleaner who I’m pretty sure knew I was in there.
*Saying “sorry, we’re English!” is a very useful phrase for avoiding street sellers/shop assistants/beggars or anyone else you don’t feel like conversing with.
*France has it’s own share of amusing place names.