Author Topic: First trip to Europe since lockdown  (Read 552 times)

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Offline bobdave

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First trip to Europe since lockdown
on: May 23, 2022, 08:15:37 AM
My wife and I have just arrived home after a trip across to France, the first time abroad since lock down. The wife doesn't do boats so we went from Bournemouth to the channel tunnel (as the wife rarely does tours with me I thought I'd better do the right thing!) and across to Calais and down to Arras. Had a day exploring Arras, very interesting underground caves below the city that played an important part in the 1st world war.
Next stop was Troyes where we had a day exploring the city. Some lovely old buildings to explore, loads of bars and restaurants for people watching. Had to leave the bike parked out on the road (obviously not the middle of the road but in a parking bay roadside!) and forgot to remove my tomtom but was really pleased to see it was still there in the morning.
From there we went down to Dijon for one night. Again a lovely old city centre with lots of bars and restaurants.
Next day from Dijon down to Annecy. My wife has wanted to visit here for a few years. We had two days/three nights here. A day spent exploring the town - again lots of bars and restaurants to relax in. We also had a day riding around the lake and up into the lower alps. Beautiful scenery and some lovely roads.
We have friends living in Vesdun, a small village that is reputed to be in the very centre of France. As we this was our longest day we took the autoroutes for the first time (pretty much everything up to this point had been done on the 'd' roads. It felt like a rushed day riding on busy roads with tolls involved and very expensive petrol on these main roads. Great catching up with friends.
The following day was a late start (knock on from a late night catching up!) with a fairly short ride across to Orleans. Another lovely old city with lots of interesting history based around Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc to us brits!). Spent a day sight seeing and eating and drinking !
On to our last stop at Rouen. Had a day exploring, drinking and eating. Lots more Jeanne d'Arc history and monuments here.
Finally back to Calais, across the tunnel then a ride home from Dover to Bournemouth.
Covered just over 1500 miles mostly on smaller d roads which were very quiet with tractors being the main traffic to pass !
We took our waterproofs (have to be prepared for all eventualities) but never needed them - the sun gods smiled on us with temperature up to about 30 in Annecy.
Only one mishap with the bike here in Dover at the start of the journey. We stopped for fuel and when remounting the bike went over as my foot slid on diesel - end up with a broken but still working indicator and a scratched pannier. I was suprised how easy it was to lift up despite fully loaded panniers and top box. One thing I did find was that with the suspension preloaded for 2 passengers and luggage the lean on the stand was more than when just on 1 rider and luggage so used the centre stand a lot.
Petrol in France was a bit more expensive than in the UK which surprised me.
We used Airbnbs for all stops except with our freinds in Vesdun. Mostly good but you need to research them before booking.
I love riding in France where the drivers are so much more considerate to motorcyclist. I can't wait for my next trip to Europe (planned already - Northern Spain Pyrenees in September) !   
Last Edit: May 23, 2022, 08:18:19 AM by bobdave

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Offline af1-windy

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #1 on: May 23, 2022, 11:46:21 AM
Great write up, glad you got the weather and had a good time. sorry about the little spill before you set off..  :034:

I love Arras, we stay at a place called Hotel LeDome, the food there is superb..  :020:

Been to Annecy many times, we used to rent a Chalet on the Col de Aravis in La Clusaz, 20 miles outside Annecy.. happy days..  :001:

Germany and Austria in a couple of weeks..  :046:

"When I’m riding my motorcycle, I’m glad to be alive. When I stop riding my motorcycle, I’m glad to be alive" Neil Peart.

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Online Mareng1

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #2 on: May 23, 2022, 04:04:15 PM
What a shame you can't do ferry, living so close to Poole and Portsmouth!

But - the tunnel is a lot cheaper, and for some destinations in france - about the same distance from Calais as it is from Caen/StMalo/Cherbourg/LeHavre.

Did you still have to complete a declaration for France and a Locator form?

We're off to France towards the end of June - as usual, we can't wait!   

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Online wessie

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #3 on: May 23, 2022, 04:13:21 PM
I have recently completed my firs trip and you are right, really good to get away.

Re. the query about forms, none required, just proof of vaccination or recent PCR. Read the email from the ferry/tunnel operator as some need you to upload in advance with passport details.

When do you go to Spain in September? I am on the Pont Aven from Plymouth on 18 Sept, return on 29 Sept.

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Offline bobdave

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #4 on: May 23, 2022, 05:40:24 PM
*Originally Posted by Mareng1 [+]
What a shame you can't do ferry, living so close to Poole and Portsmouth!

But - the tunnel is a lot cheaper, and for some destinations in france - about the same distance from Calais as it is from Caen/StMalo/Cherbourg/LeHavre.

Did you still have to complete a declaration for France and a Locator form?


When it is a lads tour we use the ferry normally from Portsmouth and whilst its a pain to get to Dover it's such an easy process.

For France we just had to show proof of vaccination for covid so we got a Covid passport from the NHS app and loaded it as an attachment to our tunnel booking and job done, a really simple crossing.

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Offline bobdave

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #5 on: May 23, 2022, 05:43:55 PM
*Originally Posted by wessie [+]

When do you go to Spain in September? I am on the Pont Aven from Plymouth on 18 Sept, return on 29 Sept.
We go to Spain from Portsmouth on 2nd September and return on 11th September. Can't wait.

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Offline Winger

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #6 on: May 23, 2022, 06:20:26 PM
Can just imagine telling my darling wife I was off on a ‘Lads trip’ be lucky if the house hadn’t been sold never mind at best the locks being changed  :001:

Euro trips are what we do, quick recon up stands between 138/142, like everyone else been on hold these last two years, year normally starts Le-Mans 24 hour bikes in April and the NW200 in May, felt April was too early but went to the NW via Dublin a week ago and very happy that normal service is resumed.

Having been reading about Welsh police antics with recent speeding restrictions that have been introduced we’ll be heading east even more often.

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Online wessie

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #7 on: May 23, 2022, 07:25:36 PM
*Originally Posted by Winger [+]

Having been reading about Welsh police antics with recent speeding restrictions that have been introduced we’ll be heading east even more often.

I don't think the "police antics" are any worse, in fact, North Wales is a bit more relaxed. There are lots of 50 mph zones though which have the usual camera vans from time to time. These are mostly main A roads just like the rest of the country (and Europe).

Just stick to the B roads which are plentiful, especially in the border areas which most people ignore (especially the English counties along the border). 

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Offline Winger

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #8 on: May 23, 2022, 08:09:28 PM
I see since October last year 17,405 punters have been errr reported for speeding between Crossgates and Newtown.

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Online wessie

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Re: First trip to Europe since lockdown
Reply #9 on: May 23, 2022, 08:55:48 PM
*Originally Posted by Winger [+]
I see since October last year 17,405 punters have been errr reported for speeding between Crossgates and Newtown.

Exactly the class of road I suggest one avoids, especially at weekends unless you are going to obey the speed limits.

I have family in Welshpool and friends near Oswestry. If I am taking a ride in Wales on the way there I might use the B4518 through St Harmon or use the A488 via Presteigne & Clun.