We left home on Thursday 12th May at about 7.30. am and drove to Folkestone, arriving at the Euro Tunnel terminal at about 1pm. We were given an earlier train time than our scheduled time but the the train didn’t leave until 2.05. pm so we arrived in France 3.40.pm (French time). We took the A16 towards Lille, Reims, Bruxelles then the E15/A26 towards Reims to Chalons-en-Champagne. This is the Autoroute des Anglais, a toll road all the way to Chalons, a very easy drive arriving at 7.30. pm at the B&B Hotel we had booked for the night. This was a basic but adequate hotel for an overnight stop with a restaurant opposite the hotel, Le Pataterie and breakfast at 6.15 Euros each was good value.
The next morning we needed to find the CIC bank in Chalons to pay some money into our account which we did without any difficulty and then set off on our way south. We took the D3 towards Verdun, turned right onto D994 towards Bar-leDuc and then the N1135/N135 to N4. Close to Nancy we took A33 towards Luneville, Strasbourg, then N59 towards Selestat, A35 towards Colmar & Mulhouse, then Basel. At the Swiss border we needed to buy the Swiss motorway tax – CHF40 valid for 1 year (1CHF = £0.74). We followed some diversions to the Gotthard Tunnel (A3 then A4 towards Zurich). It was very busy all the way in Switzerland and heavy rain and we queued for one hour to get through the Tunnel and into Italy. It was dry and sunny when we emerged from the Tunnel but we were stuck in traffic queues due to road works before we managed to get off the motorway near Como. We found the Ibis Hotel in Como eventually, arriving at about 8.30.pm; it was an excellent hotel with a very comfortable bed, good restaurant in the hotel and secure parking.
We left the next morning after breakfast and took the A9, A8, A4 towards Venice. We arrived at the Autohotel Venezia near to Venice at about 1.30. pm, functional rooms with a restaurant next door but nothing else in the locality.
We relaxed all afternoon but then there was heavy rain, thunder and lightening in the evening. We went to the restaurant next door – The Venexia. It was very busy but they managed to find a table for us. I had mixed fried fish and Mel had pizza and we enjoyed it very much. It was an interesting design – boats on water in the middle of the room resembling Venice!
It was only 20 minutes drive from the hotel to the port where we checked in and embarked. We were right at the front of the ferry in front of all the lorries due to our height (just over 2m) and length (with the bike rack on the back). The ferry left at 12.00. on time and it was a lovely day, sunny and dry.
We had lunch in the self service restaurant and an evening meal in the A La Carte restaurant, both OK. We relaxed in our cabin with a window and watched the film “Brooklyn”. We had a good night’s sleep and woke up to a sunny morning and calm seas. We had breakfast in the Self Service restaurant and then relaxed until we arrived (early) in Igoumenitsa at 2pm.
Mel drove to Vassiliki via Preveza and Lefkada Town, a route we know well as we have travelled that way many times over the years we have been coming to Vass. We arrived in Vass at about 4.30.pm and checked into our apartment, met Nikos again and his wife, Laita who is expecting a baby in September. Nikos helped Mel take the bikes and rack off the car and then we could unload the boot. After taking everything up to our apartment we went into town and had a meal at The Starfish Restaurant which was very nice.
A successful and enjoyable journey and now we can settle into life in Vass once again.