I set the alarm clock on but there was no need. I was so excited and nervous I was awake way before the phoned buzzed. A quick shower, I packed my stuff and set off towards the Channel Tunnel terminal that was only a 10 minute ride away.
The morning was bright, the sun was out and I was concentrating hard to follow the correct signs hoping desperately I don’t cock anything up.
I’ve found the check in point and stopped by the window to produce my ticket. I’ve stopped and lifted the visor, smiling at the lady in the cubicle while trying to find the neutral so I can get my documents. Yeah, right. Kill the engine and start again. I’ve bought a tank bag which was invaluable the whole of the trip. It kept my essentials to hand and I didn’t have to fumble in the pockets for tickets, passport and other paraphernalia.
The woman handed me a piece of paper and said to display it on a vehicle. It is a piece of paper with no sticky tape, no ‘hooks’, no nothing. Where exactly are you meant to stick it on a bike?? In the pocket it went. I zipped up the tank bag and started the engine again. I had plenty of time so I parked up by the terminal and went for some breakfast. Which was dreadful. You know, airport kind of shite. Overpriced, tasteless, poorly presented and shitty customer service. Still, coffee was half decent.
I started to panic a bit as I had no idea how far I am from the train boarding point and what time should I be setting off at to make sure I don’t miss it. But I got there, last in the queue of the bikes. Thankfully, as I was getting anxious about the whole train experience, never mind the trip.
Following everyone else and keeping a close eye on what they were doing I managed to get on the train without an incident and spent the next half an hour figuring out my route when I get to France.
I also had a moment of panic when I realised the bike’s settings are in mph and not km/h and I had no idea how to change it. Luckily, a quick google search produced a few forums and suggestions on how to do it on different style bikes but seemed to have worked the same on mine. Phew!
OMG I was getting really excited when the train stopped. We all disembarked and rode off and the next thing, I was on a motorway, in France, riding my motorcycle and all ON MY OWN…. EEEEEEEKK!! What have I done???
My first port of call was always going to be Bruges. I’ve heard so much about it and seen photos and it looked like a decent distance from Calais for the first stop.
A few trips around the block and I finally settled on a parking spot a few hundred yards from the main square. I was ecstatic and soooo happy and chuffed with myself I just stood there taking it all in. It is a beautiful place and I was there, standing in the middle of the square with the biggest grin on my face!
After a quick walk around, more coffee and a snack I decided to carry on.
Can you tell how happy I was!? https://www.pscp.tv/w/cAt2IjFQWEVkbW9SWGJ2UWV8MWRqR1hwT1pSbUVHWnOUlZLYMz497sCqy1AAapMaa8TAxmIa84jfZyErbROu?t=2s
Dear twitter folk suggested a stop at Ieper so I’ve headed there. Not a long journey and well worth a visit. A town full of history, cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and friendly locals. I sat down for lunch while looking to book that night’s accommodation.
My plan was to get to Eifel National Park in Germany and I have found a B&B on the edge of it and booked it for two nights. It was going to be my first stop and I wanted to settle and take in the first day and have a day of fun on the roads without the luggage on the bike.
From Ieper I sat on the BORING motorways through Belgium and I stopped quite a few times for a stretch and a wake up until I got past Assen in Holland then the flat and dull landscape started turning slightly more interesting with hills and woodlands and the road started curving.
The last leg in Germany, the road to my accommodation was starting to get fun. Running through small villages connected with wide, smooth roads crossing the countryside with nice bends and stunning views and I was starting to feel less tired.
I was approaching a set of traffic lights in one of the villages and a car pulled out from the side road right in front of me then stopped at the red lights in the lane for turning left. I have spotted the car in good time and have slowed down to let it go as it was clear the driver wasn’t stopping. I pulled alongside of the car, in my lane going straight on when I heard clapping to my left. I looked over to the car and two old women, must have been in their 80s were pointing at me and shouting “fraulein, moto, bravo!”
Not sure who cheered the other more, the old ladies seeing a woman on a motorbike or me, seeing them so excited and happy at seeing me 😂
I eventually arrived at my accommodation but the village roads were closed because they were holding a village 5k run. I felt a proper rebel ignoring the signs and going through to my B&B. In my defence, the run was almost finished, only a few stragglers left and it wasn’t more than 100 yards to the place. The owner kindly let me park in the garage, offered me a beer (actually three) and I sat on the balcony watching the day turn into night until my eyes were starting to close.
Here is a map of my route on Day 2 – a total of 317.86 miles. Not a bad day.