La Mailleraye-sur-Seine, Tuesday 27th December 2011

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Foggy afternoon at La Mailleraye-sur-Seine

We have found another wonderful aire on the river Seine, just down the road from St Nicolas de Bliquetuit, about 15km west of Rouen, on the D490.  We are parked right by the river, but can hardly see it due to the thick fog.

We left home yesterday at 12.45 pm and made it to the Euro Tunnel terminal by 3.15pm.  There was hardly anybody there and got on the 4.12 train to Calais.  It was dark when we arrived there due to the one hour difference and just headed to the aire at Wissant, a mere 20 minutes down south on the D940, junction 40 off A16.

The aire was also nearly empty with just 6 more motorhomes when we arrived, although I counted 9 this morning.

Last night I heated up the leftover Christmas dinner, as I was loathe to throw it away and brought everything on the china serving charges we used at home, so it was a nice and easy meal.

I’ve just remembered the horrible traffic jam at the Fontwell roundabout near Slindon in West Sussex, as everyone seemed to have decided to go to the races on Boxing day.  Luckily for us, we were going in the opposite direction and didn’t get caught in it.

The first view when I got up at 8 am

We got up soon after 8 this morning and were ready to leave Wissant by 9.15 en route to Auchan hypermarket at Boulogne, as we prefer this to Carrefour in Cité Europe, even though it’s so huge you almost need a compass to find your way through.  I was amazed to see the amount of chocolate boxes and jars of foie grass, as this is banned in England. It was a quick shop and after loading van with food and drink, we were ready for departure by 10.45am.

Looking across to Le Trait in the fog

We followed the A16 and A28 south as usual as far as Neufchâtel-en-Bray, where we were supposed to take the A29 west at junction 10, except that things didn’t work out quite as planned.  As we were following directions given by Homer Simpson on the TomTom, I decided to text Pepo to find out which train to Birmingham he was catching, as the journey the day before had been cancelled and I was a bit worried about his trip.  I had already told Adonis we needed junction 10 of the A28 heading west towards Le Havre, so happy with the comforting knowledge that he knew what he was doing plus the instructions from Homer, I totally disconnected from the map and the road while I texted Pepo. Then I heard Adonis saying “this is the junction for A29”, I quickly glanced up and was surprised to see junction 7 and not 10 as agreed.  Only a couple of minutes later I heard him say that he didn’t think that was right, as it was signposted to Amiens and Lille, further to the east.  I checked the map again and soon I realised he had come off the A28 far too early and we were heading in the wrong direction.  The worst thing was that the A29 is a toll road and we had to continue to the next junction (J12, about 15 km away), where we had to get off to approach a ticket booth and pay €1.60 for ticket for a motorhome.  Then we proceeded to barrier and inserted ticket in the machine slot, but barrier didn’t lift and kept asking for a credit card.  I inserted this and barrier lifted and we turned around.  That meant entering the A29 again in the opposite direction and had to take another ticket and pay again when we came off it at J.7 at Neufchatel-en-Bray.  Back on the A28 heading west and finally joined the A29 at junction 11 at St Saen with direction to Yvetot and another toll ticket.  It was plain sailing from there and made it here for 2.30 pm at last.

The river Seine in the fog

It was strange how the weather changed soon after we headed south from Yvetot, as it turned very foggy the moment we dropped into the valley of the Seine and visibility deteriorated to about 50 metres.  We had to slow right down, especially since we were following a heavy lorry with a cargo of sand and dirt and couldn’t overtake.

The fog lifted slightly while we were taking Bramble for a walk and I took a few pictures of eerie river bank and town on the opposite side, which we believe to be Le Trait.  It’s turned very cold too, so we have the heating on.

After walk, I crocheted another square for my scarf while Adonis played chess on his mobile.  Now we are enjoying a glass of Chardonnay and are going to heat up some Vietnamese prawn spring rolls and serve them with couscous: another easy meal after spending the morning cooking on Christmas day.  Tonight we’ll start watching the first episode of ‘The West Wing’, which Adonis bought for this trip especially.

If not too tired, I’ll keep reading ‘Seeing Julia’ by Katherine Owen on my brand new Kindle G3 I got for Christmas.  I’ve read 2 chapters so far and I’m really enjoying it: it certainly makes you want to keep on reading.  I love the little torch that’s come with the kindle cover, as I can read in bed without disturbing Adonis.

View from the aire after fog lifted

A better view of parking at aire after fog lifted

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