2020-09-23 (Wed). Zell to Aachen.

Bye bye Zell.

It was pretty noisy there early this morning: lots of heavy traffic from around 05:30, it seemed, with lots of small but noisy grape harvesting tractors chugging by. Not to mention the occasional huge tanker truck & trailer combo thundering up the tiny lane past the Stellplatz.

We need to be in Aachen tonight, it being…

  • Still in Germany
  • about as close to the Belgian border as possible without actually being in Belgium
  • a place where diesel fuel is much cheaper than in Belgium
  • a place with a large Stellplatz where we might just get a place for the night

Belgium, as well as France and the Netherlands, are – somewhat hypocritically – on the UK list of undesirable places, Covid-19 wise. Thus, any time spent in any of those places will result in automatically being sent to Coventry (aka Quarantine) for two weeks after returning home. Yet transiting through these countries – pretty unavoidable when catching Le Shuttle in Calais – seems to be allowed as long as no-one is allowed to breathe upon you whilst in transit. From Aachen, we can make it to Calais on less than one tank full of fuel, so there should be no need to fill up in the deadly countries of Belgium and France. As long as I remember to fill up before leaving Aachen!

Road works and road closures seemed to be targetted at preventing us from ever reaching Aachen, and added over 1 hour to what should have been a 2 hour journey. I was desperate to get there early to stand any chance at all of getting a place at the Stellplatz. Joy also seemed to have developed sudden onset cold with prolonged bouts of apoplectic sneezing and running nose early in the morning and continuing throughout the day, which did nothing to improve the time or the mood.

In the end, we DID make it to Aachen, by 13:00 in fact, and had a choice of quite a number of places at the Stellplatz.

Our train departs from Calais at 18:50 tomorrow. Earliest allowed checkin time is 16:50 with a threat of a potential £200 additional charge for having the effrontery to turn up earlier than that. Bloody cheek. According to Google, we’ll need to leave here by 12:45. So I think we’ll make that 11:30. And if it looks like we’re going to arrive early (heaven forbid), we’ll just have to sit it out in a very unlovely French autoroute aire as long as we don’t get out of the MoHo or let anyone breathe too close to us.

Must remember to buy fuel in the morning.