SUBMITTED BY LINDA MENCH
Driving to the United Kingdom? Fortunately, I‘m blessed with an adventurous husband who wanted to try his luck at “wrong” side of the road touring. At ﬁrst I thought we should take a train, but I‘m really glad we drove –there was so much beautiful country to see in Kent!
Our vacation commenced with about a 5 hour drive thru pothole-ridden Belgium (we chase to avoid the toll roads in France….we probably should have paid the toll to save my shocks!) to the Chunnel entrance. Failure on my part to properly read all the ticket information resulted in missing our train load-in time by 10 minutes. UGH! We had to wait for the next one, 1.5 hours later. That “window” they give you for your Chunnel arrival isn’t really the arrival time. However, the “window” does guarantee your transport if you don’t arrive “on time.“
The Eurotunnel check-in process was pretty easy and the signage was very clear. Cameras veriﬁed our car registration, followed by security ofﬁcials who double checked our documents and passports.
Hanging out in the Chunnel oasis wasn’t so awful: we bought ginormous Toblerone bars and Christmas wine at the duty free shop; typical roadside food was available as well –French & Italian coffee/pizza/sandwich shops. There was a currency exchange counter, but use caution –sometimes those rates are crazy!
Next, we followed the signs to load our car onto the train. Our language expert, Alex, claims to have not retained any French, so we assumed this was the right way.
Once parked, we could get out of the car and walk around the sides of the train, just not between the cars. The way they jostled around, I can see why the parking brake sign was illuminated! Watching more cars and buses load onto other trains, soon there was nothing to see from the windows. Zach was really hoping to glimpse
some ﬁsh. . . .no dear, we’re not in a ﬂoating tube, although it would be pretty cool to be “in” an aquarium for 50km!
Finally, the doors opened , we were all still alive (ha!), and James, our GPS desperately searched for a signal and we cautiously followed the exit signs. As the murmuring G of “left, left, left” echoed in the car, sighting a giant horse “sculpture”on the hillside did not interest the driver nor my fellow passengers (or should we say “iPad game junkies”).
“Left” became easier after a few days, but those ﬁrst harrowing hours in the rain were a bit, well, harrowing. Especially for this writer, seated on the right. Closest to the oncoming traffic. On the narrowest roads ever. Never doubted my husband once (well, ok, a couple times I did have to shout “LEFT! after a Ieft tum…..YOU
try turning let and staying leﬁ!) It was the oncoming trafﬁc that I feared most.
I’m glad we took the Chunnel as opposed to the Ferry this time of year. It was rather dreary outside and we learned that the ferry crossing can sometimes be a bit choppy with the winter weather.
Tips For Your Trip:
Cost: From £55 each way, includes passengers.
Time: 35 minutes for the crossing; allow time for arrival, border check point, and
Items you‘ll need: Your reservation paperwork & passports for everyone traveling
in your vehicle
Address for French entrance:
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle
Address for English entrance:
Eurotunnel Le Shuttle