Posted by: travelrat | August 24, 2012

On the Road to Brussels

Jay on ‘Le Shuttle’

Brussels: 23rd June 2012.

The very early morning found us trundling suitcases down the hill. The buses hadn’t started running, and, even if it were possible to find a taxi at that time of the morning, it would probably be cheaper to buy the cab. If we did, there’s nowhere in Amesbury we could leave it long-term, anyway.

The good news was … it wasn’t raining, and we live at the top of the hill, and were to meet the coach at the bottom. The other way around doesn’t bear thinking about!

At the pick-up point, we met Jay, the Tour Manager. He lives in Devizes, and had chosen to be picked up here, where he could leave his car with a relative. He was able to fill us in on a few more details.

Usually, when I’ve taken a coach tour in Europe, the coach from Amesbury was a ‘feeder’ … all the coaches met up at Clackett Lane Services, on the M25, and we transferred to the appropriate coach here. Not in this case, said Jay. We’re going right through on the same coach. And, we’d using ’Le Shuttle’ through the Eurotunnel … no messing about with ferries for this company.

Jay agreed with us that the arrangements that had been made weren’t the best, and he would do what he could to ease the grief. For starters, he said, he’d organise a ride into Brussels itself.

‘It depends on how heavy the traffic is’  he said ‘If it’s not so bad, we can check into the hotel, then take the coach into Brussels and get something to eat there. Or, if we’re late, we’ll go straight into the city’

We stopped for a while at the Fleet Services on the M3. These stops are mandatory rest breaks for the drivers, and they’re usually at motorway service areas … which are, unfortunately, pretty soulless places, where all there is to do is have a coffee you don’t really want, and browse around the shops.

‘Le Shuttle’ itself is fairly basic, offering the comfort and kind of view you’d get on a military cargo aircraft … it’s best to stay on the coach. But, it’s a fairly efficient way of crossing the Channel, and doesn’t last long. So, it wasn’t very many minutes before we were bowling along a European motorway to Brussels.

(Here, we take a short break. My sixth grandchild, Elliot Peter Kellett arrived yesterday morning, and we’re going up to see him. Back on Thursday or Friday)

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