Guest blogger, Robert Lidster and his wife adventured on a two-week European road trip, covering over 1,300 miles! The pair set off from their Essex home in the UK and explored France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany – embracing new cultures and landscapes. They reported back with fascinating stories of their experiences; the people they met, the food they ate and wonderful views that will stay with them for a lifetime.

For anyone who loves to travel and explore the world, their experience makes an inspiring story – possibly even one to inspire you to have your own similar adventure!

Knowing the route we had planned would take us through Belgium and Luxembourg, we decided to cross the channel from Dover to Dunkirk, saving about 25 miles of driving. It was a journey we hadn’t done before, and we are always excited to try something new.

As one of Northern Europe’s biggest ferry operators, and with up to 54 crossings a day, DFDS are a major player in transporting goods and people from the UK to the Continent – we chose them for our crossing. Their ferries are modern and spacious, with all the facilities the traveller needs for a comfortable crossing.

We couldn’t have hoped for a better start to our journey, the weather was good and, having stayed the previous night at the Holiday Inn at Dover, we had a quick and easy drive to the port. The sun was shining and all was looking positive for the journey ahead.

Having gone through French passport control in Dover, once we arrived in Dunkirk we were immediately on our way to our first overnight stay at The Ibis Styles Namur in Belgium. We arrived early evening so after checking in, we went for dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, Le Felicien. It was a wonderful meal served by some very attentive and friendly staff, before retiring to the comfortable, well-equipped room.

The next morning, we awoke to thick fog – not good news – as today would be the longest leg of our entire journey. However, we were in no hurry, and waited until weather conditions had improved before setting off for our three night stop at an Airbnb in Bad Bergzabern, Germany.

Bad Bergzabern is a stunning area, known for its breathtaking natural beauty and peaceful walking paths. In addition, there are some truly spectacular rock formations found in the Pfalz area.

We were even lucky enough to explore Fleckenstein Castle in France, Kloster Liebfrauenberg (a sanctuary for horses) and Teufelstisch, offering majestic rock formations from Hinterweidenthal, before finally reaching our final destination of Freiburg in the Black Forest.

There are many wonderful places to visit whilst in Freiburg, including Tittisee with its large lake and abundance of water sports, to the nearby ski resort of Hinterzarten, a lovely picturesque town.

On our return journey we stopped off at Colmar, Alsace. This region of France borders Germany and has a real mix of French and German influence. Colmar, with its beautiful old timbered buildings and network of rivers, put me in mind of Bruges, Belgium. We spent several hours here before setting off for our overnight stay at The Ibis Styles Nancy Sud.

Having had good night’s sleep and a very tasty breakfast, we set off for our final stay at The Hotel Kyriad in Saint Quentin. On the way there, I wanted to explore the wine making area of Epernay and Le Mesnil Sur Oger. These were both places that featured in my adolescence, as a sixteen-year-old – I had worked for two weeks picking grapes in this area, and this was the first time that I had been back there, almost exactly 48 years to the day! I reminisced as we enjoyed driving around the area, viewing the sprawling vineyards which spread out before us as far as the eye could see.

We arrived safely in the centre of Rimes, with plenty of time to have a leisurely dinner before getting ready for our early start! Alarms were set for 05:30 the next morning as we wanted to arrive in Calais with plenty of time for our ferry. It was a good thing we had given ourselves that extra time, as once again we were faced with thick fog! Thankfully, after about an hour the fog started to lift and the sun broke through the clouds. We arrived in Calais with plenty of time as planned, which meant we could spend some time browsing in the excellent, newly opened Duty Free Shop.

My wife and I were one of the first vehicles to board. We headed straight to the 7 Seas restaurant for lunch, where my wife found us a table by the window, and I took some photographs of the ferry.

Overall, we were very pleased with our choice of hotels and our decision to travel with DFDS. We loved the route we took and we would certainly consider the same route again.

Want to set sail on a European Roadtrip like Robert? Click here to visit our website to book your ferry crossing now.

Comments are closed