France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany
Today was a bit of a slog; The CoPilot SatNav has an option to take the either the shortest, or, quickest route to the destination. Today I wanted to get from Dunkirk to Bremen. The shortest route showed at about 8 hours, the quickest route showed about 10 minutes or so less, so I figured I’d go the shorter route; less miles, less fuel, no major time difference.
CoPilot clearly doesn’t take into account the amount of time taken to stop at traffic lights, or slow for roundabouts!
Now, this isn’t a problem in France or Belgium, where you positively breeze down the roads, heading towards a deep orange sunrise, with mist across the fields, it was a pleasure to just be trundling along taking in the fact that I was in France, and then suddenly, Belgium, and despite a frustrating road closure in Antwerp, in only a couple of hours was into the Netherlands.
The roads that CoPilot took me along then changed, significantly, from long stretches of dual carriage ways and ‘fast’ (although I am only travelling at 50mph) single carriageways to what amounts to miles and miles of roundabouts and traffic lights that are broken up by a few hundred yards of road!
I couldn’t tell you the number of them I passed, but it became so frustrating that after an hour or so of roundabouts and lights, I checked the directions on CoPilot and easily had another 20 or so roundabouts to come, all at about 1 mile intervals. Grr!
All in all, about an hour was added to the ‘shortest’ route. Thank goodness for Germany!
Needless to say, when I got into Germany, and stopped for a break, I changed the preferences on satnav to ‘quickest’.
Germany impressed me today, with one simple thing; excellent roadside parking!
As I was trundling along, every 10 miles or so away from towns, on single or dual carriageway type roads there would be rest points, in wooded areas, with segregation for trucks and Motorhomes, and cars. Every other one would have a toilet, and all of them are free to park with no restrictions.
On the larger Autobahns, there are bigger, less picturesque rest points, but still with toilets and no parking restrictions. It’s one of these that I find myself in this evening. A word of caution however, the toilets are stainless steel, have no seats, and rarely have toilet paper…..
In contrast to the UK, where it’s frowned upon to stay for a night in a lay-by, or, you face the ‘parking only permitted for 2 hours’ signs at our motorway services, Germany seems to encourage the longer road journeys. Granted it has a lot of room for the fast roads and facilities, and high taxes to pay for it, but to simply be able to pull over and stop for the night with the free facilities, must provide a great amount of freedom for travelling.
That would probably explain the large number of German registered Motorhomes I’ve seen on the road today, I’ll be jealous of this freedom when I’m home!
I’m now between Bremen and Hamburg, on the A1/E22. It’s been a long day, but all being well, I’ll be in Sweden by tomorrow evening.