It all started in the very early hours, 0330 to be precise; the wake up alarm went off in the darkness. I fumbled around the bed as my eyes strained to pierce the darkness and find the bathroom. My bags where ready just needing me to be washed and pack the last few items before closing the cases and placing them in the car for my road trip across France. The luxury of having an entire car to fill for my needs for the 18 days without weight limit unlike the airport check restrictions, meant that the load just kept growing. Finally as the sun peaked his head above the rooftops, I was still loading the car squeezing half my life possessions into the boot of my Ford Focus. At 0530 I started the car and was on my way heading for the M20, making good time and with little traffic on the road I arrived comfortably at the channel tunnel around 0700, which meant I was able to get an earlier crossing. Finally loaded on the 0750 which was delayed by 20 minutes still meant I was 40 minutes ahead of schedule which left me feeling more relaxed for the long 6 hour drive from Calais to Strasbourg via Reims and Metz.
Traffic on the French motorways was light if not none existent, which was not surprising given the price of the tolls. I eventually spent around 50 euros before I reached Strasbourg. I took a break just after Reims with more than half way under my belt. French motorway rest stops have not developed much compared to the UK which had really improved a lot with choice and quality, especially since Marks and Spencer seems to have a food outlet in most of them. But France still just has a Burger King offering their main food times, with a petrol station snack shop. Thankfully I was saved by the small Brioche Doree kiosk which served decent coffee and a tart framboise. Back on route, I finally arrived at Hotel Gutenbourg at around 1730, checked in and parked the car in Car Park Austerlitz.
It was now still light outside so I took a stroll to get my bearings. The famous Strasbourg cathedral lay just 200 metres from the hotel, with its imposing ancient looking sandstone lace structure looking down on the town. I stopped for a drink to familiarise myself with my feet after 6 hours of moving on wheels. After being refreshed I carried on walking in a 500 metre radius browsing the shops in the timber framed old and leaning buildings. At dinner time I didn't want to over eat or spend too much so opted to have a simple pizza near the cathedral. It was still pleasantly warm and sitting outside was delightful as the cooling breeze massaged the stored heat on my body from the long hot day. After another stop at a small bar for a Belgium beer, it was back to the hotel for a well needed good night’s sleep.