Ragtag Tuesday: Driving. England; France; Spain. What a contrast!

We’ve just landed home from our epic car journey through France and Spain.  2,715 miles on the clock.  The worst of those miles were those completed here in the UK.

This morning near the Blackwall Tunnel, London.

I’m not being entirely fair.  We had more than a few traffic-jam moments in Barcelona and Toulouse, but we’ve also enjoyed miles and miles of empty motorways and other roads, particularly in France, where driving was nothing but relaxing.

RN 20 near Pamiers, France.

What really makes a difference though, are the motorway service areas.  I’ve written before about France’s quiet uncommercial aires, which complement the ones with restaurants, shops and all the trimmings.  Even these can be havens of peace though.  Look at the Aire de la Porte de Corrèze.  Yes, it’s got all the usual facilities.  But it’s got space and peace too: a country path, a woodland walk, and a quiet pond.

Now look at the ‘Extra’ service area on the A1 M near Peterborough.  Outside space is strictly for parking in.  Land is scarce and ruinously expensive in the UK of course.  But if only we could have stretched our legs and breathed a little fresh air as we took a break in our journey north.  It would have made so much difference.

Today’s Ragtag challenge is ‘Contrast’.

PS.  I arrived home to some good news from the Police in Barcelona.  They have recovered certain items following last week’s thefts.  I still don’t know what.  Watch this space!

Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

21 thoughts on “Ragtag Tuesday: Driving. England; France; Spain. What a contrast!”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Aire Porte de Corrèze is a must stop for coffee and a dog walk on our way north. We get very frustrated in the UK but not as much as the dogs who like to have a romp and stretch their legs on a long car journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE the French ‘aires’ = heavens of peace, often plenty of trees, pic-nic-tables and benches, toilets and astonishingly good coffee in the service stations! I’m so glad for you for hopefully getting some if not all of your belongings back…..

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    1. They’re pretty good, aren’t they? Except, unaccountably, round Rouen, where we haven’t found even one that passes muster yet. Curious now, to see what has been retrieved of our belongings.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post reminded me of the time I met a Canadian when I lived in Germany who exclaimed they could never drive in England as the roads were so tiny! I guess we take it for granted that our population is large and our islands are small. And, pretty much every useable inch of land is used. Thank goodness for our National Parks, the green belt and urban parks.

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  4. The difference is amazing! 🙂 From Germany I’m used to very crowded, hectic motorways and I find driving in UK much more civilised and relaxed. So far, I can only say English drivers are polite, helpful and considerate. Now I must admit, I live in Norfolk, we don’t have any motorways and three cars are considered a queue. 😉


  5. I’m sorry the most important items haven’t been recovered. What bad luck!
    Our service stations are dire, aren’t they? We often have to park in the lorry park and the smell is indescribable!

    Liked by 1 person

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