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Author: Subject: Road trip to Europe - advice
Mr Whippy

posted on 21/8/18 at 11:33 AM Reply With Quote
Road trip to Europe - advice

Hi,

So many times I've driven down to the bottom of the country but never went any further...for whatever reason just never took the leap to keep going...

No I don't mean drive off the Dover cliffs

I have 12 days holidays to take (was a busy year with crane rebuilds), the older kid has just started school so now restricted to school holidays with the family and need to use up my hols by the end off the year.

I love camping and have all the gear and both a 4 & 6 man tents. I also have little Fiesta running really well sooo... was thinking European road trip

Never driven on the left so a bit worried about that, do have a great satnav with newly updated maps for Europe so won't get lost

Not very interested in visiting France, at all (sorry French people ) but would like to visit Poland, Auschwitz (yeah a bit morbid but I've always wanted to visit), Berlin top of the list. I love city breaks and the more science/car/space museums the better. Food is no issue, I'll live on pot noodles, bacon rolls and MacDonald's no bother at all for the whole holiday.

Counting on everyone else in Europe speaking more languages than I do that wouldn't be hard. I'm 45 and I feel that if I don't do this now there's less and less chance of me ever doing it...

So with zero idea about these things anyone else got some idea's what I should do? I think my passport is ok, better check, is that enough, do I need Visa's or something? oh car headlight things and a GB sticker need those. Did joke about painting the Fiesta dayglow orange for road safety (for everyone else!) might be a good idea.

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Benzine

posted on 21/8/18 at 12:23 PM Reply With Quote
Check passport and car license are still valid. European health insurance card is easy to get online.

Berlin is great. I highly recommend going on this cycle tour. You get to see so much of the city and learn a lot.https://www.fattiretours.com/berlin/tours/city-tour

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David Jenkins

posted on 21/8/18 at 12:25 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy
Never driven on the left so a bit worried about that,


You should be fine over there, then! Might have trouble getting to the south coast and back though...

Make sure you've got all the bits and pieces required by the French traffic laws - hi-vis vests for every passenger, and so on. Even a breathalyser, I believe! Google it, because it seems to change constantly. Also make sure that your satnav DOESN'T have speed camera info for France on it - it's a fine and confiscation of your satnav if caught. Also go easy when you first get on French roads - the traffic police are very keen to nab UK drivers within a few km of ports and the Eurostar terminal.

Apart from that, just drive like a granny for the first day or so and you'll be fine. Oh - and make sure you have a heap of cash or a payment card handy if you want to drive on their motorways - they're mostly toll roads.





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nero1701

posted on 21/8/18 at 12:36 PM Reply With Quote
I’ve driven in and lived in Europe, there has been a couple of times I’ve been “right wtf am I meant t be doing.” The two things that help me.
1. When your in the driver seat. The White centre line should be closest to you.
2. I always picture a landmark that I drive past daily. Ie when I pass Halfords it’s over my left shoulder. On continent. It will still be over left shoulder in the same direction it you’ll be on other side of the road.
Hope it helps.

Also. Drivers on the continent drive a bit closer and a touch faster.
They are not following you ;-)

[Edited on 21/8/18 by nero1701]

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theconrodkid

posted on 21/8/18 at 12:44 PM Reply With Quote
it,s not as bad as you think mainly....
as above, E111, reflective jacket for each person on board and spare bulbs for your car, take photocopy of V5 and MOT, make sure your sat nav it up to date. i have been to Auschwitz, take a box of tissues.
driving in France etc is pretty easy, mainly toll roads, can will be expensive, locals mainly friendly Poland is a different ball game, once off the new motorway type roads it can be a bit 3rd world, most younger people speak English but they drive like maniacs, beautifull country and amazing food but lots of cars and belongings get nicked.
dont go too far east or you may end up at the wrong end of a gun when you get to the border with Russia....guess how i know





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David Jenkins

posted on 21/8/18 at 01:23 PM Reply With Quote
I only made one mistake, when I'd pulled into a layby on the left to admire a view of the mountains. Stopped for a while, then drove off, and wondered why there was a car coming straight at me! Yep, habit kicked in and I'd driven off on the left-hand side of the road. Fortunately it was a slowish back road so no harm done - apart from scaring the sh*t out of the driver coming in the other direction!

Oh - and don't underestimate the distances in Europe. The furthest I've driven is to Austria, and that took 3 days of steady driving - not slow, but I wanted to see the sights as well. You might like to go to northern France, Belgium or Netherlands first, to get the hang of it - lots of beautiful places to visit there.





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Angel Acevedo

posted on 21/8/18 at 01:48 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by theconrodkid
....
dont go too far east or you may end up at the wrong end of a gun when you get to the border with Russia....guess how i know


I really would like to hear (read) about it..






Beware of what you wish.. for it may come true....

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Mr Whippy

posted on 21/8/18 at 02:05 PM Reply With Quote
Lots of great advice, helps when people have done it and didn't know all that stuff about driving in France either. I'll google as much as I can

I never go very fast in little Fiesta, it's just not built for that. Only planning on using major roads and the most direct routes. Distances yeah much like driving in the US just goes on for ever (dad was driving then...are we there yet?!...)

Auschwitz... yeah folk in the office have been, expect it will be quite horrendous

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David Jenkins

posted on 21/8/18 at 02:20 PM Reply With Quote
Most of the driving was fine, but I did have to concentrate on roundabouts and left turns at T-junctions. I was always pleased to have a car in front of me in those places!

Also, you might like to Google "priority a droite" if you want to drive in France...





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gremlin1234

posted on 21/8/18 at 02:22 PM Reply With Quote
might be worth considering the newcastle - Amsterdam (Ijmuiden) ferry ...
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ravingfool

posted on 21/8/18 at 02:24 PM Reply With Quote
practical points, on French country roads you have to yield to the right and obviously roundabouts work the other way round to the UK (yield to the left).

for info:

This gives a good explainer:

linky




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theconrodkid

posted on 21/8/18 at 02:37 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Angel Acevedo
quote:
Originally posted by theconrodkid
....
dont go too far east or you may end up at the wrong end of a gun when you get to the border with Russia....guess how i know


I really would like to hear (read) about it..



as you wish
my ex girlfriend is Polish, we were on holiday there enjoying the lakes, met a fella at the hotel who told me about the really scarey place he had been where the border crossing to Belarus is....i decided to go have a look, got 100 yards from said crossing when guard and gun stopped me, i was wearing shorts, hawian shirt and flip flops, he held me for 2 hours while he tried to find something to arrest me with, all his attempts failed so he had to let me go.
back at the hotel the manager was really worried for my safety, i found out later that Belarus is a bit like North Korea and is best avoided
when i left the country, as expected i got the 3rd degree at the airport....never been back.





who cares who wins
pass the pork pies

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Daf

posted on 21/8/18 at 03:46 PM Reply With Quote
I go to the nurburgring every year, driving on the other side is a doddle after the first 5 minutes, everyone is doing it and you're really concentrating. However I always find coming back home the worst bit - and the first few roundabouts when you get back into the UK I end up in a flap!
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Angel Acevedo

posted on 21/8/18 at 04:26 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by theconrodkid
quote:
Originally posted by Angel Acevedo
quote:
Originally posted by theconrodkid
....
dont go too far east or you may end up at the wrong end of a gun when you get to the border with Russia....guess how i know


I really would like to hear (read) about it..



as you wish
my ex girlfriend is Polish, we were on holiday there enjoying the lakes, met a fella at the hotel who told me about the really scarey place he had been where the border crossing to Belarus is....i decided to go have a look, got 100 yards from said crossing when guard and gun stopped me, i was wearing shorts, hawian shirt and flip flops, he held me for 2 hours while he tried to find something to arrest me with, all his attempts failed so he had to let me go.
back at the hotel the manager was really worried for my safety, i found out later that Belarus is a bit like North Korea and is best avoided
when i left the country, as expected i got the 3rd degree at the airport....never been back.




At least you lived to tell...
Great story for the grandsons...





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snapper

posted on 21/8/18 at 05:46 PM Reply With Quote
On many a family holiday to France I used to put post it notes on dash and instrument binnacle, LOOK LEFT, Roundabout GO RIGHT, some French roads still give way to traffic joining B roads beware
I found Yello village camping very good lots of facilities.
Toll roads log your average speed and you will be fined when you pay.
Some 24Hr petrol stations at supermarkets only take cards and some uk debit cards aren’t accepted





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02GF74

posted on 21/8/18 at 06:42 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Whippy I'm 45 and I feel that if I don't do this now there's less and less chance of me ever doing it...

.


Recent events have taught me that you should take the opportunity whilst you can and DO IT.

Although auswitz/oswiecim is a horrid place it is worth seeing to have your mind boggled over the sheer scale of it, 1.1 million people, thats more than Edinburgh and Glasgow combined, and that it could have happened.

Cracow /krakow is close by, very beautiful old centre, all original unlike Warsaw, as was German admin centre during the occupation, and close by is wieliczka, salt mine that is open for visitors.

Near Warsaw there is a massive military museum, tanks galore and more Migs than in a machine mart sale.

Put post it notes, wear watch on right hand and tie a bandana etc to remind you to drive on the right.

[Edited on 21/8/18 by 02GF74]





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sebastiaan

posted on 21/8/18 at 07:06 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by snapper

Toll roads log your average speed and you will be fined when you pay.



No they don't, it is a popular myth though.

Consider dropping past Brussels for the atomium http://www.atomium.be/ and that way you have an excuse to go see autoworld (also in Brussels) http://www.autoworld.be/home. A bit higher up, there's the Louwman collection in the Netherlands which is pretty cool to go and see: https://www.louwmanmuseum.nl/?sc_lang=en. Don't go to Amsterdam, not worth it.

Further east: Yep, the Nordschleife.

Have fun!

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Mr Whippy

posted on 21/8/18 at 09:14 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gremlin1234
might be worth considering the newcastle - Amsterdam (Ijmuiden) ferry ...


love it good thinking, checking prices Harwich - Rotterdam is half the cost and on par with the channel crossing prices, will certainly look into that option, cheers.

Thanks sebastiaan great links exactly what I'm after

Yeah 02GF74 not kidding myself it will be something shocking to behold for sure...

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ReMan

posted on 21/8/18 at 09:47 PM Reply With Quote
I'm usually OK after about 5 minutes and your first LH turn
After that you dont often forget
If you take your own car, keep your self, the driver in the gutter and that will keep your passenger safer





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cliftyhanger

posted on 21/8/18 at 09:49 PM Reply With Quote
I find the worst bit of driving over there is the car parks, especially supermarket type ones. Maybe it is just me....

Colditz is supposed to be rather good. I think you can stay there?

Every couple of years we do the Club Triumph 10 countries run. Does what it says on the tin (about 2 1/2K in 5 days).... one involved Slovenia and lots of East Germany (as was) Both fantastic to see.

Done lots of stuff in France. Earlier this year visited the Menin Gate. Well worth dropping into and watching the ceremony. Puts stuff in perspective.

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Toys2

posted on 22/8/18 at 01:00 AM Reply With Quote
When in a RHD car on the continent, my simple mantra is "driver's arse, closest to the kerb" it works every time

The first few times I drove my car abroad, I too had a Post It note taped to the centre of the steering wheel, with two simple diagrams, a crossroads and a roundabout, I've sketched it for you

People have mentioned Hi Viz, in some countries these have to be stored inside the car, not in the boot, so they can be reached in an emergency

Have you thought about European breakdown cover?

Description
Description

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David Jenkins

posted on 22/8/18 at 07:23 AM Reply With Quote
I was admiring a nice Triumph Stag on the ferry on one trip - highly amused to see a huge arrow taped to the steering wheel, pointing right!





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scimjim

posted on 22/8/18 at 07:48 AM Reply With Quote
Watch out for new speed limits in France - recently the main holiday auto-route speed limits have been reduced by 20 km/h, ie 110k instead of 130k and from 90km/h to 80km/h on single carriage roads, which is being enforced much to the annoyance of the locals.

Apparently this is to reduce pollution levels but of course, they haven’t changed every single sign - just put it in the local papers.

LEZs are also springing up in major cities, so don’t just drive into a city centre without checking first.

[Edited on 22/8/18 by scimjim]

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jollygreengiant

posted on 22/8/18 at 08:51 AM Reply With Quote
AND, I think it is still a law, DO NOT use cruise control in Belgium, it IS illegal. Although how they know you are using it I have no idea.





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Mr Whippy

posted on 22/8/18 at 11:32 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Toys2
When in a RHD car on the continent, my simple mantra is "driver's arse, closest to the kerb" it works every time

The first few times I drove my car abroad, I too had a Post It note taped to the centre of the steering wheel, with two simple diagrams, a crossroads and a roundabout, I've sketched it for you

People have mentioned Hi Viz, in some countries these have to be stored inside the car, not in the boot, so they can be reached in an emergency

Have you thought about European breakdown cover?

Description
Description



Great diagrams, just printed them off, thanks

France seems a good place to avoid so far...

No issues about breaking speed limits, I'll be sitting at 55 mph most of the way as usual for max mpg. No cruise control, hell I don't even have electric windows...

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