The car is packed quite full as we drive away from Lyndsey's house in Brighton, on our way to explore some new countries. The air surrounding the road is dark because we are slow and couldn't get packed up in time so a few of the turns are missed making those two extra hours we left ourselves crucial. We pull into P&O Ferries just as the clock is turning over to 00:00 and we gather our passports, and confirmation number in a neat pile ready to hand over at the customs check. The first kiosk (French inspectors) nod us through without a word, so we drive up to the next little box labeled as UK inspection and we get a second nod and dismissal of a hand. Not until the third kiosk, (for the ferry company) did someone even speaks to us to verify that we have in fact paid for our ferry journey. After our information is sorted I can not help but ask...when will we be inspected, and if there is another booth on the other side that will give us our entry stamp, she politely replies that we have already been through inspection, there is nothing on the other side. With a silent sigh of relief Kevin and I have no incoming Schengen stamp on our passports and we are free to move about the country...and...we got our car Polly in as well, because she is a definite grey area.
What a great start to our morning, hello France! We take a small nap until 8:30 when the stores open and we can get some wine and now our day has really begun. Walking out of the market with a total of 13 liters of wine and food to last a few days for under 50€ makes for a second great accomplishment before 9:00. We spend the early afternoon sunshine in Bruges as the Belgium border is a mere hop-skip-and a jump from France. We wander the canals enjoying Belgian chocolates, and (non lager) highly alcoholic & delicious beers. Bellies filled, culture fulfilled we set off to finish our days road trip, passing quickly into the Netherlands. We can't help but stop at the beach of Brouwersdam to cool down from the 34 degree Celsius heat blazing down on the car. We fall for the wide sandy beach instantly, while the warm flat waters lap against our legs. Our three hour drive has already turned into a 9 hour road trip when we run into a huge traffic jam. Eventually we are turned around by police due to the,"bridge being broken," not sure what that entails but it adds another hour or so on to our journey to Amsterdam. Luckily Julie, Celeste and I have come up with a diversion: every bridge, and roundabout we encounter forces a drink from the 5 liter jug of wine, needless to say, the canals are sparkling and amazing today and we do eventually get to Amsterdam!