23rd of July, 2022
It has been a while, since I hit the road to go to France on my own. It was during a house sit in The Lot. This time I have the opportunity to visit Normandy, one of the places from our bucket list. My transponder is installed, to drive smooth through the traffic at the Péage. At 5.00 a.m. I am already on the road to avoid the Black Saturday madness.
Everything is going well, until somewhere in between Lille and Amiens, I notice three uniformed guys, all lined up at the side of the highway. My speedometer says 100, while I am allowed 110. For whatever reason, I just know they are going after me! Maybe my sunglasses are too big? Or they think that a lady, driving on her own in a Dutch car, probably comes from Amsterdam? Suddenly, one guy is in front of my car, two at the back and even another car is following!!! They all guide me to a very quiet place, far away from the highway. I feel like a criminal…..
After opening the window, all three guys with ‘Douanier’ on their jackets are surrounding me. I look as relaxed as possible and my school french is floating out of my mouth; “Qu’y a-t-il, messieurs?” “Controle, madame, where are you going to?” I explain that I am going for a house sit to Sourdeval in Normandy, looking after a funny dog and two ragdolls.
‘ Les Douaniers’ give me a suspicious look. Did I maybe use too many Spanish words? “Did I bring boose?” Yes, sure, one bottle of whiskey for the boyfriend, who is coming by train on Saturday. I get enthusiastic, happy to practise my french, and tell them how long we will stay and what we are going to do.
The guys don’t even ask anymore for my passport, nor check the loads of luggage I brought. “Merci madame, bonne journée” and they rapidly leave. Pfffff…….
The next day I arrive safely at the gorgeous property, where I will stay for ten exciting days.