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  #41  
Old 24.06.2011, 12:09
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

Actually, on the subject of Belgium (and since this thread has already gone off the rails, and the OP clearly isn't going to come back) - has anyone ever noticed the startling similarity between Belgian houses and English houses?

I've never been anywhere else in Europe where, if you ignored the fact that you were surrounded by foreigners, you could be standing in a street in Bilston, Kettering or Redditch. Terraced houses, straight onto the street, the smell of frying chips, good beer... it's like a forgotten English colony in the midst of the shuttered and whitewashed conformity of the continent.

Or is it just my imagination?
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  #42  
Old 24.06.2011, 12:37
transition
 
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

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No I am not Belgian for your information but if I was I would find your comments highly insulting.
Ooops! Really, really sorry, I did mean Belgian drivers...

And back to the subject; here then, we have established that (in some of the opinions here) it may add an hour (or more?) onto ones journey going via Luxembourg and Belgium which we of course add on to about twelve hours (total) journey time. There are also some roadworks to consider too and there maybe some confusion with exits if one of the little ones suddenly may need the toilet (of all things)...

Whereas a straight motorway (albeit with expensive tolls, expensive fuel stops and boring scenery even at night) might be a better option where all the stops could be on the same road. There, swiftly back on subject without too much fuss, eh?
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  #43  
Old 24.06.2011, 12:41
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

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I couldn't agree more. I don't know which roads he's been on but in my extensive experience of using this route I've never seen any of the things that Transition has.
Belgian motorways are much better lit too which is helpful for night driving.

I agree it does take longer but it is a much nicer route to drive.
Wouldn't it be great if you needed to go to the UK and could go with the OP if she decided to take that route?
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  #44  
Old 24.06.2011, 12:55
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

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Please give me a minute...I'm now driving..
Ah I get it now. It's you that's driving erratically and not all the others.
You should be ashamed of yourself typing and driving at the same time
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  #45  
Old 24.06.2011, 13:25
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

ahahaha BelgianMum - love it when you get feisty, lol.
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  #46  
Old 24.06.2011, 13:36
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

Just to add my twopennorth - I've driven the Zürich to Calais route many many times, I only did the Belgian route once and I would never do it again. The French autoroutes are great, lovely smooth surfaces, well maintained, the toll system is a doddle to use, very little traffic (I have done this trip at various times of the day and never had bad traffic delays), the route is very straightforward. My experience of Belgian motorways is that there are badly maintained, rubbish strewn, the centre reservation hedgerows are not kept cut meaning that you sometimes get bushes etc growing out over the left hand lane, Belgian drivers are a nightmare with high incidence of tailgating, very aggressive and sudden lane swapping - a classic is the belt past you in the left hand lane and then cut across two or three lanes of traffic to take the next exit. The Brussels ring is simply awful, always traffic, not that easy to follow if you don't know where you're going. The only positive thing I would say about the Belgian motorways is that they are lit - this is very good, especially if you're a bit tired.
I would add that before moving to Zürich I lived in Cologne and drove from Cologne to Calais countless times too - meaning I have a lot of experience of driving in Belgium and I would now avoid it if at all possible. After the delight of German lane discipline and orderly driving, Belgium was a nightmare, very scary. For a youngish woman with two young children I would not recommend it, the France route is a lot simpler. Maybe once she's gained some confidence and experience she could try it. I would add that I've nothing against Belgians whatsoever, I simply found (in my own personal experience) that the roads in France were better.

Finally, given that the Belgium route adds a considerable distance to the overall trip I would argue that this counters the discount on the per litre price of fuel you gain by shopping for fuel in "cheap" Luxembourg - meaning, what's the point?
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  #47  
Old 24.06.2011, 13:38
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

Just to put my 2 rappen into the Belgian route discussion (yet again), I have driven Zurich to Calais about 50 times (and return) over the last 4 years and have used the Luxembourg/Belgium route about 60% of the time. Depending on exactly which route you take, it's between 60 and 80 kms further than going through France.

But this is offset in a few ways.... no stopping at Toll booths (OK, only a couple of minutes but with slowing down, sometimes queuing and then getting back to speed again it is noticeable, especially when you are up against a deadline. Cost wise it is much cheaper as there are no tolls to pay and gas in Luxembourg must be about 20% cheaper.

I actually now though drive Basel to Strasbourg then follow signs for Metz then to Luxembourg, there are 2 toll stops, total about 12 €. I did it 3 weeks ago and it took me just under 7 hours in a van including a 30 minute stop in Lux for gas (although this was at night).

After leaving Lux towards Brussels, your TomTom will suggest that you turn off at Nemur but the route to Brussels and round the ring road is only 10km or so further and the road is much nicer. Just avoid Brussels in the rush hour.

The Brussels drivers are pretty crazy round their ring road, I've never seen any rubbish on the motorways but the crash barriers are pretty bent up, it seems that after an accident they don't repair them for a year or more.

Re the tunnel, I have always booked the cheapest ticket I can get some hours after I hope to arrive. I have always been put on an earlier train for no extra charge.

Anyway, it doesn't look like the OP will be back anyway
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  #48  
Old 24.06.2011, 13:59
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Re: driving to UK from Switzerland - one person may come with us

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Ah I get it now. It's you that's driving erratically and not all the others.
You should be ashamed of yourself typing and driving at the same time
What is it about you that makes me say all the wrong things? I meant that I was about to start driving... so lets recap considering there are more posters experiences about driving in Bel.. mmm, no, changed my mind..
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