A long and lonely drive home

van Zuijlekom, Flickr

Alan, a Languedoc Living reader, wrote to us with his experience of returning home from a lockdown experience in Spain, back to his home in Occitanie. Readers may be surprised about the lack of attention at the Spanish/French border.

Here is our experience of driving back from Spain on 31 March.  First of all we tried to follow the strict guidelines set out by both the Spanish and French governments. Our initial problem was that our apartment in Spain had a reception area where normally we would have been able to print off the initial Attestation that the French released.  However, the reception area was closed down and the staff, unfortunately, lost their jobs. So we were unable to print off any subsequent Attestations.

So we wrote out our reasons for travelling, date, name, address etc ready for re entry into France.

However for the Spanish leg we were told that two persons were not allowed to travel together unless it was essential, which it obviously was, and unless one drove and the other sat in the back seat. Both of us had to wear a mask and gloves all through Spain.  (I can confirm that wearing a mask for 12 hours straight in Spain was very uncomfortable!)

Anyway, we set off at 5.30am, we passed several police cars travelling in the opposite direction, but we didn’t encounter one block or police vehicle heading north. We passed many other foreign cars, mainly German with two occupants, heading in the same direction, but nobody was following the guidelines on wearing a mask and sitting apart. So does this explain why Spain is suffering so badly with this virus, checks are not being carried out…?

Having said that, we expected to be stopped at the border by either police or doanes coming into France, but again we sailed home, about two hours from the border, without being stopped.

We stuck our Attestations on the inside of the rear seat windows so that any officer could read them without either of us having to touch them.

So all in all it was a trouble free experience.  A total of 14 hours drive without any hitch.

The roads were lovely and clear and I wish I had a Euro for every lorry we passed. The Spanish were displaying messages on the overhead gantries on the motorways, thanking the lorries drivers for keeping the supplies of food etc going and for any emergency staff traveling. A nice touch.

Has anyone else had a similar experience trying to get home to France recently?