Vale the Nissan Serena
Cherbourg Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
IN the morning we find the owners of the caravan park and pay our dues before heading into Nantes. Take the Nissan with the new noise to a large workshop where they specialise in exhausts. One of the mechanics has very good english and the van is put on a hoist and checked. He gravely comes looking for us and tells us that it is not the exhaust system, it is the engine and it is very, very bad news and we should go to the Nissan dealer to get the story! They give us directions and with a sense of foreboding, we drive over.
Not much english spoken here but they check it out and with the help of my dictionary, we learn that it is the timing belt. We ask for a quote and he duly goes off and does one. The guy finds a woman in the accounts office who has good english and she comes over to translate for us. She asks if we have vehicle protection insurance and we tell her , "No". A new motor will cost us 8,600 euros!! Now the van cost us 1,900 UK pounds and it is not economically viable. We decide to head back to the UK where we could see about the possibility of getting a second hand motor and Andrew asks if he thinks it is OK to make a dash for Cherboug. He looks very concerned and advises us to take it very easy as the timing chain could snap at any time. The woman suddenly realises that we are from Australia not England and they are now really upset for us. Perhaps they wouldn't have cared if we were English?! We thank them and in our muddy boots (from the rescue of the bogged van the night before) walk across the newly washed show room floor apologising to the cleaner as she watches us.
We do make it to Cherbourg by late afternoon with the noise rattling away and find a ferry to Portsmouth. It was wonderful to steam up the harbour with Gosport on one side and Portsmouth on the other and a couple of locals tell me all about the new landmarks like the Spinnaker building. Built for the millenium but missing out on the date by a couple of years. Once off the ferry we fuel up and a policeman doing the same gives us directions to a caravan park in Gosport. These places are all my old stomping grounds and I am really back to the place of my birth!