(Part 1 of our 2018 Motorhome Trip to Germany)
We have arrived safely in France.
Our night crossing from Portsmouth-Caen started badly, mainly due to multiple car alarms not being turned off! PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO DO THIS. However, with the addition of ear plugs and some hot chocolate we managed a fairly reasonable 6 hours sleep.
For those of you who don’t know, I get horribly seasick. (Yes, I live on a boat. Yes, I used to be in the Navy. I don’t understand it either.) The ONLY things I have found which help are sleep & SeaBands – ( click the link here if you suffer too. You can thank me later.) I was incredibly grateful that the rough seas of the previous week had disappeared and the sea was remarkably calm. I’ll take car alarms over a stormy sea any day!
Top things to bring on an overnight ferry:
- Toiletries (you don’t normally need a towel, but don’t expect hotel style bottles of shampoo etc)
- And extra pillow- you generally only get one per bunk. A folded coat works too
- Sea Bands
- Ear plugs
- Change of underwear/ clothes
- Bottle of water unless you want to buy one in the canteen
You can’t go back to your vehicle after you’ve left, so make sure you have all your belongings. On a sidenote, if you’re travelling with dogs, remember to leave them enough food/ water and leave the windows slightly open for air. Here’s some more information on travelling with dogs on a ferry. You normally have to leave your cabin at least 30 minutes before docking so the cleaners can start, but we prefer to go for breakfast about an hour before docking so we can get a table before the rush starts. On Brittany Ferries there is almost ALWAYS a rush in the canteen and you could be queuing for 30 minutes!
After our usual disappointing and unsatisfactory breakfast, we disembarked. Another tip- make sure you’re ready to go down to your car as soon as docking finishes as they are very efficient and start unloading vehicles very quickly. You don’t want to be the one who holds everyone else up! We’d been parked down on deck 3 with the trucks, so we followed the trucks off and around the car park of Caen. Unfortunately, we got ourselves a little confused and followed the trucks through the truck passport gate… oops. The man in the kiosk (which was about 5ft higher than where we were sitting) gave us a stern tut and a disapproving frown, before scanning our passports and letting us pass. His colleague was more irate and shouted ‘non’ loudly out of the window at us- thank goodness he wasn’t in charge of letting us pass or we would have been sent to the back of the queue!
Even when you do sleep on a night crossing, which is hit and miss at the best of times, I always feel groggy the next day. Normally on our trip to our house in France, Mr WB drives the first half while I have a little longer to sleep, and then I drive the last half. But unfortunately in our motorhome I haven’t got my C1 licence yet, so he has to do all of the driving. I felt so guilty that I didn’t sleep at all for the entire 5 hour journey south!
We had to swing past our house a)- to check on it, b)- get any mail and c)- to take delivery of our furniture which had been shipped from the UK after we moved back onboard our boat. It was a pleasant surprise to arrive and see a couple of tulips in the garden- impressive since we have done absolutely nothing to the land at all… that’s a job for several years time after we finish travelling so much.
So now we have 24 hours to clean, de-fly (seriously, flies get EVERYWHERE at this time of year), organise new furniture and enjoy a glass of wine and some sunshine!!
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