We didn’t rise particularly early today as we were in no particular rush. We wanted to get the journey to Calais over with pretty quickly so that we could get some lunch and relax before catching our 18.25 crossing from Calais to Dover. The plan then was to stop on the Marine Parade in Dover for the night before heading back ‘home’ on Wednesday morning.
We set off and headed toward Calais, avoiding a few nutter French drivers on the way who didn’t seem to see me as I approached traffic islands. We saw a big shopping centre and thought that that would be a good place to get some cheap wines before we got back into the UK so we pulled off the motorway at the next junction and then totally failed to find the entrance to the massive shopping centre, instead ending up at the entrance to the Eurotunnel. We gave up on that one and got back on the motorway heading for Calais when we saw another large wine warehouse so we pulled off the motorway again and managed this time to get straight there. We had a good browse round and Lorna even tasted some wines before buying them, we ended up over 30 bottles after all of the buy 12 get 6 free offers had been taken into account, at least we won’t be short of wine for a while now.
We had a bite to eat at the McDonalds that was close by and then headed to catch the ferry. We had pre-booked our tickets so all that was needed was to arrive, check in, get Jacks passport checked, get on the ferry and go back to the UK, simple enough but things never seem to go that easily do they. We arrived at the first checkpoint and all of the booking seemed ok, two adults, one dog. Jacks passport and injection information was to be checked at the next checkpoint so we drove up and handed over his passport, all of his injections were fine so then we were handed the scanner to scan his microchip. I scanned his neck and handed the scanner back but there was a problem……..the numbers didn’t match his passport. We rechecked it and again the numbers didn’t match, we were both utterly confused and quite worried at this point and more so when the woman called her supervisor, we had visions of quarrantine enforcement and the like. The check that the vet did the day before was fine so we really couldn’t understand why the numbers wouldn’t match up, most strange.
We pulled up at the supervisors office and were called in by a fairly burly French man who again checked the passport and then scanned Jacks neck, the numbers matched. How very strange! He said that there was no problem and issued our tickets as well as telling us that we could get on the next ferry, the 4.10pm sailing………excellent.
We boarded the ferry and made ourselves comfortable for the crossing, Jack was laid out on his bed looking quite relaxed about the whole affair so we were happy to leave him. Then we left the continent and headed back to the UK.
We arrived back in the UK having already decided to just head back to the Midlands rather than stay at Dover. We arranged our bed for the night at my Mom’s house and made the journey which gave us a total travel distance excluding the ferry of just over 480Km, more driving than we have ever done in one day on our travels.
So, that’s it……..travels done. We went as far south west and as far south as we possibly could in Europe, we have seen places that the ‘normal holidaymaker’ will probably never see, we have visited some amazing place, seen some great sights, had some quite incredible battles with Hewlett Packard and met some incredible people. I think actually that the people we have met have made the experience so much more exciting and entertaining and we hope to catch up with some of them soon. Hopefully we will be in the road again in November when all of the things that we need to sort out in the UK have been sorted. The plan for then is to go through to Portugal and spend the UK Winter months there, moving about less and spending more time taking it easy, then back into France when it’s warmer and have a good look around the eastern side of the country that we have missed out on on this trip.
There is a map of where we went here and I will soon be making another page here listing all of the places that we overnighted with GPS Co-Ordinates and facilities detailed.