It’s been 4 years since we visited La Belle France but at last, now that travel is technically possible with what we hope is the worst of Covid-19 behind us, we thought we’d try again.
Our initial plan, such as it is, is to spend the bulk of September down on our friendly dairy sheep farm at Fanjeaux to renew friendships there. We didn’t want to use that bastard P&O company following its sacking of its staff without notice, so we decided to cross the channel from Portsmouth to Caen, technically Ouistreham, on Brittany Ferries. The wetland region of La Brenne formed a handy half way point to break the journey south and spend a couple of relaxing days on a fine camping municipal at Rosnay.
I’d booked an overnight crossing on 31st August, leaving at 21:30 and landing at 06:45 local time. Expectations of longer formalities due to our idiotic Brexit decision made the Caravan Club suggest arriving 3 hours early rather than the usual 90 minutes.
Allowing some slack in a probable journey time of 3 hours to the port – you never know what you might run into on UK roads, especially the jaM25 – we left home at 15:00. As luck would have it our journey went smoothly and we arrived and checked in at 18:00. We repaired to the bar for a G&T and Tanglefoot. They went down well so we just had to have a second round.
There was an hour delay to our sailing; incoming boat not yet here. Jolly dee, now we’re effectively 4 hours early.
Our wait people and car watching was finally over and we boarded. We were actually one of the last to board and went down with the trucks as is normal with caravans.
We’d been given two keys to our 2-bunk cabin and found it fairly easily. What we didn’t find fairly easily were 2 bunks. There was a lower bunk but the upper bunk appeared to be absent. Back in the corridor we found a similarly confused lady who also seemed to be short one bunk. In tandem we found a helpful jeune homme wearing a uniform who, when challenged as to the whereabouts of bunk #2, said something along the lines of, “it’s in ze roof”. “Quoi ?”, we rejoined.
He showed us. There was indeed a closed trap door “in ze roof”, completely flush, which when opened revealed a second bunk. Sorted.
“Due to a staff shortage” the posh restaurant was sadly closed. Instead we settled for two portions of Boeuf Borguinon from the self-service resto washed down with a bottle of red. Both were actually very good.
Well fed and watered, we retired to our full set of bunks for some shuteye.