Thursday, 25 August 2016

Holiday 2016 ~ Crossing Europe - Part 2

Next morning we were up early. That is no wonder if you know my son. He's an early riser and it doesn't matter to him if it's during the week, during the weekend, holiday or bank holiday. His inner clock is set between 5:30 am and 6:00am. If he oversleeps it feels like a miracle, that's why we almost never need a wake up calls. 

Knowing all the troubles we had in the past on the R0 around Brussels, we weren't even that concerned that perhaps this time history would finally not repeat itself. We were heading towards Calais as early as 6am on Sunday morning.

Like in the past, there is only around 17 miles long drive through the Netherlands. The first time we drove to the UK, OH and I argued if we had even crossed the Netherlands. Of course he didn't see the border sign as that time we were late for our ferry crossing and if I tell you that we were from Brussels to Calais in an hour and twenty minutes - you got the picture why. 

It didn't matter that our initial plan was to totally avoid Brussels and take another road, at the end we found ourselves right there on the R0. Only to our surprise (which perhaps wasn't even so much on its place as it was Sunday morning) this time it almost empty. We were around the city in less than half an hour, heading south of the country.

Entering France we knew very well we'd be in the Calais Ferry Port way too soon, but we thought that... well, later.
Half way from the border to Calais, there was a detour where every single car had to leave the motorway, drive through the police line-up and we were allowed to get back on the highway on the other side. We weren't surprised. Not after everything we heard, read and were told was happening in France. But we were able to continue our journey without delays.  

Soon after that we entered the Calais Ferry Port almost four hours too soon. I'd booked our ferry for two pm and we were there already at ten am. After we did all the border procedures, including opening our boot upon request of the UK police we followed the sign where we would be able to check in. 

Of course we were told that we were too early. We were asked if we would like to pay the difference if we wanted to board earlier, but when we learned that the difference was actually the price of a new ferry ticket we declined. After that we had to leave the ferry port to the parking lot right there on the other side of the fence and we waited. 

After trying to read a book and when Loris and OH came back from the Port facilities only to tell me that there is also a P&O office there. Of course they didn't ask if there is any chance to get us across the Channel sooner. 

So, I put down my book (read Kindle) and went back there, negotiating the possibility. I'm proud to say I managed to shorten our waiting for two and a half hours - we were able to board the next ferry for an additional amount - only a quarter of the price which we were quoted before.  

Coming back to the car there wasn't really anything else to do, but repeat all the procedure of border crossing - along with the boot check by the UK border police and there we were - searching for the right path to the waiting line. 

Gosh, the French could mark that a bit clearer... 


  1. Well done on shortening the waiting time on what sounds like a very frustrating time!

    1. Thank you. It was not that frustrating as it was annoying. But believe me, we were all happy to continue our journey.