Day 1 – Brittany Ferries, Portsmouth to Caen

An Early Ferry Crossing

Tuesday 4th August 2020

We had that major holiday feeling getting ready for bed last night. We spent most of the night anticipating the 3.45am alarm. Even though we have that exciting holiday feeling, it’s mixed with nerves and anticipation. My dad pointed out just as we were heading to bed that it must be strange preparing while not knowing when we will be ‘back home’ or even in the UK. There are a few things that will bring us back to the UK over the next 9 months. A Hen Do for myself (though I don’t know exactly where) and a Stag Do for Nathan (I think this is in a certain Eastern European ski resort and he will probably fly from the UK with the guys). Other than these things, who knows when we will return?!

Quality shot of our stupidly early departure

I guess we have been displaced and without a home of our own since the 6th of April. We locked up our rental flat in Chapel Allerton, Leeds for the last time and handed the keys back to the Letting Agent (well posted through the letter box actually as Covid meant they weren’t opening the office). It turned out to be quite a stressful move in the end.  The UK was in full Lockdown and getting all of our belongings out of the flat and either moved into storage, given away or sold became very difficult (another thanks to my parents and sister for their help in moving us out).  Everything was closed including the recycling centres and we had to use quite inventive ways of getting rid of unwanted items.

We have been lucky enough to have very supportive and understanding parents in Doncaster and South Wales who have welcomed us home and put us up during the wait. We have to say we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend quality time with them all during Lockdown. Very rarely do you get time in your life to spend time like this together and it felt very enlightening and therapeutic. I think we did have a little bit of guilt, like many other people did, about feeling enjoyment for the time in Lockdown. I really do believe it is ok to feel like you enjoyed the time, when people have such demanding and busy work and personal lives normally, why not make the most of this pause and quality time with family.

Anyway, we are currently on the Brittany Ferries ship Mont St Michael and an hour away from docking in the port at Caen.  We will drive for another 4 hours to the middle of the West Coast of France (we are aiming for a place called Niort near La Rochelle) and pitch our tent for the night.  So far everything has run rather smoothly.  We made our transport bookings quite late in the day to hopefully avoid any cancellations or disruptions, however it’s quite clear that certain Air Bridges that have been established with the UK will probably be revoked. Spain is already teetering on the edge of another spike that will cause issues for many holiday makers. We don’t plan to return so any new quarantine rules shouldn’t affect us, just crossing the borders and getting to Portugal safely is our priority.

The weather on the outside deck is glorious and the perfect opportunity to start getting used to the warmer climates. The ferry doesn’t feel particularly busy and the use of masks is of course mandatory everywhere except for when seated and eating in the restaurant. We have been supplied with a great selection of snacks and sandwiches by my grandma Jean so we are sorted for the journey.

We did also manage to squeeze a McDonald’s Breakfast in this morning at Portsmouth before checking in for the ferry. It came to a grand total of £4.63 as the Covid economic initiative ‘Eat out to help out’ began yesterday.  A little bit gutted we left the UK just as eating out Monday-Wednesday became very cheap. Not like that has ever stopped us eating out before!

Will check in later hopefully (fingers crossed) from the campsite in Niort.

Until then…

P.s: Packing some shorts for the ferry would have been a good idea. It is very warm!

P.s.s: We have brought a fancy proper Cannon camera with us to hopefully get some great photos of our trip but we must improve our photography skills – pronto!

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