To Cork!

Thirteen hour drives are, quite frankly, boring.

We were going from Cereste to Cork, in the Jeep, so that we could collect some of our possessions that are starting to suffer from damp in the converted stable where they are stored.  We briefly entertained the idea of leaving at 4am and doing it all in one day, but we decided instead to leave on Thursday evening, after the LSH had finished work.  This meant I got to see these guys during the day!


Goodbye boys 😦

I took photos with my iPhone along the way, just to break the tedium.   It’s fruit blossom season.  The orchards on the way to Avignon were spectacular.


Small cherry orchard


Cherry orchard with vines in front


Apples or peaches, I’m not sure which


Obligatory long-distance driving junk food stop

The LSH played with my iPhone when he was bored, too.


Eyes on the road, hands at ten to two!

We stopped in St Etienne for the night and were on the road again at 7am.  In hindsight, we could have kept going for another hour or so.  Maybe next time.


Sunrise just after we left St Etienne


Fields of rape in the boring flat bit in the middle of France


Nearly there. Well, only two hours to go.


I loved this sign!

We got there early, about 4.30pm.  Our boat was to leave at 8.30pm, but you’re supposed to be there at 6.30 to allow time to board everyone.  We decided to see if we could check Cookie in ahead of time – dogs must be checked in before you go through the human and vehicle check-in part.

We could indeed.  But there was an issue which I won’t go into.  Let’s just say, if you ever lose your European Pet Passports and get replacements, make sure EVERYTHING is filled in correctly.  We were very glad that we were there with plenty of time to get it sorted out.

Then we went to join the queue for cars and people.  We were taken aback by the level of security checks going on.  We’ve done the crossing from Cherbourg to Rosslare several times now and we’ve never seen such a heavy security presence.  Every single car was stopped and checked.  Trucks and vans were searched.  Is it always like this on the Roscoff to Cork route?  Eventually, we boarded and Cookie was shown to her on-board accommodation.  She was not impressed.

We made our way to our cabin, only to find that the door wouldn’t open.  The crew member who came to help us said that there is a ladder stored behind the door which must have fallen down during the voyage.  It had become wedged against a mirror on the opposite side of the door, blocking the door shut.  He said he’d get it sorted.  Ever hopeful, I said “Or you could give us an upgrade?”  “Well, I might if the boat wasn’t full!” was his reply.  Uh-oh.  What if he didn’t get it sorted?  Would we end up sleeping in a corner on the floor somewhere, like back in our student days?  Suddenly Cookie’s kennel was looking more attractive…

We decided to go have a nice relaxing glass of wine and leave him to the door.

IMG_1505He came looking for us twenty minutes later to say the door was open.  Just as well.  Cookie’s kennel would never have taken all three of us.

I’ve been hearing tales of how wonderful the food on board the Pont Avens is for five years now.  There’s a fabulous self service buffet of starters which you can visit as often as you want, a main course delivered to your table by the staff and then back to the self-service buffet for dessert.  I wasn’t disappointed.  It was all excellent although I exhibited tremendous restraint with the dessert buffet.


Seafood from the starter buffet



My main course, beef fillet


We slept the pure sleep of the innocent, who have taken stugeron and drunk wine.  It never fails.  We got up just as we entered Cork harbour.


Camden fort, near Crosshaven, at the mouth of the harbour 



Apologies for the dirty window.  We were in the restaurant for breakfast.  Which was crap, actually.  A big disappointment after the previous evening’s food.  I just had coffee (to shake off the effects of the stugeron).

Once again, stringent security checks were in place as we disembarked.  Cookie was inspected by a vet – that has NEVER happened before.  Every single car was stopped; every single passport scrutinised carefully.  Had there been a tip-off about something?  Who knows…


Waiting to disembark

Finally we were on the road.  On the left hand side in left-hand drive car.  Very strange.

IMG_3537And Cookie got to snooze in Tansy’s house.IMG_3538


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