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!

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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.

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Small cherry orchard

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Cherry orchard with vines in front

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Apples or peaches, I’m not sure which

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Obligatory long-distance driving junk food stop

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

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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.

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Sunrise just after we left St Etienne

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

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Nearly there. Well, only two hours to go.

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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.
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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.

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Seafood from the starter buffet

 

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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.

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

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Cobh

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…

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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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11 thoughts on “To Cork!

  1. OMG that dinner. Worth making the journey for that. We have an overnight ferry to Aberdeen, but I don’t think the meat would look quite that good. The cabins book up really early though and for most of the year a cabin is well worth the money (think Irish Sea in winter levels of rolling and pitching).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so intrigued by all of this. So how long were you on the boat/ferry/barge? What in the world is rape? (Kind of a shocking name.) Did you order an ice cream cone from McDonalds? I barely ever go there, but once in a while. . . I just have to have simple soft serve vanilla cone (or their hot fudge sundae).

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pont Avens is the Brittany Ferries’ flagship, so it’s almost as nice as a small cruise liner. That crossing (straight into Cork) is 14 hours. The alternative is an 18 hour crossing with a 3 hour drive to get to Cork, so although it’s a slightly longer drive (2 hours) on the French side, it’s worth it.
      I don’t like McDonalds ice cream, it tastes too synthetic. I crave chicken mcnuggets every so often. They were the only thing I could eat when I was pregnant!
      Funny, I knew the word rape in this sense long before I learned the other meaning. I think you guys call it canola? It’s used to make cooking oil, anyway. It’s also a major allergen to humans and horses when the flowers are out.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I had the same geographical questions. Susan: if you Google Cork Pont Avens map, you can see that they went from the upper left corner of France to the lower right corner of Ireland. I had no idea so much water was involved.

      Liked by 1 person

    • @RS I was telling an English friend that this particular crossing was ‘only’ 14 hours. She thought it was hilarious. The longer England/France crossings are 4 or 5 hours as opposed to a little over an hour at Dover/Calais.

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    • Chances are they’re apples but there are a lot of peaches come from that area too.
      We were messing around! I had just done the Pantene head shake and said I was worth it (mixing my advertising campaigns) which was why I was laughing so.

      Like

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