Tuesday 17th October 2023
After a very comfortable night at the marina just outside the Bilbao docks, “highly recommended”, Christine cooked a breakfast as by the time we board and get settled, lunchtime will have come and gone. We also spent a long time knackering the dogs out.
Our booking includes two cages for TT & R, as we were unable to get a pet friendly cabin but this morning Christine rang Brittany Ferries just on the off chance there was a dog friendly cabin available through cancellation, and “bingo” there was one, Christine was over the moon, but again more money had to change hands!!!!
Arriving at the ferry check in we joined the queue and after about 30-minutes or so of waiting, arrived at the kiosk only to be told we were at the wrong booth. There was a “Pet Specific” lane, so we had to follow the lady from our booth to a special exit. To be fair she was most apologetic and explained that her booth didn’t have the necessary to process pets. Perhaps they will put up a big sign up at the entrance telling pet owners which lane to use!!! Fortunately the new lane was quick so didn’t lose much time in the end, not that that mattered as after being searched for immigrants we were held in another lane for an hour or so👹👹
We eventually drove onboard, we were “tail-end Charlie’s” along with a number of other motor homes. Oh well, looks like we will be last off when we arrive in Portsmouth tomorrow night; just hope they get on with it quickly!!!🤞🤞🤞
We found our pet friendly cabin, much the same as the rest but sparser and isolated with its own passageway leading onto a special deck for exercising dogs sporting several hoses and a supply of “doggie bags”. At the end of this walkway we’re the kennels; so glad made that ‘phone call this morning.
OK first things first. The dogs as well as us were desperate for a shower so after mine Christine went in with “both” dogs!!! Fortunately after all the “pools” they had visited recently, they had no fear of water, they both accepted their “fate” and got on with it. The big issue was trying to dry them before they shook and sprayed everything. Christine did a Stirling job washing them but drying them was a different story, she rubbed them as best she could with a towel before letting them out, but once released into the cabin, they “let rip” and sprayed water everywhere👹👹; still they were clean and smelt better!!!
The rest of the day was taken up walking the dogs as much as possible, visiting duty free, eating and playing crib. Unfortunately we could only get an inside cabin so sitting in it was not an option; still, the afternoon slowly went by and it was dinner time. We’ve done this trip numerous times and could always look forward to and rely on a good meal in the nice restaurant with excellent surroundings, but unfortunately the main restaurant on this ship “Galicia” seems to have been downgraded. Yes the food was nice but the “ambience” has gone; they want you in and out, what a shame.
A good night’s sleep though Christine thought she was “Rocking-n-Rolling” too much for her comfort.
Wednesday 18th October
The dogs aren’t happy, they’re not eating properly and their natural habits have been disrupted still we get off this evening; hang in there TT & R.
We’ve got a long day but can’t relax and have a drink as will be driving later so much the same as yesterday, exercising the dogs, crib and mealtimes.
The sea state was just a force 6 which Christine still found uncomfortable, and there was 22-knot following wind with heavy rain, so couldn’t see anything.
We eventually arrived in Portsmouth, an hour later than planned, sailed past the British navy, “one mine sweeper” and docked, so headed down to the car deck.
Once in the driving seat the “deck-hand” told us to turn round and face the other way, curious we thought, this is a “roll on-roll off”, why turn around? Anyway we did as instructed and realised this was also the way off, and we were in pole position for a quick getaway.😀😃😁
After a few minutes, the barrier went up and we were first off, unbelievable. First to border control but that’s when things slowed down due to the dogs being checked but still it was fairly quick and next we had to drive through the customers channel, this was a worry. Travelling through France we purchased a lot of wine, all for “our own” consumption of course, but a lot. In Spain we also topped up with Soberano and Tio Pepe; we may have had a difficult and slow time getting through if stopped!!! The good news was we sailed straight through and hit the road back to South Petherton.
The drive back was uncomfortable as it rained heavily and there was a rather long diversion on the A303 due to roadworks, but arrived home around 0015hrs.
When will we be out in Rosie again, planning starts soon!!!!
Thank you everyone for making us so welcome, we both thoroughly enjoyed our time in Spain, hopefully see you all some time next year. Christine xx