· On the train to Caen, Normandy, Northern France· GMT +1:00 hourAll aboard
So the day of our departure (yesterday) finally arrived and we were diligently dropped at the Rosslare ferry terminal by my parents (thanks again folks). It was a typical Irish winter's day... in the middle of summer - it was dull, overcast and very wet. Once Meg managed to get used to the extra 20kg of luggage on her back, and we had managed to walk the seemingly never ending gangway to the ferry, we were soon
settling into our cosy en-suite cabin. Finding it wasn't too much trouble, but finding space to do much of anything in it was. It was not much bigger than the bunk beds that occupied it, the top one of which did an amicable job of housing our bags for the 18 hour trip to Cherbourg in north-western France (the cabin offered a huge contrast to my last ferry overnighter
, when I slept on a mattress in the middle of a huge ballroom dance floor). Small as the cabin was it was private and we were delighted and more than relieved to finally get to it because it marked, and always was going to mark, the end of the madness that has been the past 4 weeks, a 4 week period we won't be forgetting for a long while. The Crossing
The ferry itself, The Normandy, was nice. It was no QE2 mind you (not that I've ever been on the QE2 of course), but nice nonetheless. We spent the afternoon and evening trying to stave off motion sickness. Our approach was to take a power snooze shortly after getting onboard (that was my idea, much to Meg's delight), bouncing along the walls of the ferry's tight cabin hallways (it was a rough crossing folks),
doing our best Jack "I'm the King of the World" & Rose impressions while battling the winds on deck (all in the hopes of getting that Travelpod or Facebook worthy picture) and having a drink in the Molly Malone bar. In there we were entertained by the Normandy Dancers doing their thing (try picture a Riverdance/Greece fusion, all with the requisite multiple wardrobe changes).
While I don't have a high opinion of the usual show-band type entertainment one typically finds on this kind of ferry, I have to say we really enjoyed the show we happened to stumble across, that and the surprisingly reasonable bar prices. Regardless of the entertainment we were quite happy to retire early that night and managed a good 9 hours sleep, helped no doubt by the easing of the waves later that night. Day one proper
Today we were up early, had breakfast and hung out on the ferry for the 2-3 hours that remained of the trip. The weather had improved slightly
from yesterday and today it isn't quite as wet, windy or cold. It still isn't typical summer weather, even for this part of the world, but it is still an improvement on 24 hours ago. We had a small delay getting to Cherbourg port, a delay the captain announced was due to the rough seas causing a backlog in the port itself. Regardless, we found ourselves, bags on backs, disembarking the ferry at 12:30 local time (11:30 GMT, 6:30am in Canada) and making our way through Cherbourg, on foot, to the nearby train station. We got there just in time for the 2pm train, the train you find us on right now and the train that is taking us east to Caen, the provincial capital of Normandy. We'll spend two nights there, the first two nights proper of 'The Honeymoon'.