This evening, we set off to spend what we hoped would be a relaxing weekend in France. We weren't travelling far into France, but had booked to stay in an apartment on the outskirts of Boulogne. There were two main reasons for the trip, one was to try out our puppy's Pet Passport and see how it worked in practice and the other was to do a big Christmas shop for wine and other items at the wonderful hypermarket near Boulogne that we have visited in the past.
The day started with OH taking the puppy to the vet to get a worming treatment, required for travel, or rather for return to the UK after our trip. This went smoothly. Whilst they were out I took the opportunity to clean the kitchen and mop the floors without the dog attacking the sweeping brush, mop, etc. I then spent the rest of the day packing, organising currency and tying up loose ends.
We eventually got away at about 4.15 pm to catch the Eurotunnel train with ourselves, the dog and the corresponding luggage all safely packed into the car. We hit traffic 10 minutes later and took 45 minutes to get out of London itself and en route. By now we were thinking we were going to miss the train and starting to worry. In spite of an urgent petrol/toilet stop we did finally make it with minutes to spare. We then got pulled over for a security check, before finally boarding the train.
The journey across the Channel was simple. No problems to report. Once on the other side of the Channel we stopped off to get a few bits for breakfast from a service station. It took us all of 15-20 minutes to reach our destination once in France.
We had been told that because we were arriving late, the key would be left under the carpet outside the apartment. This may sound simple and straightforward, but when there is no number on the apartment, no carpet outside it when you think you've found the right one and more seriously, no key and it is 9.45 pm and you are in a foreign country with a child and a dog and no emergency contact number, you soon realise that you are in a bit of a pickle.
I think I tempted fate when I said to OH on the way, that I always feel relaxed when in we're in France. On this particular occasion I had to literally eat those words. Short of breaking into the apartment we thought was ours, we had no option but to move on and try to find somewhere else to stay for the night and return the next day.
An hour later, we were gratefully checked in to the Hotel La Matelot in Boulogne. It is directly opposite Nausicaa, the Aquarium. It genuinely was the first hotel we tried and a very nice one at that. We felt incredibly lucky, not to mention relieved to have found alternative accommodation in our situation. It wasn't cheap, however, but at 10pm on a Friday night with nowhere to sleep, we didn't really care. Here's a few photos:
the put-me-up they kindly put up for Little Bird.
Even the dog felt a bit more relaxed on her first adventure abroad. Here she is lounging on her new travel quilt made by me this week.
OH took her for a walk on the beach whilst Little Bird and I settled into our room. OH and I later got ourselves a stiff drink from the bar. We needed it to relieve the stress. We now just have to face the perpetrators of this horrendous cock up tomorrow. Wish us luck.