Posted by: ankneredelstein | August 28, 2008

The Family’s Ferry From England to France Gets Canceled

Speeding the Ford S-Max away from CDG airport in Paris northwest toward England, circulating among the various peripheral highways around the old city (only getting lost once), I get the first call of the trip on my GSM cell phone. It’s Jennifer describing the situation of having the ferry canceled between England and France, requiring a redirection to a different ferry landing in a different city. “We will need to cancel the hotel in Cherbourg and get something else in Caen…but we don’t have any details yet…stay tuned and just keep driving…” Soooo……I tune into a Paris jazz station on the radio and crank up the air conditioning and keep on truckin’ northwest away from the city.

A few hours later, the phone rings again (excellent cell coverage everywhere…much better than the USA) with news….”We are on a different ferry….landing in the port at Caen…not too far from Cherbourg….we should arrive about 10:30 PM and the Brittany Ferries people have canceled our original hotel reservation and made a new one at the Holiday Inn in Caen…..see you there!

….Onward I drive, luckily finding Caen situated somewhat closer to Paris than the originally planned port at Cherbourg. Navigating the ancient and tightly situated streets of old Caen, I find the tourism office, negotiate my sketchy communication skills in French and English to convince the nice people to give me a map and indicate the location of the hotel and the ferry port. I circle the city a little bit, find the hotel and sure enough…they have our reservation! As at the CDG airport in Paris, I check into the hotel, find the TV and pull up the Olympic coverage on the EuroSport network. Late, after the obligatory hike around the old city blocks of Caen, I find a cafe, order a Leff beer, enjoy a delicious dinner in front of more Olympic action at the bar and await the time to depart and find the family at their port of entry.

I get to the ferry docks at the port of Auhistriem (SP) a little early and find the place packed with holiday travelers from England lined up to return home in their campers, caravans, trailers, minivans and other vehicles packed to the gills with bikes, tents and other gear they brought over at the beginning of their vacations. The ferry terminal has an excellent bar and eatery to keep the travelers happy as they await their ship home. Unfortunately, the winds are high enough to slow the ferry down so it will arrive at least 45 minutes late. As the ferry discharges its travelers into the customs clearance gateway at the port, I wait and wait, but alas…no family. I assume they are the last to leave because of their luggage. Again the cell phone rings and Jennifer’s voice tells me they are indeed coming, but lagging a bit with special assistance from the staffers of the ferry. At nearly 11:30 PM, we are rejoined and the rent-a-racer minivan gets packed with their baggage for the short trip to our hotel in Caen.

The Americans have landed.

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