And so we’re back AGAIN! (Part 2)

So, let’s recap from last time. We left off at the “lovely” motel near Dole where the men slept or died silently, the kids feared the bedtime monsters, the dogs did whatever they needed that we wont talk about and the local mobsters hid in the shadows ready to steal our manky pants

All caught up? then I shall begin:

Breakfast bought more hilarity, mainly because the mother in law and I escaped while the men folk feared movement in their beds. I wont say that it was a lovely affair because the breakfast nook, (honestly, my downstairs toilet was more spacious and I used to hit my bum on each wall of that getting into it) was rammed full of tourists, getting ready to start their day. Some even bought their dogs to join the fun and sniff your plates as they walked past.

Admit it who doesn’t want the spit of a dog that’s licked it’s own genitals on your croissant in a morning?

We sat there and managed to watch one woman stash her next weeks food requirements “discreetly” into her back pack. In all honesty I think the only thing she didn’t stash was her morning Coffee. She has clearly not realised you can get flasks to hold such liquids.

After establishing that Grandad had survived the night, we packed up, checked all luggage was in tact and argued with the staff at the hotel after one child needed a drink from the drinks machine. Turns out it’s very bad as they’ve been cleaning it for a whole hour. (I resisted typing that in the style of an angry French accent to avoid any racial repercussions. I’m still going to face them though aren’t I for merely typing that I was thinking that?) Oh heck, should have just done it!

Anyway, off to Lidl we went to purchase snacks for the day. French food from the German shop that resembled English food as closely as possible! I think we managed it nicely. Guiding the Mother in Law around the Sandwiches to avoid anything funny like “Thon”. Jambon et Fromage it is then!

Other than realising we had to go back to the Motel we’d just argued our way out of to pick up the tablet and snack bag child 1 had forgotten (Thanks Dave, bet you wish you hadn’t chosen a quiet car now?), we had a lovely journey. Well lovely up until you reached Mt. Blanc.

Dave has a phobia of toll booths ever since we got to one during our previous return trip from Sicily, had 6 credit cards refused (Not due to lack of funds I should add) and realised we didn’t have any cash on us. So, when he realised we’d have to pay an extortionate amount to go through a long tunnel and that avoiding it would have added too much time to our already tight schedule, and he didn’t have any cash on him – panic set in.

Not helped by the long traffic jam we hit going into a tunnel. Further not helped by the parents and I joking that the hold up was probably caused by some Eejit without sufficient credit and no cash on his person! Evil I know but we still needed to teach him a life lesson for choosing a quiet life!

With the entrance to the tunnel in sight, my trusty Audi decided it wanted to have a rest. Just a little one it soon started again.

Then, once in the tunnel, said Audi decided that it wanted to glide through without any power. But only occasionally. I think it liked feeling the panic extend through my body to my feet every time it did so. I think it was Karma coming back to bite me on my engine for teasing the husband.

As some of you may know, in Mt. Blanc tunnel – you don’t have a phone or GPS signal. The kids, pukey dog and I were alone. Completely alone. As Dave would say, we’ve gone dark. Well, other than the stream of traffic that was behind me lighting my way to remind me of how much traffic there was that I would be holding up.

Once again, the party had got separated. At the exit of the tunnel, Dave had waited for me and we joined up with me shouting across the poxy wanky tanky, “My car keeps dying”

We pulled over. The parents, despite us telling them we had pulled over, sailed past, completely oblivious to the Audi with it’s bonnet up and the Smart car in front, two lost looking English people looking blankly at an engine without a clue what they were actually doing.

Figuring that the best thing to do would be to take it easy and see how things were, we set off again. As we drove off at a steady pace, I remembered where I’d put my sandwich, just it time to watch it fly off the bonnet and back up the road behind me. It took the last piece of my sanity with it. Or so I thought!!!

We met up with the parents after a short distance and off we went. All of the journey up until Genoa then was perfect. My Sanity returned. The kids only tried to kill each other a couple of times and the Pukey dog held on to it’s stomach contents nicely.

Then Genoa. After driving in circles around the same streets a couple of times. We found the port, the correct entrance and went through without a hitch. Well Dave and I did. All we saw in our rear view mirrors as we drove off was the parents being pulled to the side, never to be seen again. (That’s a little dramatic, I mean we saw them again about an hour and a half later as they were loaded on prior to the boat departing). They took the little sanity we had regained with them.

Turns out that when we book a van on with GNV, you can have different types of van. A van with seats is different to a van without seats. They didn’t have seats therefore they weren’t a van. They were a commercial vehicle. Lord, give me some Italian logic!

Whilst waiting for the parents to sort their drama out, we had time to decide we didn’t like the dog smelling inside cabin we had been assigned. Dave came over all peculiar, I needed to step into action. And what do I do best, UPGRADE! I managed to obtain, with the help of ship staff, the dogs a lovely cage together in the doggy quarters and bag ourselves a free room upgrade to the biggest cabin ever with a nice window out to the sea. The vast emptiness that is the ocean I’m so afraid of!

The ship was nice, and once the parents were safely on board, we settled down to the 20 hour sailing that lay ahead. We hadn’t eaten in some hours and managed to find one small bar open. You see our sailing wasn’t until 11pm. Restaurants are only open for a brief time after you board. I didn’t care, the kids enjoyed the hottest slice of manky cruise Pizza ever and full sugar coke. I was more worried about the Celine Dions Song from Titanic that was playing on continuous loop in my head and the need to shout “I’ll never let go Jack, I’ll never let go!”

Did I mention that I hate boats and ships and sailing and bridges and anything to do with the ocean or water and being on or above it? Nope, well I do!

We soon settled down to sleep, the Parents in their little box cabin as it was all that was left and us selfishly in our grand Ocean view room. The kids were smacked off their boobies with Coke and Pizza. Dave couldn’t stay awake and life was good. We would be on Sicilian soil this time tomorrow. Nothing more could go wrong, could it….

And so, I shall leave it here. Day 2 of our trip is drawing to a close and oddly enough we didn’t have to worry about any thieves attempting to steal those manky pants. The kids felt the Bogey man didn’t like sailing so that was good and the rocking of the boat meant Dave slept naturally on his side with his Snoring pipe not needing clearing.

The dogs were in their luxury accommodation with the howling Husky to keep them company.

And so, I bid thee all Ciao for now peeps.

See you next time for part 3.

And so we’re back, AGAIN!

I know I haven’t posted anything in such a long time, the reason being, life was just a little crazy. I mean, when you keep moving across Europe how can life not be crazy!

Having taken the decision to drive over again due to there being two dogs this time as well as the Husband and I, the planning is just crazy. Not only that but Dave’s Mum and Dad offered to help move some of the urgent bits over to help us out. So lets just recap all of those travelling:

4 Adults
2 Children
2 Dogs
3 Vehicles (Dave decided he needed to purchase the smallest vehicle on the planet when he discovered all that needed to be done to move. This way he got the trip to himself)

(Just as a side note, this isn’t Dave’s car)

Both Dave and I changed our cars, I had to get one big enough to transport everything but the kitchen sink and as I said earlier, Dave just needed to transport his manly self. Both cars were battle ready and not the shiniest beasts. Both bought to withstand Sicilian driving styles and Dave’s reversing skills.

I hope you’re getting a feel for the enormity of the trip ahead.

When it came down to it, the trip didn’t fail setting off our anxiety levels.

If you remember when we returned from Sicily, I underestimated the size of the Mini, well it seems we wildly underestimated the size of Daves Dad’s van. We had to leave a few boxes behind, Dave had to cram his small car so full and have one dog, I had to have our suitcases in the boot along with anything else I could as well as have the two Raptors and 1 dog.

The one dog travelling in the front seat of my car hadn’t traveled 10 minutes before it decided to unload all of yesterdays meals over the items shoved tightly into the front foot-well of my car. 1 Child in back then screaming at how unsanitary the car now was. The other hating the journey. I didn’t like to tell him we had another 9 hours travelling ahead of us that day!

The rest of the journey to Dover was fine. Other than Customs needing to inspect the van. It was Ok though. Dave’s Dad gave the customs officer a full history of our life leading to this moment and Dave’s job. We’d given him training beforehand on what not to say and I’m pleased to report that not once did he say his son was in the Mafia or that he had Araldite on his person.

Ferry to Calais, also smooth sailing. After this, we kind of got separated. You see, I was loaded on with the first group of cars because I had dogs with me. Dave second because they needed him out of the way and the Parents were somewhere else. It stands to reason then that we came off at different times.

Dave and I met up just off the ferry somehow with him following me because he thought I had more superior Google technology. He was wrong, I followed the car in front and had a tour of the port, bringing us out in completely the wrong place. Google lady telling me off numerous times for not “MAKING A U-TURN”. In the end though we got on our road at just the right time to see the parents go in completely the opposite direction.

Jumping forward though it was all good. Dave had made us all use some walkie talkie app that we had to explain numerous times to the parents on how to use it via a more traditional communication method and we finally met up at some services The convoy was all together at last and Dave could use his never-ending supply of Smokie and the Bandit lines via the Walkie Talkie.

Anyway, to jump forward some several miles we ended up at our little tiny motel. It was OK. One of the dogs didn’t like it and I won’t go into what it did to show it’s dissatisfaction as you may choose to stay at the hotel (Ibis Budget Dole) and be conscious that this is the room that my cuddly fluff ball decided to….

We all had a lovely meal and spent the night worrying about the three vehicles outside being emptied through the night by hardened criminals looking to relieve us of our dirty pants and Dog sick stained documents.

Dave’s Dad thought he was dying in the night from a migraine, the kids thought they were going to be taken by the Bogie monster that lerks in the dark. Dave spent the night clearing his snoring pipe. Leaving the women to keep an eye on their tough men and make sure all was safe.

Thank goodness, we didn’t have an early start the next day. Of which I will tell you more about next time.

And so, I’ll leave it here for now at the end of Day 1 of our travels. It doesn’t get any better.

Thank you for reading this far.

Ciao for now peeps!