Trip Diary - Africa

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United Kingdom

Finally, we are on our way... I hope...

The latest - 29/11/06 - We should receive our Carnet de Passage on Friday morning, so we should then be able to catch the 8:30am ferry on Saturday... This of course is dependent on other people doing what they say they are going to do... so all could still change...
Finally, our adventure can begin...
Hold-ups, we have had a few... The sale of the practice took 8 months and not 3, then the bank I'd banked with for 18 years refused to grant me a bank guarantee, despite me actually depositing cash to the value of the guarantee with them. So HSBC took 6 weeks to tell me, they weren't going to do it; more time wasted
So I opened an account with Royal Bank of Scotland, and they have treated me like a bank should. I pay them, they do the job, and we are all happy...
The bank guarantee is for our vehicle - as the easiest way, and in some countries the only way, to get in is to use a carnet as a temporary import permit, and this saves on leaving large cash deposits at border posts (and probably never getting them back). We received our carnet from the RAC this morning, and I have booked our ferry from Poole to Cherbourg departing Poole at 8:30am tomorrow morning. I am really looking forward to sailing from my home port - a first. I have always watched the ferry and wondered where the passengers are off to, as I dreamed of being on the boat too...

We are all very excited, and are packing madly. The house stuff is going into the outside room and the trip stuff is in boxes in the living room.. What a mess!!!

So our planned route:- is to spend tomorrow (Sat) just beyond Cherbourg, then head east across France on Sunday, and into Italy on Monday... and then on down to the "heal" of Italy, then ferry to Greece from Brindisi...
Cheers for now Graham.

....Lucinda here. With most of the furniture gone now, I'm kneeling at the computer typing this. There has been a huge build up to this trip, with highs and lows along the way. I'm really excited about our departure tomorrow and now that the ferry is booked and paid for, it's motivating us to pack up quickly. I'm hoping the weather will turn for the better once we're across the Channel, as it's really mizzy here, I don't fancy learning the ropes of our trailer, as it were, in the pouring rain.

What I would really like to say most of all though, is a great big THANK YOU to all of our friends here in Poole and in the rest of the UK as well as our families, for all of your prayers and support. This trip is as much for you as it is for us, a break from the norm and a tremendous step into the unknown. Please keep in touch with us by email, we will be so looking forward to hearing from you and we promise to email back. I love you all and will miss you all very much but we will see again soon. xxxxxx

Ashleigh here. I am helping pack up.I'm really looking forward to our trip. I will miss you,and I hope you email us so that I can email back.
Bye for now.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sat 02/12/06: Ferry from Poole to Cherbourg – Routine crossing, Camped not too far from port at Martragny.

I can’t believe we’ve been on the road for almost a week now. It’s been great fun and we all seem to have settled into some sort of routine. Miranda has taken good care of us and Des the trailer has provided us with great comfort along the way.

Our departure from Poole was a mad rush. We had to make the 8.30am ferry on 2nd December. We awoke at 5.30am and frantically packed all our last minute bits, which seemed to amount to a lot. What a Godsend when Phillipa , Graham’s mum, arrived early. We left her with a lot of tidying to do on the house. We said our goodbyes. Seamus suddenly got cold feet, shed a few tears and said that he had changed his mind and didn’t really want to see deserts anyway.

We boarded ‘Barfleur’ and had a fairly uneventful crossing to Cherbourg. Cruising through Poole Harbour was really interesting. It’s usually me looking out across the harbour watching the ferry to France, this time it was me looking back at Poole, wishing all our friends and family there lots of love and best wishes. We were so chuffed to see Phil Harvey at the Chain Ferry sending us off with a hearty wave. And then we were off !!!

The children made a few friends and spent the time charging around the boat. I did my best to keep them under control, but sadly I was blowing green bubbles, feeling sea sick.

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