Read about the first part of our trip and campsite review here
The trip home
So after 10 nights of sun, fun and relaxation, it was time to make the trek back to Roscoff. We decided to do the trip back over two nights so stopped in Lyon on night one and Tours on night two. In hindsight, this wasn’t the best idea we’d ever had.
We arrived in Lyon during rush hour traffic and it took two hours to reach our hotel, the Novotel. The hotel itself was very pleasant and very child-friendly. The reception staff gave the kids little toys on arrival, the rooms are very spacious and the beds are probably the most comfortable I’ve ever slept on. We ate in the hotel restaurant which was very reasonably priced and had a great kids menu. There was also a small kids playroom in the reception area.
So on our last full day in France we drove to Tours and as we drove North the blue skies grew grey and it wasn’t long before we were sitting in traffic in the torrential rain, all the way the Hotel Mercure. This is a small business hotel in a quiet area of Tours, there’s not much to it and nothing much to look at as it’s located beside the motorway.
The room was small, the beds weren’t as comfortable as the Novotel and there was a small outdoor pool that was unusable as a result of the rain. So we didn’t venture further than the local KFC for dinner on our final night and decided to have an early night rent a movie in the room instead.
What are we missing?
We were up early for the last leg of the return trip to Roscoff. Google maps estimated 4.5 hours driving time and the ferry was due to depart at 4 pm so we set off relaxed in the knowledge that we had plenty of time to get to the port. After three hours of driving, we decided to grab some lunch at a nice Italian restaurant and enjoyed the last of the summer sunshine. Then it was into the car, onto the motorway and about twenty minutes later I decided to gather all the travel documents.
“Where are the passports?” I asked my husband, confused as I looked into the glove compartment. I wasn’t too worried as I knew I had put them there the night before and my immediate thought was he had moved them into my bag. The look of fear on his face was immediate.
“Oh no…” he replied. “I put them into the hotel room safe last night.” I mentally re-traced leaving the room, packing the kids bags, checking under the duvet cover, under the beds, the bathroom, one last sweep of the room before declaring “All clear, let’s go.” No, no safe. I didn’t even know where the safe was. Panic set in.
At that stage it was approximately a two-hour journey to the ferry and three hours until it sailed, it was a three-hour journey back to the hotel. We pulled off the motorway and frantically tried to figure out a solution. First off, we rang the hotel and tried to determine if we definitely left them there…..yep, confirmed! Next, we rang Brittany Ferries and explained the situation, a very nice lady told us if we could get to the hotel to photocopy the passports and fax them to them this might be all they need. They needed to confirm with Irish immigration first and would ring us back. So back on to the hotel, they said they would photocopy the passports and fax to Brittany Ferries for us.
We get back on the motorway to Roscoff waiting anxiously for Brittany Ferries to phone back. I googled alternative sailings just in case, not another one to Ireland for a week. Brittany Ferries then rang to confirm Irish immigration will accept our photocopied passports. Phew!
One hour away from Roscoff and traffic comes to a standstill. We listen to the French radio station and don’t understand anything other than there’s some sort of accident. We notice other drivers doing a U-turn and driving the wrong way up a slip-road. We decide to follow them and find a back road around the motorway.
Finally arrive in Roscoff, everyone is stressed and cranky and after eventually finding the lady we were speaking to they let us on the ferry. Turns out it’s delayed anyway as the Captain waits for those stuck in traffic.
A surprise ending
The relief of actually getting onto the ferry quickly eroded, the crossing was rocky as the Captain made up lost time at full speed. I spent most of the time lying down in the cabin swearing that I would never, ever, EVER get on another ferry ever again. The sea-bands were useless. Fifteen hours later the ship finally docked and I still felt sick. Four hours later, home and unpacked my head was still spinning.
Maybe it’s morning sickness Niall joked. One hour and two pregnancy tests later…..maybe it was! Perhaps the title for this post should have been ‘Our lovely summer holiday and a surprise ending!’