Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

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BENIDORM
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Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby BENIDORM » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:28 pm

An extract from my travelogue...

We travelled South through the night, our destination...Portsmouth for passage to Bilbao aboard the Brittany Ferry 'Cap Finistere'.
We don't normally travel during such unearthly hours, it wasn't really planned, it just happened...
I have to say though that it was a real pleasure to travel on deserted highways , accompanied only by the occasional Romanian or Portugese juggernaught...
The M25 around London was silent except for a few late night revellers making their way home and a few white van couriers and the occasional wagon.
The road from London to Portsmouth was also very quiet, in fact I think we saw more foxes than humans....
We arrived in Portsmouth during that strange time between sleeping and awakening,everywhere the streets where brightly lit, but it was eerie, almost like the end of the world had happened , but somehow missed us...
We drove around for awhile , reminiscing about the places that we remembered 40 plus years ago, when we were so young....
A memorable place we passed was where the Gas showrooms had once stood, it was the place where I proposed to my wife...I know ...I am so romantic..aren't I ?.....
Then we arrived at the ferry port and we parked at the check-in booth, alone but shortly joined by a lady travelling to Portugal..
It seemed an age before a bleary eyed young man arrived at the check-in,and then we waited another age on the car park before being summoned through the security check-in to queue again near the loading ramp of the ferry...
I left my vehicle engine running, expecting to board the ferry shortly...not so...
Two fluorescent jacket clad Frenchmen pranced up and down in front of us, picking suitable vehicles to board , they had the waiting drivers mesmerised into submission, we were at their mercy.
I tried , in vain, to catch the eye of our captors,but after twenty minutes I turned off my ignition, twenty seconds later I was beckoned to move my vehicle towards the ramp..
It was almost like being given the right to board the last helicopter leaving Vietnam...with tyres screeching I drove my vehicle at great speed towards the loading ramp ,pausing only to salute the Captain who was surveying the loading proceedure, he sprang to attention, returning my salute , then grinned at me....
Once in the hold I was skilfully guided to my parking area by men in boilersuits, and as we left the vehicle we were greeted by a tall Frenchman dressed in an immaculate suit and sporting a black bowtie,he guided us to the lift and wished us a pleasant voyage...
On arriving at our cabin, we decided that we were very tired and a 30 minutes rest on our bunks would be a good idea...
Nearly four hours later we were rudely awakened by a message arriving on my mobile phone, I fumbled in the dark to read it..
It read...''Welcome to Iceland''...Flippin 'eck I thought.. panic set in, had we boarded the wrong ferry ?..
Or had our ship been captured by Icelandic pirates, who had at this very minute tied our gallant Captain to his swivel chair, and were about to pistol whip him ?
Were we now approaching Iceland where we would be held for ransom ?
The thought of having to spend months watching old geysers perform sent shivers down my spine....
The mind Boggles.!
Then after a few rational moments of thinking, I realised that somehow my phone had just connected to the Icelandic telecom service, and all was well...
We decided to continue with our rest, and two hours later we made ourselves presentable and ventured out to the 'Planets Bar', where we enjoyed a well deserved beer...
Then after a few quick strolls around the upper deck drinking in the fresh sea air, we decided to retire to our cabin..
After reading for a short while we decided that we were still tired, so we took to our bunks ..
Eight hours later we awoke ...blimey that's the best sleep I've had in years, it was a very smooth and quiet voyage...
Our cabin was on deck 8, with a large window, which should have given us a good view of the ocean, however right in front was a large lifeboat, and our view was of the bottom keel of the lifeboat, I am now an expert on lifeboat keels, if I ever get on Mastermind my chosen subject will have to be lifeboat keels...
However I found that if I lay flat on my bunk and propped up my chin with two paperbacks, I then had a perfect panoramic view of the sea, but it was a bit like looking through the viewing slit of a World War Two concrete bunker...
I lay staring at the fluffy white capped waves and spotted a whale , 7 dolphins, 3,689 seabirds and 2 mermaids...I didn't real spot a whale , I just made that up ...
On time we arrived at Bilbao, a little strange as my original booking was for Santander, I wondered if Brittany Ferries had been taken over by Correos, Espana....
But all-in-all , it was a very pleasant and restful voyage...unlike some trips that we have been on...

Regards,
Gordon

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Julie
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby Julie » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:35 pm

Great read and so well written as always , I enjoy reading your posts !
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby masterob » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:33 am

Gordon, curiosity has got the better of me so I have to ask, did you not eat throughout that journey? You mention a beer but nowt else! A sandwich maybe? :shock:
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby JAWG » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:14 am

In some places a beer is known as a barley sandwich !
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby BENIDORM » Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:42 am

Julie,
Thank you for your gracious comments,and as long as I know that at least one person finds my posts interesting, then I will continue to post my travel ramblings...

Masterob,
Well I was rather embarassed to describe the culinary delights that we dined on during our journey... :oops:
As usual my thoughtful wife had prepared many mouth-watering mini-meals for our journey,each one in a labelled container, ie ''Journey down'', ''Portsmouth Ferry Port'', '' On board Lunch '' etc...
So we dined in our cabin with the help of our 1940's style wicker hamper,we draped a white Victorian lace tablecloth over the small table, silver cutlery and crystal glasses were laid in correct style...
We had starters of Tesco beef spread on cripsbreads followed by a main course of Sweet and Sour Pot Noodles and finishing with an excellent mince pie for dessert, purchased the day before from M & S's reduced price counter...
And of course we quaffed a vintage vino tinto , decanted from a Lidl 50 something cents carton...
So now you can see why I didn't mention our meals ... :lol:
We have dined many times on board the ferries, everything from cafeteria meals to sitting at the ''Captains Table''...very expensive !...but now as ''pensionistas'' we are a little more careful with our pennies.....

Jawg...''Barley sandwich''...I like that description, I've always known it as a liquid lunch..... :wink:

Regards,
Gordon...
Last edited by BENIDORM on Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby peteroldracer » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:25 am

BENIDORM wrote: where the Gas showrooms had once stood, it was the place where I proposed to my wife
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
It read...''Welcome to Iceland''
I get this as I approach Fuengirola...
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby masterob » Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:28 am

I couldn't imagine doing that whole journey with nothing more than a beer! Your wife's food preparations sound excellent and a lot better than the stuff they sell in that food shop on the Cap Finistere. I sailed to Portsmouth in her last September and thought the ship was just adequate, the Pont Avant which we sailed back in, is bigger and much better. I still missed the Pride of Bilbao though.

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby gus-lopez » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:43 pm

I enjoyed reading that. On my travels I can never remember anything that happens afterwards.
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby BENIDORM » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:48 pm

Gus,
Glad to hear that you enjoyed that...

I can remember what my first school dinner was when I was Five....But can't remember what I had for breakfast today... :lol:

Regards,
Albert....I mean Gordon ...Don't I..?... :?

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby BENIDORM » Mon Nov 29, 2010 3:55 pm

Masterob,
If you liked our onboard menu perhaps I should invite you to Sunday lunch....we are having Beef and Onion Pot Noodles next Sunday... :lol:

We also sort of miss the Pride of Bilbao, we'd been on it so many times we knew all the answers to the quizzes, it got a bit embarrassing winning everytime... :wink:

We have been on most of the Brittany ferries and they have all been adequate, but some are better than others, as you say...

Regards,
Gordon....

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby Enrique » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:54 pm

Hi,
Nice post Beni...........can't follow that so will stick to the facts......... :)

Arrived in Portsmouth with one hour to ferry sailing........handed in the Passports.........." when did you last get the Microchips read" ........"when I can in"......"ok off you go".......drove from one man to the next and was on the ferry within 5 minutes and in the cabin.
After a calm crossing arrived in Santander 24 hrs later......... a great pizza on Deck 10 for supper, and a full English in the restaurant for breakfast it was time to hit the A-67, A-62 , A-6 , AP-6 , M-50 ,R-4 and stop just south of Madrid 340 miles later. First time I've tried this route as I wanted to miss the major road works south of Burgos.
The promised garage where I could keep the dogs turned out to be a fenced compound, so they(the dogs) drew lots to see who was going to sleep in the room at 22€ ........funny OH 's JR won and the two Huskies had a night in the van.
The recommended dog friendly Hostel Santa Ana turned up at 112Km and was really there.........Google street view had shown a derelict building :thumbdown: ......so we will know for next time .
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby BENIDORM » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:09 pm

Enrique,
Interesting route and good info., especially about taking dogs.

There always seems to be plenty of passengers with dogs, how far ahead are you having to book to get on-board kenneling for them.?

We always go up and watch the dog owners exercising their pets, the dogs always seem quite happy.. :)

Regards,
Gordon

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby Enrique » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:22 pm

Hi BENIDORM,
Bookings for dogs can be bit of a lottery depending on which Ferry boat you're travelling on.

The Cap Finistère has only 4 large and 8 small kennels, there are also currently 4 PET friendly cabins......soon to be 16 in the new year.
I booked 25-Oct for 26-Nov service.

All the info is on the Brittany-Ferries site.............

http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/index ... cleid=2765

My dogs are crate trained so just chill out .......had numerous people comment on how well behaved they are in the kennels. 8)
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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby BENIDORM » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:56 pm

Re Dogs on the Brittany Ferries....Thanks for that Enrique, I will pass on the info...

Someone asked me if I had made up the message on my mobile from Iceland....but no it really happened, has anyone else experienced this with their phones, on this route ?...

Regards,
Gordon....

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby janda_grant2 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:45 pm

BENIDORM wrote:where the Gas showrooms had once stood,
Were they in North End - if so know the place well!
I can spell but I can't type

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby BENIDORM » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:11 am

Janda...
I believe that is correct ...North End...I didn't propose to you there as well did I ?.. :lol:

Regards,
Gordon...

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Re: Brittany Ferries.Santander/Bilbao

Postby janda_grant2 » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:21 am

Benidorm, sadly no. But I did have the misfortune to live in North end (I hated Portsmouth with a passion - for me hell on earth!) but haven't been back there for over 25 years, but I do remember the gas show rooms, bought a cooker there once!
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