A mini vacation (Part one)

16 09 2009

A few weekends back, Frank and I took of the UK for a wedding of a very good college friend Jonathan and his now wife Sarah.  I’ve known Jonathan since the first day of college when he made some smart-ass remark about me playing the flute (no band camp jokes please) and I gave him an evil look.  Since then we’ve remained friends and he still has most of his limbs attached.  

The wedding was wonderful, the trip there was great minus the nasty, skanky ass hotel that we stayed in in Calais.  Yes Erwin I still plan on beating the snot out of you for recommending the hotel.  Here let me give a mini version of the play by play weekend vacay!!

We left on Thursday and unfortunately we didn’t really leave on time.  As we were packing the car up, Stoney bolted out of the house and jumped into the car into the front seat with a look like ” I’m ready to go!”  I felt so bad for taking him out and putting him back in the house, he really does love his car rides.   But before I could turn around, he was back in the car, this time when I went to get him he jumped in to the back seat, then jumped into the front on to the floor and did the wet noodle so I couldn’t pick him up.  Now I would have brought him with us, especially since Frank’s ex mother in law (stupid @#$%$) cancelled on us 3 days before we were suppose to leave.   But Stoney didn’t meet all the requirements to get over the UK border.   So we left him at home and had Michelle watch him.   Soon we were on the road, until we realized that we forgot the suit and my dress for the wedding; so back we go.

OK finally on the road… the weather was pretty crap out and it stayed that way all through the Netherlands (there’s a surprise), but at least a beautiful rainbow showed up just as we were getting close to the Belgium border.

RainbowSo it was a nice treat to see.  We drove straight through to Calais stopping twice, once for food (Had a craving for MacDonald’s) and once for gas.  But eventually after about 4 hours we arrived at the hotel. 

Now I didn’t take any pictures of this lovely sh*thole (don’t let the pretty website fool you), I think I was in shock more than anything.  The first thing that got me was the outside of the hotel, ugh really?  Nasty as.  But the kickers didn’t come until we got to our room… or cell… first off, NO TOILET OR SHOWER IN THE ROOM.  I may sound like a hotel snob when I say I need a shower and a toilet in my room, well ok.. I am then.   I have issues lining up to go pee at 2 am!  So that set me in a right mood right there.  Next, we asked for a NON smoking room and what do we get? MMMMMMmmmmm cuddling down in to a nice smoke smelling mattress when you are pregnant is so lovely!   But lets not forget the fact that the bed looked like it was a cheap version of Ikea put it together yourself crap that was low to the floor and hard as concrete.   But the best part of this great adventure was the security guard’s dog that he kept locked in his car outside our window all night!  Why was this the best part??? Because the damn thing didn’t shut up!  It barked all night long, even after I went downstairs to complain it stopped for oh an hour then started up again.  So besides not being able to breath, can’t get comfortable, and the dog, we had a GREAT night and approximately 1 hour of sleep.   The only bonus was the breakfast that had fresh baguettes.  We tried to complain to the receptionist, but her only reply was that the non smoking rooms were full (no excuse) and that we had to write a letter.  So we are in the letter writing process now. 

driving to the trainSo after leaving the hotel of hell, we started towards the Euro Tunnel to take us to the UK.   We arrived fairly early, almost an hour before our scheduled train, so we headed into the duty free shop to mosey around and waste some time.  Normally I would be game for shopping, but surviving on one hour of sleep just doesn’t agree with me.   Eventually our letter was called and we headed towards customs, goodbye France and not more than 300 feet customs for the UK, hello UK.  So now I have two new stamps in my passport and the baby has already travelled through 4 countries and she’s not even born yet.   We followed the signs to take us to the train and at 8:20 am it really wasn’t that busy.  Once you get to the train you are instructed to turn your lights on and follow the cars in front of you,  after driving through a few cars we got to the end and stopped.  Put the car in first gear, emergency brake on, windows down and enjoy the 30 minute ride to England.  I personally slept.  The ride is quite smooth and after a while you forget you are on a train.  I have to say, I really don’t think I would travel by ferry again to the UK or vice versa.  I enjoyed the ferry travel but this was so much faster! 

Now it was time to drive on the other side of the street!  I have to say, Frank did pretty darn good with this.  He got the hang of it right away; except for one little oopsy in a gas station but heck no one was coming the other way so he got the freebie.   I think the part that helped was that as soon as we exited the train we pretty much ended up on the motorway, so you didn’t have the cars coming at you from the other side of the street at a close proximity.   As for myself I was a bit out of sorts with it for a little while but soon it didn’t bother me either.   We barreled towards Telford,  on the other side of Birmingham.   It was a nice drive and the weather got a little better the further north we went.  We stopped for gas and some treats  at a Welcome Break and I think I acted like a 2 year old when I saw Glamour and Cosmo … IN ENGLISH!!!!   Plus I had to get some Salt and Vinegar chips…mmmmmmmmm…

After a 4 hour drive to Telford and a bit of running around the city since the GPS didn’t know where she was going, we finally arrived at our hotel.   Oh a real hotel!!   I mean with real people and real beds and toilet and shower INSIDE the room!!  Not to mention a great breakfast the next morning that would run from 6 – 11 !!  Not those dumb ass hours from 5-7… really who the hell wants to get up at 5 am to eat breakfast when they are on vacation???    I was able to shower and then take a nap before heading to Wrekin College for the rehearsal at the church.

After the rehearsal, Frank and I went out of Indian at this great restaurant in Wellington.  The Dhaka Tandoori restaurant, had wonderful butter chicken… granted I was too full from eating the appetizers.  But either way it was delicious.  Then after rolling back to the car we decided to just go to the hotel and relax for the night,  since the wedding was the next day and we knew it was going to be a long day. 

This is the short version of the first two days, I’ll continue soon with the wedding details and our day out in Shrewsbury.

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3 responses

16 09 2009
Canucky Woman

The first time Ruud and I went to the UK, we did Eurolines…on the way there, we crossed the channel by ferry (seeing the White Cliffs of Dover for the first time at six in the morning was breathtaking!), and on the way back, did the chunnel. Didn’t like it at all. We got off the bus during the crossing, and walked around the “container” but it was still hot, stuffy and it made me a tad queasy. Much prefer the ferry!

19 09 2009
Kara

A train for cars? Really? Sounds neat!!

23 09 2009
Marisa

The car train sounds so cool, I’ve never heard of that before. Bad hotels, I have so far only stayed in one in all my travels and that was in Toronto many, many years ago. Can’t wait to read the ‘part two’. Thanks for keeping us updated!

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