• Tarnie

The ferry

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

Portsmouth to Bilbao - 19th -21st January 2020

As we boarded the ship, my initial thought was that the smell was something that was going to induce any seasickness I was already concerned about. Our cabin was towards the stern so back of the ship, this also seemed to be directly below where they housed the dogs. Luckily as we made our way a few meters down the corridor away from the stairwell the smell did not follow. The hallway wasn't an overly exciting place, they were defiantly going for that of a cheap motel look, and boy they nailed it. The room was functional, housing bunk beds and a wet room it wasn't going to win any decorating awards but it would do the trick.

Excited to explore our new surroundings, we dropped the bags and headed out to deck 7 where all the amenities were found. Although this was the intention it has been a long day and we were both beat, so we ended up having a rager, and one drink at the bar later we turned in for the night.

I woke up with that one eye approach that you use when you think you may be hungover, this time it was to check my stomach was still in the right place for a different reason. Thankfully it was and the night had been calm and seasickness had not shown itself. These ferries seem to have an odd but very specific approach to comfort. On the one hand, they don't want you to be uncomfortable so they make some effort. Take breakfast, for example, there was the nice white table cloths and choice of breakfast, albeit all variations of bacon and eggs. However then there is the second hand, which screams, we are not spending too much money on this, breakfast as an example again, the food is edible but that's about it, so I guess comfort but not an indulgence or even tasty is the aim.

The day didn't drag which surprised me and the highlight of the morning was the coastline into Brest France which was beautiful, dotted with ancient forts and newer military installations. We boarded a new crew and off we went with the ship's entertainment; quoits, quizzes, live music and yes you guessed it bingo!

The MC was brave to start with quoits but with nothing but time everyone soon warmed up. Some were a little too warm, a gentleman and his wife soon struck up a conversation and he knew everything about everything! He wasn't particularly interested in talking to me or his wife for that matter, just Richard, so between many activities for me, Richard was stuck, eventually using the steadfast toilet excuse to escape the musing of someone who apparently knew far more about Australia than either Richard or I. Aside from him, it was an eclectic mix, granted mostly all 60+, but you had you token drunken Brits, the token hippie couple and the couple with the matching tracksuits which spiced things up a little.

It all started to go pear-shaped after lunch when my fear was realized and mother nature decided that it was time for that North Atlantic swell to make an appearance! It flattened both Richard and me and what was a pleasant journey became a bid to never be too far from a toilet or move to fast in any direction.

We stumbled and staggered like drunk teenagers to dinner, hoping some food would help, that wasn't to be. Richards entree came out a moment after he had made a beeline for the outer deck and some fresh air. This was made increasingly harder as our side of the ship was being berated by vicious winds and the doors have been locked. Luckily the entree didn't look that appetizing, to be honest, so it was not a real loss when we both canceled our orders and decided to take refuge back in the cabin. A bottle of Sprite and half a bread roll later and mercifully sleep took over.

Brittany Ferries photo courtesy of Direct Ferries

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