If you read my previous post, you’ll know I was not exactly looking forward to the journey to France. Five hours in the car from Fife to Hull, an overnight ferry crossing, then a three hour drive from Zeebrugge to Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Rivière. With two seven month olds.
While it wasn’t a breeze, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be! Honestly.
We allowed plenty of time for the drive – it’s a five hour journey, but we knew we needed to allow a couple of hours more to give the boys time out of their car seats. I planned ahead and found somewhere we could stop and let them have a wriggle about which wasn’t miles off route.
We also timed our journey so we would be able to get straight on to the ferry when we arrived in Hull as it would be their tea time and I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in a queue with two screaming babies! We were in luck – sort of – most of the screaming happened in the final bit of the drive when they decided enough was enough!
The two things I was most dreading were the logistics of getting eveyone and our belongings out of the car and into the cabin (My husband Dave did two trips, and we were grateful for the lift!) and the sleeping arrangements. When we booked, we were told we couldn’t have two travel cots in the cabin, as they wouldn’t fit, and one of the boys would need to sleep in a bed with a bed rail. Not ideal – both boys move around a lot in their sleep and I didn’t feel comfortable putting one in a bed. We decided to take our pop-up travel cot and chance it would fit but I needn’t have worried. When we got on board, the staff offered us a second cot anyway and both fitted easily into the cabin!*
We’d pre-booked meals in the restaurant but unfortunately it didn’t open until 18:30, which is the boys’ bedtime. Rather than deal with two tired, cranky babies, we decided to put them to bed first and then take it in turns going for dinner, which was a far more relaxed approach! I even got a lovely seat by the window to enjoy the sunset.
The twins slept pretty well (unless you count the small crying incident at half ten which I think irritated the school kids in the cabin next door) and woke at half six, which was actually half seven. A lie in (of sorts)! We all went for breakfast together, and the boys enjoyed chatting up the lorry drivers and throwing bits of croissant on the floor. We had just enough time to get back to the cabin, get them dressed and pack up before we were called back to our cars, ready to start the final drive to the campsite.
While the crossing wasn’t quite as relaxing as ones in the past, it was fine! So we missed the entertainment in the bar, and didn’t get to eat together, but we did get a good night’s sleep without annoying our neighbours too much.
(*Just as a note, the cots provided were actually ‘basinettes’ rather than full size travel cots. My twins are average sized, very wriggly seven month olds and it was a squeeze. If you’re travelling with older or bigger babies, you might find they don’t fit!)