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A Deeply Unpleasant Experience


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Yesterday evening (Easter Monday) for some mysterious business reason I had to come back to UK via the Channel Tunnel. God, what a vile way to travel! Over-stretched border controls, late arrivals, gigantic queues had stretched the system to near breaking point. And we had to take refuge in the terminal for a while, a sort of fourth rate motorway service area of the cheapest, nastiest and tackiest kind.

Rant over, back to BF ....

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Quite frankly I don't know why some people actually PREFER the tunnel.  Sea travel is much more civilsed and pleasant.  Unfortunately there are times when one has no choice to use it, like on this occasion, in which one has my deepest sympathies.  I can just imagine how chaotic it was - people returning from Easter breaks.

 

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40 minutes ago, Khaines said:

Quite frankly I don't know why some people actually PREFER the tunnel.  Sea travel is much more civilsed and pleasant.  Unfortunately there are times when one has no choice to use it, like on this occasion, in which one has my deepest sympathies.  I can just imagine how chaotic it was - people returning from Easter breaks.

 

I have to stick my hand up and say that I do indeed prefer the tunnel... when it works it's a quick and easy way to travel, particularly as we don't have to leave the dog unaccompanied.

When it goes wrong though, it's horrendous - and why we purposefully don't travel at peak times. That said though, Calais port can be exactly the same at busy times.

 

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I remember Calais being really busy when I went over there when visiting Barfleur.  I think it was late Spring/early Summer when I went over.  Dover is quite chaotic as spent time up on the cliffs looking down.  But organised chaos too considering how much traffic goes through there.

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On a forum of ferry enthusiasts, it's easy to forget that some people won't contemplate using a ferry as they suffer from bad sea sickness even on relatively calm waters. One of my friends goes to France 3-4 times a year, always using the tunnel, and is horrified by the thought of my regular BF trips - she can't imagine anything worse :)

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I can see the advantages of the tunnel with a 35 minute travel time but as both myself and Mrs Lembyscot suffer from quite acute claustrophobia so the Tunnel is a non starter and although I suffer from mild mal de mer but there are wonderful 'drugs' (stugeron) to make the crossing quite painless. The other point is that travelling from Scotland the thought of the M25 and the roads to Dover sound quite horrendous while the M40/A34/M3/M27 route is usually a doddle by comparison. Horses for courses sounds like the answer here and we do like the commodore cabins on the Portsmouth/Caen crossing each year.

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I did read a brilliant description of travel via the tunnel some years ago. It went something like this: switch light on in your domestic garage. Now drive your car in nose first. Close the garage door and retire to your car. Sit in car for 35 mins, doing whatever you want even getting out of the car, but you cannot leave the garage. After 35 mins lift the garage door and drive the car out. You have now experienced a crossing by the Channel Tunnel

 Tongue in cheek I know, but many a true word said in jest..

 

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A very apt description.

Of course, in reality, if we have a garage then it is usually too small to get the car in and is anyway choked to the top with 'things that might come in useful'. I park my car in the drive so I suppose the equivalent mode of transport through the Tunnel would be on a flatbed wagon!

I have used the Tunnel on a couple of occasions and it was OK although I do prefer the ferries.

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I think one of the main problems on Monday was the slow process at Border Control. People were arriving in what would normally have been plenty of time for their booked slot, but never getting there. There was then chaos all evening with a  huge backlog of cars trying to get away. And as I say, the terminal facilities are truly pathetic.

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