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MSM 15.9.20 & Normandie 16.9.20

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We decided to carry on with our short trip to Caen, booked a few months ago, not least to support BF at this time. We had an early start to arrive at Portsmouth for 6.45 for the 8.15 MSM crossing and made it on time. We checked in, had a pink car sticker (easy to remove later), a short wait in the first lanes, then were stopped near the security shed. The officer said he would look in our car boot, but we didn't need to get out of the car. He opened the boot, said "OK that's fine" and immediately closed it - don't know what he was looking for, empty car boots perhaps?

It was a long wait in the next set of lanes, but it was clear that there weren't many people travelling. Eventually we drove on, right to the front of Deck 5 and were told our deck and stair number by a crew member. There were no other instructions given, but there were so few people that social distancing was not a problem. We went straight up the stairs to our cabin on Deck 9 and stayed there for the journey. Got the kettle on, had breakfast, caught up on some sleep, then it was time for lunch. There were only a few announcements, and we were asked to stay in our cabins as much as possible, and told that the self-service and bar were open. Thirty minutes before arrival, it was great to be told to stay in our cabin until we were allowed to go straight to the car, hope this continues!

We docked early, got through passport control quickly and by 15.30 we were at the Hyper U in Douvres le Deliverande. Anyone who thinks that social distancing has gone to pot in UK supermarkets probably shouldn't try any French ones any time soon. There was zero social distancing, not even at the queue for the tills, where everyone was ignoring the tape giving the 1m distance. This happened in Carrefour in Ouistreham the next day as well.

Headed off to Caen for the evening, had an excellent meal at La Carlotta at the Port de Plaisance. It was great to be enjoying some French food after all this time. We spent the next morning in Caen, mostly at the Jardin des Plantes, then headed over to Cabourg and Dives sur Mer for the afternoon before heading back for an evening meal in Ouistreham.

We saw several groups of migrants on the approach to Ouistreham, around 50 young men in all. So it was no surprise to see the Douanes staff working hard in the port. They were checking all the trucks, then walking up and down the car lanes. It seems they were making a note of which cars they wanted to inspect, as when we approached passport control, they were checking some paperwork on a clipboard and pulling over some of the cars. We got through passport control without any issues, then it was a very long wait before we were able to drive onto Normandie - it was a lot busier than the previous morning's crossing.

When we drove onto Deck 6, this time we were asked to wait a few minutes before we left the car, but when we did get out it seemed a bit of a free-for all. Only one set of stairs this time, up to a Deck 7 cabin, which looked refurbished. The beds were very comfortable but unfortunately we did not get much sleep for the first few hours as there was a lot of loud banging going on - cabin doors maybe - and the crossing got quite lively at times.

We stayed in our cabin again, then had a knock on the door just before docking to be told that we could go down to our car, even though our "colour" hadn't been called. We docked early and got off fairly quickly. At passport control we were asked if we had completed our "Covid forms", and we said yes, they were on our phones, and got waved through.

So we've just completed day 2 of quarantine, no phone calls from Border Force as yet. Hopefully it won't be too long before we get to travel with BF again.

Last but not least, I did a double-take when I spotted salad cream on sale in Hyper U - then I realised it was the expats food section. The Marmite seems to be popular.....

British food in Hyper U 2.jpg

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