“Are You SURE You’re On The Right boat luv?!” was one of the first comment put our way by a inquisitive old man from Dublin on board our Irish Ferries journey to France. We were less than 10 minutes into our 19 hour ferry journey to France, less than 3 km into our 14, 133km journey from Cork to Cape Town.
We were standing on the deck of the ferry trying to take some fun shots with a poorly made hitchhiking sign, which proudly displayed how far we needed to travel to get to South Africa’s Mother City, when we were approached by another person amazed by out trip. A lovely woman from Dublin come up to us, smiling and approaching rather shyly with a camera.
“Oh I’ve heard all about you,” she says. “Some man on my deck said there was a crazy woman with a sign on board who THOUGHT she was going too the way to CAPE TOWN!”, she laughed.
I assured her we were going ALL the way to Cape Town, told her about our planned adventure and even handed her my blogger business card so she could follow along. Like all Irish mammies, she was keen to make sure we would be careful and we had good Irish contacts in almost every country we went to, listing off her friends and relations who like in places like Sudan and Albania! She even invited Ian and I to come stay with her at their holiday house in Le Mans – we couldn’t believe how kind she was being. She asked for a photo with me and continued to praise our trip saying, “Oh you’ll be on The Late Late show you will!!”
The first leg of our trip could not have gone smoother. My wonderful parents dropped us off at the ferry terminal in Rosslare as we said our teary goodbyes (I’m sure they are used to saying goodbye at this stage…although in reality in never gets any easier!). Once we got arrived on board, we were upgraded to a 5 star cabin, something I didn’t even know existed thanks to the kindness of Irish Ferries who had heard all about our crazy trip.
We arrived thinking we would be sleeping on pullman chairs or, in my case, probably sprawled out on the floor, and ended up having this beautiful cabin with massive bed, couch, TV and even some free wine and snacks to enjoy. As one friend Henrik commented, “I thought you were supposed to be BACKPACKING Janet?!” Posh packing more like!
Regardless, it was an incredible way to start the trip and we were even treated to dinner in their a la carte restaurant which I can highly recommend – the lamb was melt-in-the-mouth perfection. It also gave us a a taste of taking the ferry from Ireland to France rather than flying is about a million times better. Great food, great bar with live entertainment, plenty of room to walk around and explore and you can even get some work done as well as getting a great nights sleep.
On arrival in Cherbourg we took the free shuttle bus from the ferry terminal to the city centre then walked to the train station. As we both have Eurail passes for our time in Europe, we were able to book ourselves two first class tickets to Paris. Talk about travelling in style. We arrived in belle Paris later that afternoon, but I shall save that for another blog post….
Step one of our #Cork2CapeTown trip complete, and over 1,000km knocked off or journey. Taking the ferry to France was definitely the perfect start to a great adventure.