Last night, I spent most of the night awake just thinking and crying. It breaks my heart to hear mum suffering and then listen to my sister trying to support her through these dark and distressing days. Our fun time travelling is certainly no fun when all I do is worry about my parents. All I want to do is hold my mum in my arms, tell her I love her and reassure her. I am sure many of you can understand where I am coming from.
Mum has vascular dementia which means sudden massive changes can occur with the onset of strokes. The strokes of recent weeks means her condition has change dramatically and she is no longer able to live independently. Currently she is scared and frightened and refusing to go home, so she has moved in with my sister. Mum is not critical but we have decided to head home and spend Christmas with our family. Then in the New Year we will look at what mum needs in terms of long term support and take it from there. When I get home, I will do an article on dementia (and our BBC news night clip!) as I know many of our readers have elderly parents and who knows, if it helps just one of you, it is worth it.
Right, enough tears, time to lighten the mood and make the most of getting home….
How to Get From Greece to England with a motorhome
The easiest way is to fly but commercial airlines are yet to provide wide enough seats for our little Vin, a 7m motorhome. How inconsiderate.
Another quick way is to go by train but pretty sure most trains don’t offer cargo service for a motorhome…not yet but bet if someone ran a weekly train from England to Greece and vice versa like the Euro Tunnel it would be chockablock…nudge nudge Richard Branson.
The complicated way is to drive up the coast through Albania etc but sorting green cards, arranging insurance is not really something we want to be looking at, at this moment. Right now we need simple and doable.
The only way is to way is to sail from Patras to Italy the drive from Italy to England. We look on-line and check out the options and prices, so we can chat on the way up. Go Ferry, is one of the websites we used to check out the information. With information to digest…fast forward 5 hours after driving from Kalamata to Patras along an excellent highway with just one toll fare of €4.75 and we arrive at the port. In Patras, we park on at the port car park and walk in to the ferry terminal. There are basically 3 ferry operators open – Minoan, Speed Ferry, Anek. They all offer ferries to Italy with a variety of spot off points but in the main, Igoumenitsa, Bari, Ancona, Trieste and Venice. Speed Ferry prices were the most expensive, Anek were mid and Minoan Lines were cheapest.
After much debate, ok a quick chat, we opted for the Minoan sailing in 1 HOUR, eeek. Feels all rather surreal and very difficult to take in. Is this really happening? Our sailing from Patras to Ancona will take 21 hours and for 2 passengers, 2 dogs, 7m motorhome with a cabin (dogs permitted in to the cabin) it cost €340. Due to winter crossing they automatically offer a cabin free but still, no charge for the dogs, which is great.
Just for comparison if anyone is interested. The same deal with Anek worked out at €682 but if we chose a dog kennel (whimper from the boyz) and sleep in a chair then price reduces to €376.
Mac n Tosh wanted to walk home as they quite like the energetic life. Now that would be an adventure! Google tells me it’s 1919 miles or 423 hours of walking. At a blistering pace of 12 hours a day, you’d get there in about a month, but I reckon 8 hours a day would be enough for anyone, and that would get you there in 53 days. If anyone fancies the challenge then click here for the directions and oh, don’t forget to collect Mac n Tosh!
With tickets in hand we briskly walk back to Vin, drive over the road to the fuel station and fill up with diesel. Diesel in Italy is about 25% more than in Greece, so might as well fill up now and the saving will buy us a luxury burger, bun and beer on the ferry.
With Vin full to the brim we dash over to the ferry terminal and exit our motorhome for a full on search. The Greeks certainly examined Vin good and proper – inside, garage, underside and the full works. Glad to see someone is taking the controls for people and drugs serious. But on the flip side they missed the dogs, no control or check on their microchip or passport.
With inspection complete we zoomed over to the ferry, up the ramp then up another ramp to the second deck. A very grumpy ferry controller directed us to park in the back right hand corner. Craig parked up as directed but the guy wanted us further over to the wall. We shuffled back and forth as far as we could so literally millimetres between the body work and the ferry pillars. The grumpy controller was still unhappy but realised we could go no further. He then guided a huge lorry down our other side. Now we have travelled on a fair number of ferries but this takes some beating for packing in like sardines. We were literally hair breath away from the lorry and not impressed especially with such an empty ferry.
On deck we make our way to our cabin, a simple but comfortable cabin with 4 single beds and bathroom. A quick walk around the outside with the dogs then an hour to ourselves tootling around the ferry before heading back to the cabin after waving goodbye to Greece.