In response to Fandango’s Who Won the Week posts, I have been looking at my own newsfeeds.
Do you remember my post last week?
Well, I made it. I won the week.
I wobbled. Each time I thought I’d jumped the last hurdle, another appeared. Governments have erected many barriers to travel, which would be fair enough if they were based on COVID data, but it is political. Anybody from the EU may unconditionally visit France. Ditto, USA. Anybody from the UK may not. And vice versa.
The only motivation for this trip was my friends. No other reason to be in France at this particular time. And France does not “do” internet, even email. Seriously, in this online world the amount of telephone communication is frightening. My French was generally passable in shops and restaurants, but throw me into the niche situation of arranging the right type of COVID test…
So, one COVID Test beforehand. Proof that I’d been vaccinated. A declaration to keep the French happy. and I was somehow allowed to travel.
Empty ferry. Sea was glass, beautiful. Man, I love it when there are no people to screw things up.
Met friends. First task, another COVID test, to keep the Brits happy when I returned. I really didn’t like putting my friends out, but this test was mandatory else I would be stranded in France. Bureaucracy, too, so the Stase could finger me on my return. And then, I could relax – provided the test was negative. Why wouldn’t it be? The test was performed right after I got off that empty ferry – it had to be then to get the results in time -so what were the chances? An example of the nonsense going on. The next miracle was that the result arrived in my inbox the next day. Negative, of course. Even though I was then 99% sure that I had correct paperwork, I worried. I don’t seem to cope very well with worry, now. Probably a “stroke” thing.
Our first full day was at the beach. It would have been lovely anyway, but its emptiness made it better. We watched the tide go out – a very long way! This shot was overlooking the beach, and is about as packed as we got.
The second day, we stopped at the Omaha Beach Memorial. Refreshingly quiet. Very different to when I last visited, when the tide had been out. The sea was also feistier than the day before, too.
Later, we visited the striking abbey on Mont St. Michel. My companions enjoyed visiting this ancient, walled outcrop. They noted that there was a fee to enter the abbey. The Roman Catholic church is no different to a TV evangelist – it wants your cash before it’ll offer you salvation.
Me? It is a beautiful place, one which I have visited many times before. Another place I thought I would never visit again. But with sadness. Last time I visited I was a different person. Many of the roads we travelled, I had once cycled.
I reflected how disabled-unfriendly it is. Zero stars. Minus, in fact. They should be ashamed, a World Heritage Site in 2021.
My last night, we stayed in an apartment in Saint-Malo. An airy loft It looked like it was owned by a childless bachelor. An impressive library of books which appeared never to have been opened. An antique radio, which did not work. A dozen antique champagne flutes, plus a silver ice bucket. This was clearly somebody who cared about his appearance. I admired the spider’s web light fitting. Here, the grown-ups sipped wine until 1 AM – France’s great gift to the world.
So, very pleasant, but a bachelor pad rather than a family space.
My last day. By some minor miracle, they accepted my docs. Again, empty ferry. How much is it costing governments to charter these threadbare services, so life appears “normal”? Another smooth crossing, but with patchy coverage, both wifi and power. On a ship less than ten years old, how can they get away with that? It fulfilled its main purpose, though, and I was back on UK soil by 6:30 PM. The British transport system (and Mrs Bump) took over, and it was 10:30 PM before I arrived home. A journey that used to take 45 minutes when I drove.
- I got to meet my friends, which might never happen again. The trip was a no-brainer.
- But, governments really don’t want us to travel at the moment.
- The ferries are great when they’re empty.
- Both of my scheduled trains were cancelled. I think the UK rail network is as bad as, or worse than, twenty years ago. Except now, it costs more. How does that work?
- The UK and French governments need to stop their political bullshit surrounding COVID. The very few people travelling on those ferries are the cleanest, most tested people you will ever meet. And now, I face ten days of quarantine, including two more tests.
But overall, I’m glad I went, I’ll look back on this trip as a highlight.