England 2009

Na moriThat time we decided to go to England by car for several reasons. First of all last year I decided that driving in England should not be that difficult, secondly we liked the idea of being independent, and thirdly we needed to get from England to Denmark and by car it is cheaper to get to all of these places.

The trip was preceded by large preparations. Lenka found all connections, ferries, and prices, and we had to calculate when to start, so the days would fit nicely. Both trips would last around 24 hours and we did not want to loose a day by unnecessary sleeping in England. At the end we left Prague on Thursday May 7th after lunch in direction of Calais. We traveled through Germany, Netherlands, and Belgium. Freeways were beautifully empty, and we came to Calais significantly sooner, so we had time to go to dinner. We did not want to risk unknown food and the proverbial French language barrier, so we went to a pizzeria at some square. Not only that we liked the food, but even the language barrier did not happen. The girl that was serving us was pretty, obliging, and speaking English. She even took a picture of us.


You need to get on a ferry an hour earlier before departure, and our ferry was supposed to leave at two o’clock in the morning (really on Friday), but we knew that it is possible to come earlier, and if there is a free place we can get onto the earlier boat. We came to the check-in at nine (21:00), and the lady was willing to take us, but we would have to pay. She explained that we could only get for free on the closest ferry before the proper one. We did not mind this much, we would be in Liverpool too early anyway, so we went to a parking lot and slept in the car until midnight.

Exactly at midnight we registered for the ferry that was leaving at one. The Calais port is huge - check the pictures. We were waiting there for a good 3/4 hour before they let us on the ferry. A ferry is a huge boat with several decks. Cars park on three of them; other three have space for people. The crossing should take an hour and a half, and we wanted to use this time for sleeping. We thought that we would look the ship over quickly and then we would get some sleep in the car. Well, we were wrong. When we went through both decks (the third one was an outdoor one and was closed) and wanted to go back to the car the garage entrance was closed. Later we found out that it is not allowed to be in cars, that they could even be inspected. So, we were trapped on the ship, no money and no books either. Horrible. Also the boat was tremendously noisy, so it was not possible to sleep. Well, for some people. Lenka fell asleep almost immediately; I was bored to death in the meantime, and did not die only because of Tom and Jerry that were on TV one after another in a children game room.

Nothing lasts forever, so we got to England and Dover at the end. We drove through the port and saw the sight of white Dover cliffs. I did not expect it and was really sorry that I was driving, since this was a fascinating sight.

Getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road went well, since in Dover they have it well arranged with a one-way two lane road going from the port, where you don’t have to think about anything, and then you get to a freeway, where everything is fine, too. In the beginning you could beautifully see who was local and who was not, since everybody, who was not, stayed behind some truck, and did not want to pass, but then we all became braver, passed, and we continued toward Liverpool.

Although Lenka told everybody before the trip that she would not drive in England for anything, that she would be afraid, in the morning at 7 she begged and begged to be allowed to drive. So, guys, isn’t she perfect? She drove all the way to Liverpool; we switched just before it.

We arrived to Kathleen in Crosby at eight in the morning and comparatively fresh. We had some breakfast and were ready to jump into the big city life.