We’re back in the UK for our first visit in nearly a year and once again we chose the ferry to get us (and all of our many, many bags) here. As our family love affair with ferry travel continues, it seemed rather appropriate (although entirely coincidental) that we set sail from Santander to Portsmouth on Valentine’s Day. Particularly so as it was on February 14th some seven years ago that we first voyaged in the opposite direction, in a hired van laden with all of our worldly possessions, hearts full of excitement and heads a-whirr with the adventures that awaited us in our new life in northern Spain.
I can’t quite believe that a full seven years has passed since we first abandoned British shores but it has and I am very pleased to report that there is no sign of a seven-year-itch on the horizon. Asturias now feels very much like home.
That said, a trip to the UK does paradoxically still feel like a return home. Familiar faces and places, precious time spent with much-missed loved ones and the chance to stock up on some old stalwart products that you just can’t get in Spain. All the space in our car that the distribution of a few cases of Rioja and Albarino wines to our hosts in the UK has liberated will be occupied on the return journey by cases of peanut butter and Marmite, securely packed in place by sacks of teabags. We are living the expat
In fact, in this bi-located life of ours it’s fair to say that the decks of the Pont Aven ferry itself are also beginning to feel a little like home. Or should I say, ‘the big boat playground’ as Jack has taken to calling it.
The soft-play area is certainly the place where I invariably spend the most time onboard. Luckily it has some comfy seats for adults and I always end up enjoyably whiling the time away in conversation with other parents as our offspring bounce riotously around in preparation (hopefully) for a good night’s sleep in the cabins below.
I love hearing these other travellers’ stories – from that of the Spanish family who have swapped the sunny skies of Andalucia for life in a cold and draughty Scottish castle that they are renovating as a hotel to that of the mother who only holidays in destinations reachable overland or by boat because of a particularly vivid dream she had 20 years ago in which she both had a child in her forties and also perished in an air crash. When she unexpectedly gave birth to a son at the age of 42 she instantly forswore air travel. To be fair, I think I probably would have too!
Meanwhile, the highlight of the voyage for my other half was the fact that the Manchester United match was being shown on the big screen in the bar. That was my cue to retire to our cabin with an exhausted, blissfully sleeping toddler and a George Clooney movie on the laptop. A perfect Valentine’s Day all round.
Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by Brittany Ferries and we received a discount on our sailing. All words and opinions expressed are entirely my own.