I arrived at the Brittany Ferries terminal in Portsmouth very early. I have to admit, I was a bit excited about heading off to France. My ferry wasn't due to sail until
You have to realize though that this was a turning point in my trip. Up till now it had been magic, I had been visiting very special people in my life and it was hard to say good bye to them all.
But now, with the new year, there was new territory to explore. I was setting out on my own to see places I had only dreamed of seeing. Circumstances had alligned to allow me to have six months to travel, to be free as a bird, so here I was.
I had booked the ferry trip from the safety of my bed in my daughters basement suite. My apartment had just been sold and my possessions put into storage to free me up to make this trip.
Now here I was in the ferry terminal, drinking coffee while eating an Eccles cake and plugging my phone into the wall so I could recharge the battery after taking pictures of Portsmouth all day.
It was kind of comforting that there was a Costa coffee place at the terminal as the first time I had experienced this coffee shop was with my brother in a motorway stop on the way across the moors. Now it was a familiar touchstone for me.
I got there so early that the terminal was absolutely dead,
It was so nice to get my choice of a soft, comfy chair and to be able to sit down and read my book. Not much competition for seating as you can see.
I was waiting to board a ferry to St Malo, a beautiful city in Brittany where I had booked a gypsy caravan for my first night in France.
Outside the rain was coming down, but it seemed like the storms were holding off and the sailing would go ahead as scheduled.
Finally it was time to board and I couldn't wait to see my cabin. I travel frequently on the ferries to and from the gulf island in British Columbia, but they are just 1-2 hour trips. This was the first time I would be experiencing sleeping on board ship.
The cabin was so cute. Compact and so well designed that everything I could possible need was provided for me.
Even a dressing table and mirror.
Everything looked so mysterious in the dark.
Before we cast off I wandered around the different decks. There were so many. It was reassuring to see lots of lifeboats and I couldn't resist taking some pictures of the walkways.
Our ferry was the Pont Aven.
I stopped to watch as the workers prepared to cast off. They were so far down and looked like little leggo men. :-)
It was a little awkward for me at first. I wandered through the tables and chairs, looking for an inconspicuous place to sit, being a woman and all alone in an unfamiliar place.
As I cast my eyes around the room,two women sitting up against the far wall caught my attention and smiled at me, then started to chuckle as they understood my predicament.
I returned their smile and headed over to the table next to them.
They were both English and they were off to Brittany to visit family. They had a great sense of humour and we really got along well. The music in the bar was all golden oldies, so we kept trying to recall who they had been sung by etc. Lots of laughs.
While I was sitting there, a very strange thing happened to me. In a quiet moment when I was deep in thought about my trip and all my plans, I got a powerful sense of my old boyfirend Timothy sitting in the chair opposite me. Timothy passed away just over a year ago and he was always so supportive of my independent spirit. Now he had come back to visit in order to reassure me and tell me I was doing the right thing. He knew I'd end up doing something crazy like this because it was what I was meant to do. It was a fleeting impression but it filled me with a sense of peace and being cared for.
Eventually, I headed off to my cabin and climbed into my cute little bed. The boat was gently rocking and it lulled me to sleep. In the morning they had the sweetest chiming alarm I have ever heard start up automatically. I was already awake and went up to the cafe to get some breakfast before we arrived in St Malo. We were due to get there at 8:15.
Breakfast was delicious, a croissant and some fruit as well as a yogurt.
Soon the foot passengers were called to gather and disembark.
My first view of St Malo was as the dawn was breaking. I stopped to take some snaps on my way to the shuttle bus that would take us to the drop off point.
I really had no idea where I was going so I just went straight ahead and up an ancient street. Immediately I was swept into another time and space.
But that is another story.