Another travel day, another early start. Today we’re taking a ferry across the channel. We’re going home.
I’ve been on the Stena Line ferry once but I was travelling with Darcy. This time I must try to be brave doing this on my own. There will be other dogs there but I don’t know them.
But before we could get on the ferry, we need to take a train from Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof (main station) – it was still quite dark outside when we started off at 7am.But it was not a direct train – we had to get off in Venlo to board another train to Rotterdam Cantral. As expected I was panting again And while I was panting with anxiety, Mummy took the opportunity to study the state of my teeth! She thought they are in need of a good cleaning – soon. Darn! I don’t usually let her inspect my teeth.
I panted till I was tired and fell asleep on Mummy’s lap.At Venlo, we got on the ICE train and had one of those compartmentalised cabins. That way Mummy wasn’t worried that my loud panting would annoy other passengers.
Next stop on the ICE train – Rotterdam Centraal. From here, we boarded a local train to Hoek van Holland Harbour. As we approached HvH – we can see very large ferries at the port. The train stopped right in front of the Stena Line ferry port – so it was off the train and straight to check-in.
But before the hoomans checked in, Mummy had to check me in first at the Pet Control station. They looked through my EU Pet Passport to be sure I’ve had my tapeworm treatment in good time, and an overall check-up. They scanned my microchip. When all was in order, they gave Mummy a green tag to identify that she has a pet on board.In the waiting area was a very growly Jack Russell. He did not like me so we avoided him by sitting further away.
After checking in and going through the hooman’s Passport Controls, we had to walk along a very, very long ramp before we arrived at the ferry. The first time when Darcy and I did this long walk, I pee’d twice along the ramp – much to Mummy’s horror. But I was new to all these “civilised” behaviour – I had only been living with Mummy and George two months before we had embarked on that trip.
I also didn’t like those moving walkways and I kept stopping in protest. I walked as close to the wall as possible to avoid them.Finally, what seemed like a forever walk, we arrived at the entrance to the last bit of the ramp.We had to check in at Guest Services on Deck 9. Mummy received a code for the kennels on Deck 8. I was starting to feel nervous. Oh no! The Jack Russell was also there! And he wasn’t happy to see me in the kennel but I didn’t really care too much about his attitude, I was completely focused on what was about to happen to ME!
Mummy was taking one of the blankets and making a bed for me in one of the crates. Time to start panting again! Mummy gave me bowl of water and left me some treats. She lifted me into the crate and told me to stay. She promised she will come back.She did come back – three hours later – and she brought me my dinner – meatballs! She didn’t have any more raw meat with her, so she went and bought some meat balls from the cafeteria. She told the servers that she was taking them down to me. They offered to rinse off all the gravy. She then mushed them up before she gave them to me. All the other doggies – seven altogether – were looking on jealously.
I was spinning with excitement when I saw her enter the kennels.She took me out of the crate and set down the bowl for me but I was had other ideas. I wanted to leave this place immediately. Eat your supper, she told me, so I obliged but every time she moved away from me, it didn’t matter that there was food to be eaten, I ran towards the door, afraid that she was leaving me again. She coaxed me back to the bowl.
After I finally ate all my food, she took me out to the dog deck for some air.It’s the deck for dogs – to poo! The problem is that I am so well trained not to poo “inside” – this place didn’t feel like it was an appropriate to relief myself so the little trip to Deck 7 was pointless.
After immigration, my Passport was not required here, we are at the train station. There should have been a train to take us to London but alas, there was no trains to London! Instead they had a bus to take us.So, that about completes the range of possible transportation – plane, car, ferry, taxi and now a bus!
When we finally got into a taxi at Liverpool station, it was 11pm!I was so looking forward to sleeping in our own bed. Back to the raw minced meat with chopped up carrots, mushy peas or bananas. Back to our neighbourhood where I can read all the pee-mail since we left over a week ago. So much to catch up on.
And then Darcy will come home and we’re altogether again! Hooray!
May’s comment: We’ve done the Stena Line ferry quite a few times now so by now the process is very familiar to us. And though long, when it’s on a quiet travelling day, it is actually quite relaxing. But after seven hours on the ferry, when we arrived, there were no trains to London. As once before, they had a bus waiting to take us there. Of course it would take longer than a train journey, but it also happened to be Saturday night. What would have been an hour and a half took two hours before we arrived at Liverpool Station – because of traffic! It was after all Saturday night in London! I have never been to East London on a Saturday evening so it was interesting to watch what went on. I think if I didn’t have our luggage I might have been tempted to check out the scene in Shoreditch! LOL! NOT!
We finally reached Liverpool Station, got into a cab and the driver was trying to navigate a route where we would not run into theatre goers and people out for the night. We finally got home close to midnight. It was a long day. Our journey began at 7am or 6am (UK time) and arrived home almost 18 hours later.
Stena Line has been accredited to transport pets to and from the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). There are limited onboard kennels so looking must be made for pet to travel. Pets can travel inside the owner’s vehicle but it is recommended that dogs should be placed in the kennel.
At check in we received a coloured hanger to identify that we have a pet – by car or on foot.
When we board the ferry, we go to Guest Services on Deck 9 – we are given the access code to the Dog Kennel which is on Deck 8. No dogs are allowed in the public areas or cabins except for guide dogs.
If dogs are in the vehicle, must ensure that it is safely locked and proper ventilation for pet’s welfare.
During the crossing owners are allowed to visit their pets whenever they wish to.
And if you’re in a cabin, a webcam in the kennel area allows you to keep an eye on them. The first time I did that with Darcy, I was up all night watching the webcam transmission. LOL! Hardly slept!