The goal is to die with memories, not dreams.

Uk to Greece Road Trip

30 December 2021
Jane Paulson

We were both really looking forward to our trip back to Stiletto.  Strangely we hadn't  given her a second thought while we were away. That's because we know she is in a safe and secure place with marina staff keeping an eye on her along with all the other boats in the marina.

We were booked on the 2.45pm Brittany ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. But before  boarding we had to arrange for a lateral flow test at a private clinic in Emsworth as France had suddenly changed the rules and insisted on a negative test certificate despite being vaccinated.. The appointment was for 9.25am, the cost was £75 each and we had the results 30 mins later – both of which were negative. We were good to go.

Starting from Portsmouth was a game changer as it is so close to Gosport – just a 30 minute drive (on a bad day). We had allocated seats and there were just 7 other passengers in our lounge - in fact, there were very few people in any of the lounges.

 The five hour  crossing to Caen was calm and on arrival we drove for half an hour to an Ibis hotel for the night. Next morning we were up and on the road by 8am and drove to Lyon.  It was Sunday and we had the roads to ourselves for much of the day.  We chose to take the toll roads through both France and Italy.  We felt the charges were worth it. Beautifully maintained roads, almost F1 race track quality, that are a joy to drive on - long and straight and fast.

On arrival in Lyon we booked into another Ibis hotel and after another good night's sleep we were up and on the road to Venice at 8.15am.

Our journey through France and Italy (2 days) was fabulous  and so much easier than we had initially thought. We saw many  weather  conditions  - blue sky and sunshine, rain, mizzle, thick fog, snow and temperatures ranging from -4 to 14 degrees all within a couple of hours!!!!  The snow capped Alps were spectacular and we crossed many beautiful rivers and vast vineyards.

Both Sally Sat Nav and I did a brilliant job on the navigation and Andreas did an outstanding job of driving. Teamwork at its best.

It was dark by the time we arrived in Venice. Andreas had booked a hotel for 2 nights close to the station and (allegedly) the ferry. Sally Sat Nav had done an outstanding job of getting us this far without any hitches at all but she was totally confused and after 3 attempts and going round and round in circles,  we called the hotel who informed us that we should park our car in the car park by the station  and then walk for just 10 minutes. This alarmed us just a bit as we were not happy at the thought of leaving our car, fully loaded, in a public car park but we need not have worried. This is the norm. We pulled into the multi storey, handed over our keys and the car was parked for us. 24hour security meant it was very safe.

We took what we needed from the car and walked  the 10 minutes to our hotel. It was close to the railway station but as it turned  out, not the ferry. Well at least not the one that we needed to get us to Greece.

Wow! What a hotel this was. Just stunning. As you would expect from the Italians, beautifully furnished, and our room was positively sumptuous. Chandeliers in the bathroom and bedroom.  His and hers showers. Fabric on the walls and amazing beamed ceilings. Loved it. Just what we needed. A bit of pampering.

Next day we walked to St Marks square and the Rialto bridge, wending our way through the narrow streets, crossing bridges as we went trying our utmost not to get disorientated or at worst,  lost!

The architecture is simply breath-taking  and at every turn  there was another building to oooh over. The gondolas were busy as were the water taxis and water buses taking people too and fro.   No cars , bikes or scooters. Everything was moved around by water which created a lovely atmosphere of calm.  There were surprisingly a lot of tourists but the vast majority were Italians, very few Europeans.

Our return to the hotel was by water bus, along the grand canal, which gave us a whole different perspective altogether. The Venetians knew how to build.

Next morning we left the hotel and headed to the ferry, (which was a half hour drive out of town) for our next leg to Patras. Check-in was 10am. Departure 12 noon. We finally sailed away from Venice at 4pm. No explanation for the delay. Just a lot of sitting around in a queue,  in the car,  with the occasional wander to stretch our legs.

We had booked a cabin for the 32 hour crossing to Patras which actually went very quickly but our arrival was much later than scheduled. Another hotel at Patras meant a good nights sleep before the final leg .......a 2 hour drive to Piraeus and the  8 hour ferry crossing to Leros.

Muse for this post: Teamwork makes the dream work.


Vessel Name: Stiletto
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 33 Cruiser
Hailing Port: Gosport, UK
Crew: Andreas Giles & Jane Paulson
We have been sailing together for 15 years and have owned Stiletto for 13 of them. We have exhausted the Solent and the South Coast and all the other usual passages: West Country, France, Channel Islands etc. that are available from our home port of Gosport. [...]
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