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Unread 8 Jan 12, 06:20 PM  
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geoffa
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Coach Trip The Voyage of the Damned - Day 1

Coach Trip The Voyage of the Damned
(Formerly Non toppo in vista)
Day 1

We drag ourselves into Harrow town centre at around 8a.m. complete with enough luggage for a round the world trip. We are supposed to be picked up at 8:30 a.m. Our pick-up point is by the Post Office. They havent said if its the old Post Office, now boarded up or the new Post Office which used to be the Electricity Board showrooms.
Anyhow, a man pulls up in a cab and starts waving a laminated card in the air which says Leger Holidays. Having struggled to get all our bags in to the over compact boot of his car, we then head to Watford where we are to pick up two other people and their luggage. Im sitting there wondering if they are to be strapped to the roof rack of the vehicle. We are joined by a Grandmother and her grumpy teenage grand-daughter and the remainder of the journey along the M25 becomes very cosy with 3 of us squashed on the back seat with a four foot holdall across our laps. Granny sits in comfort in the front. After 20 minutes of feeling like a slice of Co-op ham in a funeral sandwich I disembark with my OH, Darrin and said Grand-daughter. We have a little time to wait whilst the coaches start to appear. Leger dont actually own any coaches. How it works is they say to a coach company: Buy a luxury coach, put our livery on it and well supply you with constant business. So all these vehicles pour down from various regions of the country and some meet up at South Mimms services. Its here that you join one of them to be taken down through Kent and to the port of Dover. (What a dump that place is. If I lived there Id be heading for a swim across the channel). Mind you Calais aint much better! We whizz through Customs and Passport Control with a wave of a hand like they seem glad to get rid of us. We then depart the coach into an eatery / souvenir / rip off bureau de change holding pen whilst they sort out which coach is going where and ensure the luggage is transferred to the appropriate one. Eventually we board coach no 36 bound for Lake Como. A short drive and we are in the bowels of the Pride of Calais one of P & Os ferries.

Weve booked the Club Lounge those who know us will realise that Darrin doesnt do steerage! A complimentary glass of champagne later and we sit and listen to a female passenger having a fit over being expected to pay for a small meal. Now, admittedly if you book an airport lounge the food is free but it doesnt work like that on a ferry. We wait until the queue at the restaurant has slimmed down and go to have lunch. I opt for the fish and chips and mooshy peeze as the French chef calls them. Darrin opts for a child portion. Now lets get things in proportion. (No pun intended.) Child meal = reduced price. So Im not stealing anything from them. They insist they must see a child before they will serve a child meal. I try to explain that because of surgery my OH cant eat a mountainous meal. No. They are not having it. So I ask if I can have a battered cod on its ownsome. Yes. Thats fine.until we get to the till. They want to charge us for the full meal. The lad on the register was happy to ring it up as a child meal but he is over-ruled by a supervisor. So, today Ladies & Gentleman I am awarding the yellow card to P & O Ferries.



The weather is kind to us and we rock and roll gently towards Calais across La Manche. When we arrive all the Sea France ferries are in darkness. Their staff have been on strike since about 1923 so there are no sailings with that company. Again we are waved through Customs and Immigration. Our driver must have some contacts! Or he has offended Theresa May! I should mention we have Big Al and Wee Al both from Scotland -as our drivers and what a brilliant pair they turn out to be as youll find out later.

We then swerve into a petrol station. The coach hasnt been filled since Edinburgh and is travelling on fumes. As our seat is alongside the pump we are able to watch the dials whizz round. Ive never really considered what capacity the fuel tank is on a coach but now I can tell you. 450 litres at a cost of Euro 637 ( 547 approx.) at time of filling. I proffer my Nectar Card but it seems they dont accept them. We now have a three hour drive along the A26 towards Reims, the centre of the champagne region. Our hotel is the Ibis at Tinqueux and I have to say if I ever motor across France I would certainly choose it for an overnight stay. Clean, comfy, friendly and about 70 a night if you were paying cash or card. (Ours is included of course). Nice modern dcor and a carpet that is like walking through a field of poppies. It has a little bar area and attached is a steakhouse where the meat is cooked over a massive wood fire. Pere Noel (Father Christmas) calls in each evening to hand out little gifts of sweets to any children in the restaurant.

We both choose a brochette which is steak cubed and served on a skewer cooked EXACTLY as we requested ( a poignee medium rare) as we dont like it bleu which is too raw. Whilst I like my meat red I prefer it to be of the dead variety rather than still mooing on the plate! A comfy night under a lush warm duvet follows and we sleep like babies.

A seven hour trip faces us tomorrow as we make our way down through Switzerland and into Italy via the Gotthard tunnel under the Alps.
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Edited at 07:47 PM.
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Cancelled because of illness.
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Unread 8 Jan 12, 06:23 PM  
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Mouse mess
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Loved it... I want to jump on that bed!

P&O should be ashamed of themselves!

Looking forward to more.
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This is going to draaaaaag...
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Unread 8 Jan 12, 06:41 PM  
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MrsBC
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I remember Leger well! One trip to DLP in 1997 - me with 3 stroppy teens, 1 sister who doesn't get out much and 1 mum who was a Guide captain for years and still treats us all like Girl Guides when we go anywhere! The journey there went on forever, and I'm sure the return one is still going on somewhere! - I'm hyperventilating thinking about it, it scarred me for years
Yours sounds fab in comparison!
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Beach Club, and Grand Floridian surprise
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Unread 8 Jan 12, 06:42 PM  
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geoffa
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Originally Posted by MrsBC View Post
I'm hyperventilating thinking about it, it scarred me for years
Yours sounds fab in comparison!
Oh! Just you wait...
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Cancelled because of illness.
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Unread 8 Jan 12, 06:47 PM  
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highland lass
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this sounds an interesting trippie
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Unread 8 Jan 12, 06:52 PM  
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MrsBC
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Originally Posted by geoffa View Post
Oh! Just you wait...
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DISNEY HOLS:
WDW - Y&BC x 8, AKL x 2, POFQ x 1, villas x 5; DLP - Sequoia x 4, Cheyenne x 5, Santa Fe x1; DCL Magic
BOOKED - Beach Club Sept '20.
TRIP REPORT INDEX
www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=835984
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Beach Club, and Grand Floridian surprise
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Unread 8 Jan 12, 07:15 PM  
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nickymouse66
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Looking forward to day 2!
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Cheap & Cheerful
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Unread 9 Jan 12, 09:06 PM  
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Melanie R
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Just caught up with this Geoff - great start, off to read the rest
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