Our family day trip to Calais had been planned for a while, so when St Jude headed to the UK at the beginning of half term we were a little concerned our plans may be hampered. Luckily the storm passed by quite quickly and we were good to go off on our jollies.
The main aim of our family day trip to Calais was to stock up on beer and wine for the holiday season fast approaching, but we had also factored the girls needs for entertainment into our day trip to Calais planning so a visit to Boulogne and the Nausicaá sealife centre were on the cards as well. However, on arrival, the weather was dire so we quickly changed our minds and headed to Cité Europe for a day of French food and shopping. Cité Europe with its 140 shops, Carrefour hypermarket, Cinema and around 20 restaurants, was perfect for a rainy day in Calais.
When looking round the shops we came across a lovely home store with beautiful Christmas displays in the window. I had an idea; why not pick up some festive pieces from our family day trip to Calais, the first trip abroad we have taken as a family of four, so each year when we put up our decorations we are reminded of this milestone in our family life. The girls each picked a wooden “Noel’ tree decoration and I selected a set of three glass baubles with hand painted snowmen on the sides. I’m now even more excited about Christmas than before.
After a rather uneventful afternoon we drove back to the port, car laden with wine and cheese, where the day almost came to a disastrous end. UK border control (all passport checks are completed departure side when traveling by ferry) refused The Essex Husband entry. His recently renewed American passport hadn’t had his indefinite leave to remain stamp transferred into it (as it needs to be done at the embassy) and I totally forgot to bring his old passport with us. Cue panic as we waited in the car outside immigration while checks were run on him, watching the clock tic towards the final boarding time for the ferry home we were booked on. Luckily, like a scene from a movie, he was given clearance to travel 2 minutes before the check-in was due to close. One mad rush and a few naughty words later we were on the boat eating our dinner and looking forward to getting home to bed.
Safe in the knowledge that our first family day trip to Calais would be one we remember for many years to come.