Ferry Strike and Questioning Cops
Cherbourg Travel Blog› entry 12 of 16 › view all entries
This morning we awoke, packed our bags, and were preparing for a long day of traveling to Ireland. Little did we know, the day was going to stretch much longer than we anticipated. Our plan was to take the subway to the St. Lazare Train Station in Paris, where we were going to take a three-hour train ride to Cherbourg, France. From there, we were to take a 17-hour ferry ride to Rosslare, Ireland, and from there a three-hour bus ride to Cork, Ireland, where our hostel was.
The subway ride and three-hour train ride went by relatively quickly since I was able to read, sleep, and write in my travel journal a bit. When we arrived in Cherbourg, we were expecting the train to arrive at the port where we would board the ferry. However, when we exited the train, there was no sign of a port or even water. During the train ride we had befriended another American, named Maggie. The three of us went to ask directions to the port, which resulted in a horribly long walk with our heavy backpacks on. When we were approximately 3 quarters of the way through our hike, we encountered another backpacker approaching us from the opposite directions. He asked us if we too were planning on taking the 6 pm Irish Ferry. When we told him that we were, he informed us that the dock workers were on strike and that we should probably turn around and find a hostel or hotel for the night, because the boat wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. This news was devastating since we were already so exhausted, and there was no way we were going to turn around and walk back. Furthermore, we needed to get to Ireland because we are supposed to fly our of Dubli back to the states in a few days. This was all so horrible to hear, but we decided to continue to the port to confirm this and hear it with our own ears.
When we arrived at the port, the Irish Ferries did confirm that the dock workers were on strike. When we asked how long the strike would last, we were told that it could be minutes or days. Just what we wanted to hear. It was then about 3:30 pm, and we decided to wait around and discuss our options as we enjoyed some snacks at the bar. We had heard that you could buy Ryan Airline tickets from Paris to Ireland for about $60 or $70 a person. We could also pay a major fee to have our airline tickets changed so that we would fly out of France instead of Ireland. We also had the option to head back to Paris or Cherbourg to get a hotel and wait out the strike. All of these options seemed to involve a lot of money, so we decided to hope the strike would end and stay put at the port.
6 pm came and went and we were not yet on our ferry. Once I got up to use the restroom, and as soon as I came out, two police officers approached me and asked to see my passport in serious voices. I didn't have it with me, so they followed me over to the table where we were sitting and I showed them both my passport and Jason's passport. They looked them over very meticulously, looked at each other, and finally returned them to us without a word. It was a bit frightening and I was just imagining myself getting thrown into some foreign country's jail for no reason.
Finally, at about 10:45 we boarded the boat and found our cabin for the night. As we were putting our bags up, a voice came over the intercom that told us we would be arriving in Ireland at approximately 6 pm the following day, when we were supposed to be arriving at 11 am. This was bad news for us, because it meant that we would not arrive at our hostel until about 11:45 pm, and the last check-in time is at 10:30.
After putting our bags away, we decided to explore the ship. We went to the gift shop, attempted to see a movie, and finally settled in for a cabaret show, which was really lame. After watching the show, we returned to the cabin for sleep. However, I didn't get too much of it because it was so rocky and we could hear the waves slamming against the ship. I kept thinking about the Titanic, our ship capsizing, and all sorts of frightening thoughts that enter your mind when you are half asleep.