Going via Calais?

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
the frustrated traveller, © Dan Sperrin

the frustrated traveller, © Dan Sperrin

It can’t have escaped your attention that travelling via Calais at the moment is fraught with frustration and delays.

The main motorway link has been stacked with lorries; alternative roads through Kent have been busy and your chances of keeping to a schedule are slim.

What to do?

Luckily our helpful and inspired Foreign and Commonwealth Office has added some suggestions to their website that are practical. The difference between your thoughts and theirs is that they are so obvious you wonder why they issued them in the first place.

They suggest you check with your travel agent, tour operator or Le Shuttle to see what the current state is. Who would ever have thought of that? They suggest you avoid Calais if you can. Another thought that I have never considered at all.

What I really found heartening from the website was the news that security is being rigorously enforced and that they are working with their French colleagues to return everything to normal. What is normal for Calais, migrants and the summer break? It seems that we have lived with this situation for years. Remember Sangatte?

If Calais is going to be such a difficult area for holidaymakers to use then are ferry companies considering moving to different ports? Of course not. Le Shuttle cannot move or use a different tunnel so holidaymakers, holiday providers and the migrants all wait for the French and British governments to resolve things each hoping the other will do it. After sixteen years, what makes either government think it will just go away?

In the meantime, we are left in the middle and not helped by striking workings from the French maritime union who have been protesting for weeks about My Ferry Links. Last night they set fire to tyres blocking the road into Calais causing seven mile tailbacks. When you get to France, the problams are still there for the holidaymaker and everyone else.


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