In hindsight, I believe we may have been wearing rose tinted glasses. It was the excitement, the romance, the devil-may-care feeling about it all. Jacking in the life that we had for something different, shiny and new. It all turned out fine in the end, but the first leg of the journey was a little challenging.
The first leg of the first leg after arriving in France via the EuroTunnel was a 1600km drive from Calais to Ancona. With the current climate in the forefront of our minds, the plan had been to limit the amount of stops and just power through, sharing the driving between us. Had there been just the two of us, we would probably have reduced it further from the 5 stops we eventually made. The dog really didn't pose us many issues, but the cat was a trickier customer. With skills that Houdini would have been proud of, she is capable of wriggling out of even the most secure 'escape-free' harness on the market. We'd had a few practice runs in the UK, all of which ended hilariously with her walking like Frankenstein, the unfamiliar restrictions confusing and completely alien to her usual attire of nothing. Even a collar has never lasted longer than a week.
Our first mistake was assuming we could get the cat to go to the toilet on demand. Even typing that now makes me giggle, everyone knows a cat does exactly what they want, when they want to. Taking the cat for a walk with a collar, a harness and 2 leads raised a few eyebrows but there was no way I was going to risk her getting free. Even with the extra restrictions in place we had to watch her like a hawk. One slight downgrade of high-security-visual-contact would see her writhing on the floor trying to get free and making a run for it. We put her litter tray out to make her feel more comfortable but she showed zero interest.
More often than not, my nerves would take a beating and I would just scoop her up and put her back into her comfortable cocoon. Of course, this meant that she would usually wait until we were miles from the next services before 'going toilet'. It is no surprise to me whatsoever that we had no border checks at any time, the ripeness of our cab probably created a ready-brek type visual around the van and nobody in their right mind would have wanted any part of that.
Click here for scratch and sniff. Only joking.
My Husband also got off lightly, after having had 3 nose operations resulting in a severely dampened sense of smell.
I, on the other hand, have a nose capable of sniffing out every spice in a home cooked dish, and spent the entire journey trying to control my also very sensitive gag reflex.
I fully understand the impression I am leaving you all with here, but no tale would be complete without a warts 'n' all type story and in the spirit of full disclosure you should be privvy to the pro's and con's of travelling with a furry family.