With all Ouzo’s documents ready to go it was time to leave Greece and head back home for Christmas.
On our previous blog we mentioned that the best route back home from Greece to avoid high risk rabies countries was to catch a ferry to Italy, which was a 10hr journey. When traveling with pets on the ferries you have a few options. If traveling in summer with a camper van you can actually stay in your camper and have access to the deck above. However, in winter they don’t offer this option so you can either put your dog in kennels on the ferry, but they are often at the back of the boat where its noisy and smelly. You can have deck seats and sit outside….a bit long for a 10 hour night journey. So the last option which is the one we took, was to purchase a pet cabin. Basically its like a normal two bed cabin with ensuite but the floor isn’t carpeted, and you pay more for it.
We took about 10 days to get to Calais through Italy seeing a few sights along the way including Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany and Monte Carlo.
Every where we went in Italy with Ouzo we were swamped by doating Italians falling in love with him. They would even stop their car and wind down the window leaning out to give him a kiss. We often heard the Italian word ‘piccolo’ which translated means young / small, but can also mean pygmy or puny…I’m sure they were meaning the first not the later! He even got to visit the inside of an ambulance and meet the crew while they were waiting on call.
When we entered Monaco the armed police pulled us over to carry out a spot check. They wanted to have a look inside the van, so the officer asked me to get out and open the sliding door. However, at the time I had Ouzo on my lap and was struggling to get my seat belt off so I passed Ouzo out of the window for him to hold. This was quite comical as he was holding Ouzo out at arms length because he had an AK47 across his chest, and he looked a little taken back by the whole situation….I was tempted to ask if I could take a photo, but thought that might be pushing it!
When we got to Calais we had a choice of either catching the ferry or the Euro tunnel. We opted for the Euro tunnel as the ferry requires you to leave your dog alone in the car. It was my first trip on the Euro tunnel as well, and I have to say although its not as romantic as seeing the white cliffs of Dover on your arrival, its a lot faster and easier. You drive onto the train in France and 45mins later you’re driving off in England (on the other side of the road of course). Before you board you have to take your pet to pet customs where they check over all the paperwork….and it was as easy as that! Ouzo was totally unphased and slept through the entire train journey, but for my partner and I it was a huge relief to finally have him safe and sound in the UK.
On arriving home Ouzo was hilarious, racing around the house, checking out every nook and cranny, I imagine it was his first experience of having free reign of a house before. He has had a pretty eventful first 4 months of his life, where he’s travelled over 2000 miles and been to 7 different countries, seen ancient ruins and mountain monasteries, walked in old walled towns, run on beautiful beaches and has even experienced snow.
He has totally settled in now and has made friends with his Great Auntie Charlotte our 80yr old tortoise, and has already made some friends at the RSPCA Radcliffe Animal Centre when he comes into work. He’s becoming a bit of a celebrity as he’s already starred in the Centre’s Shoe box appeal video and has been invited to visit BBC Nottingham Radio.