Driving to Sweden—day 1: Sunday

We arrived in Malmö at 7 a.m. on Tuesday after 2 days, 3 ferries and 1,000 km of driving.

We had an early start on Sunday, so we had packed everything into the car on Saturday night, ready to go. On the way to Dublin Port we stopped off at Sandymount to give the dogs a short walk.

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Irish Ferries only requires you to be there 30 minutes before the sailing time, but we were there at 7:30 for an 8:45 sailing.

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Driving onto the ferry to Holyhead. The holiday starts here! The dogs stay in the car during the crossing, which only takes 2 hours.

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Approaching the Welsh coast.

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The drive across Wales and England from Holyhead to Hull was leisurely: we had about 10 hours to cover 360 km. We stopped for lunch in the Welsh castle town of Conwy, which is an amazing place (and a UNESCO world heritage site).

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As we drove over the Pennines on the M62, there was a sign saying “M62 summit – highest motorway in England (372 m – 1,221 feet)”. I am always amazed by how rural and green the north of England is.

A stop (and a cache) at a motorway service station in Yorkshire. That’s Ferrybridge power station in the background.

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Arriving in Hull, the stats for the journey so far showed 382 km at 23.4 km/l (65.5 miles per UK gallon).

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For the P&O ferry crossing from Hull to Rotterdam, you have to arrive, and board, at least 90 minutes before departure. In fact, if you wish you can board as early as 4 p.m. for the 8:30 sailing, check into your cabin and enjoy the facilities on board.

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The dogs spend the journey in cages in a locked room on the car deck. Owners are allowed to visit by appointment, before 10 p.m. There is a tiny enclosed area of the car deck allocated for “exercise”, which is a bit of a joke. Unfortunately some of the other dogs were very distressed and making a lot of noise, which in turn distressed all the other dogs. The next morning, when it was time to get the dogs and return to the car, there was a long delay while we waited for security to come and unlock the kennels.

Of all the ferry companies we’ve used, P&O is the least dog-friendly and I wouldn’t recommend it.

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The ship is huge, and the North Sea was uncharacteristically calm, which made for a very comfortable crossing. After a good dinner and a couple of beers while enjoying the song-and-dance show in the bar, it was time to go back to the cabin and get a few hours sleep.

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