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Members Area This forum is both for new members to say hello and introduce theirselves and for ALL members to post when they are coming out to PP, arrange forum meet-ups etc. But please don't post anything here that would be better suited to the more specific forums.

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  #1  
Old 30-10-2015, 08:13
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So having spoken so many times over the years we decided as our stay will be a longer one we will take our little princess and make the drive. Much of the hesitation has been that our little Kelsea is very much a princess much to our making I must admit. 13.5 years of age we took her on as a rescue dog at 2 having already had 2 other homes. The many problems she had we ironed out and she has become our baby who we adore. Ok pass the bucket for those who are not dog lovers but those who are will know clearly where I am coming from! Having decided to bring her we looked into so many different ways of getting her here, including flying! Kelsea in the hold was a non runner - Kelsea sitting on my lap was much more the ideal but a golden cocker spaniel weighs much more than the allowed 8kg (including cage) so again a non runner unless a very strict diet. lol We spoke with a forum member who helped us very much with his experiences with bringing his dog and were very grateful for his help and suggestions. The thought of putting Kelsea in a cage and leaving her alone for 7/8 hours worried us as she panics. We wondered if she would make the journey. 5 minutes out of sight and she has withdrawal problems. So what do we do? The thought of hours driving through France with someone who still considers himself to be a young boy in a mini gave me nightmares! Eventually after much thought and research we decided the best route for us would be to minimise the driving and maximise the time Kelsea would be with us. So from Essex we drove last Tuesday evening to Portsmouth for the ferry to Bilbao. We paid extra to have one of the limited dog friendly cabins which was lovely. Kelsea even had a doggy goodie bag left for her. (Ok I know - put that bucket down!!) There were outside walking areas and she had her own space in the cabin for her bed. All was great and should we do this again without a dog my husband said he will book me in under the name of Fido! Speaking to some it seems the doggy cabins were superior to the general cabins. Ok She cost much more than us but hey she's our baby!
We set sail at 11am Tuesday arriving Bilbao 2pm Wednesday. Excellent is the only way to describe but facilities on board fairly limited. Take your own picnic is the best idea.

We arrived in Bilbao Wednesday with a very happy Kelsea and us feeling quite refreshed from a good nights sleep. Now for the horrid part - I hate the drive - it was roughly 600km to Barcelona so could be done at a push in a day but we decided to take 2 days and see a bit of the place. Not much to see really as many areas on route quite industrial. Eventually we found a nice hotel which again was dog friendly. I believe it was a member of the AS group - very adequate, clean with a nice restaurant. We were outside Barcelona but what was interesting was that the hotel had it's own secure parking. We were in the main carpark but were advised to move our car quickly into this secure area for safety. I suppose no different from the UK but when abroad this hits you on how careful you need to be.

Another good night and another morning of a contented Kelsea. We can not believe just how good she has been and how she is just so happy to be with us. You just wait a few more hours Kelsea - the cage awaits! So we spend the day in Barcelona before the night ferry to Palma. How the car stayed in one piece I have no idea - traffic seemed to come from every direction. My heart was in my mouth so many times. I remember this from a previous visit but then it was a hire car and not ours!! I couldn't wait for the day to end and for us to be on our final route. We were told that the gates opened around 6 to enter the ferry area so we decided to get there around that time. More for safety and sanity reasons. At this time we became a little lost and found ourselves driving up the wrong way along a one way street!! YEK this is Barcelona! You know they say that when in trouble your angel will appear to help - well ours did! In the form of a lovely old Spanish guy on a moped (where did he come from??) He stopped and in good English he asked where we (hoped) to get to. We explained to which he told us to turn and follow him. (THIS is Barcelona!! are we going to be shot??) This wonderful angel took us to the check in office of the ferry and showed us where to park safely. With that and a wave he was gone.

The night ferry leaves around 11 arriving in Palma around 7ish the following morning. A long night and no cabin this time and yes a cage for Kelsea. Actually the cage was fine and all the calming pills I had bought were not needed. (for me or for Kelsea??)
The cage was big enough for a bear - ok slight exaggeration - a large dog then! There where a few of them but just her and 2 other dogs inside what they call the 'dog house'. This was similar to a large container cabin and had heating and cooling for in the summer. A tap for water and was on a walking area. Kelsea was not at all happy to go in but having her bed helped. My husband stayed with her until she settled and all was good. Not as bad as our thoughts allowed. I'm sure she had a better night than us actually as quite uncomfortable in the seating area. No shops etc open during the night. I think just a couple of hours, so again quite basic so take your own picnic.

We went to kelsea at around 5 taking her from her cage to watch us make our way in to Palma. The view although still dark was lovely to see with all the lights. By the time we reached our destination it was light and we felt relieved to 'be home'. That feeling of never getting there was disappearing fast. It was great to drive from that ship knowing that in just one hour we would be in our villa.

Kelsea ran in the house as if she had been here before - maybe in a different life - who knows. We haven't looked back!

As for the journey would we do it again? emmmm - only if we have to and only with our dog. It was very expensive compared to a cheap Easyjet flight when adding the cost of dog passports, insurance, dog friendly cabins, hotels etc etc Now we just need to worry about the journey home but not just yet! As my husband says I am only happy when I have something to worry about! I have a big smile on my face!! Now to enjoy!
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Last edited by eleanor; 30-10-2015 at 11:28.
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Old 30-10-2015, 10:33
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So pleased you made it in one piece Eleanor and I hope you and Kelsea enjoy a well deserved break in PP . Thanks for sharing your experience, it was so good to read about the guy who helped you in Barcelona, just goes to show there really are some nice people living there, we only get to read about the bad ones .
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Old 30-10-2015, 10:40
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Thank you Eleanor for the brilliant write up.

Enjoy your stay with Kelsea
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Old 30-10-2015, 10:45
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The things we do for our pets! I enjoyed your post, Eleanor - it made me smile! Trouble is, now that you've introduced Kelsea to the delights of overseas travel she'll want to come every time. Have a great time.
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Old 30-10-2015, 11:04
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What a great read Eleanor and a lovely adventure for Kelsea at her ripe old age. I'm sure she's going to love PP as much as we all do. Enjoy yourselves and remember to introduce her to 'my' puppy
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Old 30-10-2015, 12:36
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Hi
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your journey, and understand totally your worries regarding dog transportation. I too would like to bring my dogs when we come for longer periods and your step by step account has made me feel braver
with regards to tackling the journey. We have a three year old golden retriever and a two year old goldendoodle so could be quite a tussle. We are coming for five days for a quick visit on Sunday and will look out for you so I can have my doggie fix.
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Old 30-10-2015, 17:01
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Thank you all for your lovely comments. Sparky you are so right! The majority of people in this world are kind and helpful. It is the minority which make us think and put us on our guard. We were so pleased our 'angel' came to our aid.
Debz We showed Kelsea your puppy just this afternoon. Sorry to say she was more interested in the food on the table next to us lol Without doubt she is loving her stay in Pollensa. Speaking to someone this afternoon and apparently golden cocker spaniels came from Spain! Might explain why she feels so at home. Family Ordonez you are welcome to give Kelsea a hug anytime. She is adoring all the attention. Bless her!
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Old 30-10-2015, 22:37
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Excellent write up eleanor! We look forward to chatting to Kelsea soon and getting her take on things too! Or maybe just a lick and wag of the tail! 😉
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Old 30-10-2015, 23:22
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Look forward to getting together Bella and Kelsea is very excited too! Well it means the fridge door may open!! Thinking of writing a blog of the trip through the eyes of Kelsea - I read her well! lol
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Old 02-11-2015, 18:56
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Hi Eleanor we are driving to Pollensa in about 4 weeks time and are bringing our 2 pups 16 and 20 weeks old, the thought of leaving them for 7/8 hours in a cage on the ferry is totally freaking me out, which ferry did you use and are you allowed to stay with them for the duration of the journey? are they safely locked in the cage and is there security guards on duty? i know im being a complete wuss about leaving them but they are my new babies.
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Old 02-11-2015, 20:06
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Hi Mrs Lizard. I totally understand where you are coming from as Kelsea is the other end of the scale - an old lady of 13.5 . I convinced myself she wouldn't make the journey and looked into every way possible to get her to PP without a separation or a cage. The ferry to Bilbao was fine as she was able to be with us in the cabin. We used Trasmediterranea from Barcelona to Palma as we had been recommended that they were the better out of the two for taking a dog. Your dogs are very young so perhaps your vet maybe able to give them something to calm them. I know they prescribe for those which worry about fireworks. Your dogs will need to go into the cage on this ferry. There is no way around this believe me I tried! You go to reception with your dog on the boat and pay £5 for a key to their cage. Your dogs maybe able to go into one cage which will be better for them. There are no guards to supervise and the responsibility is yours. The cages are inside a container type of building. A little like those used for temporary offices. They are heated and there is a tap for water, It is in an area where you can walk your dogs. The container itself is not locked as you need access to your dogs. I took Kelsea's bed and obviously her water and food bowls. She wasn't happy to enter the cage but after a while was fine and went to sleep. (It was night time). As for staying with your dogs - you could sit inside the cabin with them but quite honestly it would be very uncomfortable for you on the long crossing. We kept returning to check Kelsea was ok but didn't bother to disturb her for walking as she was asleep until around 5 when we did let her out.
I think you will find your dogs will be fine. They will be together and being night time they should sleep.
I wonder if perhaps buying a cage and getting them used to going in may help put your mind at rest? Or have a chat with your vet to see if he can give you something to calm. I assume you have their passports and they have had the necessary jabs. Oh the other thing is to be aware exactly where their micro-chip is. You are handed the scanner for it to read the number at the ferry. It took me a while to find Kelsea!s lol
If I can help further do please pm me. Kelsea is enjoying her stay here very much and the cage is a distant memory - until we return home!!
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Old 02-11-2015, 20:13
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Forgot to mention that the £5 for the key to the cage is refundable. We were lucky as only 2 other dogs were in the unit. I would suggest that you take the key back to reception way before docking at Palma as there will be a queue of people waiting at reception for various other reasons. Not sure if they had cabins and were returning keys etc. You don't want to wait in a queue with the puppies for too long. I hope your pups love PP as much as Kelsea does!
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Last edited by eleanor; 02-11-2015 at 20:23.
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Old 03-11-2015, 20:33
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Thanks for the info it has put my mind a rest a bit, they are used to a cage already weve been using it in the car ready for the journey, we have doggy passports and all jabs upto date. We are planning to travel through the chanel tunel and taking a couple of weeks to travel through france and spain but that all depends on the pups it might be the case that we get to pollensa asap. I have noticed that there is a ferry from barcelona to alcudia is it any quicker/ cheaper or is the one to palma a better option?
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Old 03-11-2015, 21:41
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I'm sure your pups will be fine especially as they are used to a cage already. The Alcudia option wasn't available to us at the time. it may well be that it is a summer only ferry? I remember my husband looking into it and him saying it was a non runner! Once of the other reasons we decided on the Portsmouth Bilbao route rather than the train and drive through France was at the time of travel there were closures on the tunnel due to the Calais situation. We didn't want the added stress to us or Kelsea should there be a problem.
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanor View Post
The Alcudia option wasn't available to us at the time. it may well be that it is a summer only ferry?
I can confirm that the Barcelona - Alcudia ferry only runs in the summer months. Also, if you're planning a winter trip, factor in the weather conditions if you plan to drive through France from Calais.
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