Stranded In St. Malo

Greetings from St. Malo, France. Travel since leaving Oslo has been a challenge even when I tell my self this is an adventure.  My train on Saturday to Mont St-Michel was on time, the bus was on time and I arrived at my hotel about an hour before check in time.  So I left my baggage at the hotel and walked across the street and had some lunch.  

As soon as I checked in I asked about buses to St. Malo since I had an 8:00 AM ferry to Jersey today  The person at the desk looked up the bus schedule and told me that there is only one bus that goes to St. Malo and that was at 3:45 PM.  That meant I would miss my ferry.  No problem I’ll just go on the web and change my reservation.  However, the internet connection at my hotel was equivalent to a 1200 baud dial up modem.  Essentially it was useless.  So I tried calling the ferry line but by the time I was able to get the call to go through they had closed.  No problem I’ll call Sunday morning.  Sunday morning came and I called at 8:00 AM French time.  Turns out the ferry office is in London and London is one hour behind France.  So I waited till 9:00 AM France time or Central European Time and got through.  I explained the situation and the person on the other line told be that I could change the reservation but because it was now less than 24 hours before my scheduled departure, I would have to pay a 30 Euro change fee.  That’s a $41.00 penalty.  OK so I paid it and changed the reservation to catch the last ferry to Jersey for 5:35 PM.  I did some calculations.  The bus leaves Mont St-Michel at 3:45 and arrives in St. Malo at 4:45 PM.  It’s a five minute cab ride to the port I am told by everyone I spoke to.  So that should give me plenty of time to make the ferry.

Today I stayed in my hotel room until I had to check out.  They were gracious enough to allow me to sit in the lobby so I finished posting my pictures to my web program so it would be ready to upload when I got to Jersey later in the day.  At around 3:00 PM I put my backpack on and took my carryon suitcase and small athletic bag to the very large parking lot where everyone has to park their car and where every tourist bus and public transport bus must go in order to discharge and pick up passengers.  I got to the parking lot and went to the tourist office to find out exactly where I would catch the bus.  We looked at the schedule where it said the bus would arrive at 3:45 in Parking Lot Number 7.  I was feeling pretty good about this and excited to be taking a ferry to Jersey.  I was at the appointed place at about 3:30 PM.  While I was there several other people came along asking me if this was where the bus to St. Malo would arrive.  I told everyone who asked and showed them the schedule and we all agreed that we were in the right place.  Well, as I’m sure you have already figured out, 3:45 came and there was no bus.  3:50 came and there was no bus.  3:55 came and there was no bus.  At 4:00 PM I decided to walk back to the tourist information center to see if I could find out where the bus was.  I was already beginning to think I would not make this second ferry.  Across from the tourist office a bus appeared.  I wasn’t sure it was going to St. Malo but it was the same bus line that I was supposed to take.  I asked the driver if he was going to St. Malo and he said no but that he was going to the train station at Dol-de-Bretagne and it was just a 15 minute train ride to St. Malo.  Maybe I would still make it.  I got to the station at about 4:30.  I had an hour and five minutes before the last ferry of the day would leave to Jersey.  I asked the station master when the next train to St. Malo was.  He told me 5:14 which would get me to St. Malo station at 5:30.  That would give me five minutes to get a cab and get to the port and get on the ferry.  I knew I would never make it.  So I called the ferry company to see if they would hold the ferry for an extra ten to fifteen minutes.  HA HA HA.  But I did ask and the person Iand actually said she would check to see if that was possible.  Believe me I wasn’t getting my hopes up and I was already resigned that Jersey was not going to happen.  I would just have to find a hotel in St. Malo for the night and head back to Paris tomorrow,  It also meant having to pay for at least one nights lodging in Jersey even though I wasn’t physically able to get there.  The agent at the ferry got back on the line and told me that the ferry could not wait.  I said that I would take a taxi to the port and see what alternatives, if any, I had.  I called my hotel in Jersey (I can’t wait to see my mobile phone bill.  I used more minutes on this trip than I usually use in 3 months at home.) The person at the hotel in Jersey said they would try to get me on a slower ferry to Jersey this evening and to wait at the train station and they would call me back,  That would not be an issue since, much like last Wednesday evening there were no cabs at the station.  Did I mention it was pouring rain in St. Malo and I got really wet because my rain jacket and umbrella were locked in my suitcase?  Well, the hotel called and said they could not book me on a ferry this evening but did book me on a ferry leaving tomorrow at 7:00 AM.  So in trying to salvage something out of this excursion I caught a cab and asked the very nice cab driver who drove a 2014 BMW 320d station wagon M Sport edition if he knew of a hotel near the port that wasn’t to expensive.  He knew of one and took me there and here I am about a half mile from the port in a guest house at 65 Euros a night including breakfast although with my ferry leaving at 7:00 AM and breakfast being served at 6:30 I’ll skip breakfast because I do not want to miss my ferry.  I’ll be out of here at 6:15 tomorrow morning.

Of course I’ll update you perhaps as early as tomorrow evening as long as I have a decent internet connection.

1.Louis.skypala@verizon.net © Louis M. Skypala 2014