Travelling back from Spain and France. My experience.

Armytwowheels

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I was reluctant to post on here about our journey back to the UK from Spain, as these threads get hyjacked by vindictive and non constructive, snips and comments. However, two Funsters said I should, so please folks only constructive and helpful comments on here.

We, as in two couples in two motorhomes with a dog a piece have just returned to the UK (yesterday 1st March) after spending nearly 6 months down in Southern Spain in an apartment. We did our research and carefully planned when and where to get tests done, dogs checked etc. And thought we had all our ducks in order! Due to various problems such as a double tyre blow out and electrical issues with our van, our journey took a bit longer than we thought but hey ho, that's motorhome travel for you.

Our first sticking point to our planned timetable however, was getting the first covid test in Spain before crossing into France. The advertised 24 hour test result turned into 48 hours, bearing in mind you only get 72 hours FROM WHEN THE TEST IS TAKEN, not from receiving the results. Luckily our chosen test lab was only 70k (ish) from where we were crossing into France , through the Somport. All in all we had more than enough time to get over but it was stressfull and frustrating trying to get our results. If we hadn't planned the test in Northern Spain there would have been some really hard driving to do to get out. As one of our travelling companion, the driver of the other motorhome had recently suffered heart problems, we did not want to do super long hard drives.

Anyway, we are now in France where tyre and electrical problems cause further delays. We continue on our way to Normandy and our fluent French speaking companion booked further tests and vet appointments. We have by now changed our Euro tunnel booking to the Caen/Portsmouth route. Getting the tests in France was fairly easy (with a French speaker in our party) but the guy doing the test, a pharmacist had not had to do any test for people leaving the country, did not know what he was doing or what our certificates needed to have on them, we had to tell him.

After that, things went a bit smoother apart from our friends dog having a go at the vet and the vet refusing to look at him, meaning another vet had to be found the next day!!!! In the end with made our crossing and are very relieved to be back.

My reason for posting this sorry tale is to pre warn anyone following to not expect all the offical staff they have to deal with to know what they are doing. Even the port staff didn't seem to know. Our friends were asked for different information to us and told to do different things, even though we were in the same queue.

Do not think for one moment that you will get away without having negative test certificates, we were asked for these at the Somport and Caen border controls, as well as back in the UK at Portsmouth. At the UK ports you will also be asked to show proof that you have booked your test kits and passenger locator forms. We are on day one of Isolation and have already had 2 phone call each to make sure we understand we have to isolate etc. The company supplying the test - are truly shocking, impossible to get hold of and for the price we have to pay Ā£420 per couple have absolutely zero customer service. Our friends test kits have failed to turn up and there is no way to get in contact with them.

I guess I am also trying to say is plan your journey back carefully, but it doesn't mean it will go to plan, but you must have those tests certificates and you must have your passenger locator forms complete.

Was all the above worth it for 6 months in our favourite place in Spain, swimming and cycling whenever we wanted to? Well, yes it was. For us as fulltimers the thought of being on a UK campsite for the whole winter was too horrid to contemplate. Would we do it again NO! Not until all these tests are no longer needed, or the various governments have a better system in place.
 

maz

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Sandra and Colin, thank you for posting this. I am glad to know that you are safely back in the UK, despite all your trials and tribulations. (y)

We will have a similar sort of journey ahead of us later this month, although starting from Italy rather than Spain. Can I ask why you changed your Eurotunnel booking to a ferry crossing? We are planning to use the Eurotunnel.
 
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Thanks for the heads up,it seems it was better to have someone who was fluent in french,it probably made a big difference.
Did the vet gives reason to not check your dog?did you ask about an EU passport for the dog?
 

jumartoo

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I'm glad you posted Sandra. It's good information for fellow travellers about to make similar journeys (the paperwork part, not the tyre or electrical problems).

We still can't believe you were so close to us for 6 months and we never got the chance to cross the borders to meet up. Next time, hopefully šŸ‘, although you'll not get me in the sea šŸ˜‚
 

jumar

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Glad you got back safely Sandra and Colin and thank you for your run down on events...a new motorhoming experience....all credit to you guys for following procedures and managing to overcome all the obstacles put in your way...although we were only 35 minutes away from where you were staying...our lockdowns preventing us all meeting up....another year perhaps...

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Did the vet gives reason to not check your dog?

What, apart from the dog having a go at him?
;)

After that, things went a bit smoother apart from our friends dog having a go at the vet and the vet refusing to look at him, meaning another vet had to be found the next day!!!!
 
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Thanks for sharing your experience,we are sett off back in a couple of weeks, we were booked on the Bilbao - Portsmouth late March but they cancelled it a matter of days after taking the balance of the fare.
We also have a Dog that doesnā€™t tolerate Vets and are dreading the process of going back. Impossible to rebook with a Dog from Bilbao/Santander to a long haul back.

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Tanya_and_Mick

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Good to hear your experience and that you are safely back - as with similar posts, it does show the differing levels of competence amongst staff that we have experienced at the different borders....
 
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Langtoftlad

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My reason for posting this sorry tale is to pre warn anyone following to not expect all the offical staff they have to deal with to know what they are doing. Even the port staff didn't seem to know. Our friends were asked for different information to us and told to do different things, even though we were in the same queue.
TBH, I'm not surprised as the requirements & guidance seems to change from day to day.
 
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I noticed you said you were fulltimers. Can I ask how you will cope with the 10 day quarantine. The regs state you cant leave your property even for shopping or dog walking. Will you have food delivered and dog walkers?

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Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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Can I ask why you changed your Eurotunnel booking to a ferry crossing? We are planning to use the Eurotunnel
Hi Maz. The only reason we changed to the ferry from Caen was because that was what our friends were on and as he had been unwell earlier this year it didn't seem sensible to go our separate ways at this point. No logistical reason, other than cutting the driving down in France and not wanting to risk one of the covid test going out of date, if we had anymore mishaps.
 
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Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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Thanks for the heads up,it seems it was better to have someone who was fluent in french,it probably made a big difference.
Did the vet gives reason to not check your dog?did you ask about an EU passport for the dog?
It was my friends dog, whom is very old and grumpy and despite wearing a muzzle the vet would not touch him.

I didn't ask about an EU passport as I have already obtained one for my dog, but to avoid anymore possible complications she travelled back under her UK passport. As well as the port staff not knowing what was what, neither did the vets to be fair. One guy at check in at Caen told us "you cannot use these pet passports since Brexit" oh yes we can says our French speaker, oh no you can't says check-in guy. Ring your boss says our French speaker!!! Turns out the check in guy spoke really good English but wouldn't. Anyway, that little problem was resolved and on we went. We was right and he was wrong.
 
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Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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I'm glad you posted Sandra. It's good information for fellow travellers about to make similar journeys (the paperwork part, not the tyre or electrical problems).

We still can't believe you were so close to us for 6 months and we never got the chance to cross the borders to meet up. Next time, hopefully šŸ‘, although you'll not get me in the sea šŸ˜‚
Every time we even thought about meeting up we went into our separate municipal lockdown! Fate decreed we should not meet this time.

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Thankyou for sharing this info. We really want to get back to France, Germany and Spain,but at this moment in time I don't think I could face all the hassle of the tests etc. We are due for our second vaccination soon.
 

maz

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Hi Maz. The only reason we changed to the ferry from Caen was because that was what our friends were on and as he had been unwell earlier this year it didn't seem sensible to go our separate ways at this point. No logistical reason, other than cutting the driving down in France and not wanting to risk one of the covid test going out of date, if we had anymore mishaps.
Ok, that makes sense. Thank you. :Smile:
 
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Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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I noticed you said you were fulltimers. Can I ask how you will cope with the 10 day quarantine. The regs state you cant leave your property even for shopping or dog walking. Will you have food delivered and dog walkers?
We are fortunate enough to be able to isolate with the friends we travelled with at their place. They have a 2 acre field for dog walking and we have access to water, waste and electric. In payment for our stay we are sorting out the gateway to the field as it is due to become Motorhome Funs latest CL. Watch this space if you want a holiday in Norfolk, near Bacton.

Oh yes, also have a food delivery booked from Sainsbury's. I had to tick a box to say we are isolating and plan to put the wheelbarrow by the gate for the shopping to be off loaded into, or some such similar plan. We came back loaded to the gunnels with food anyway.

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Armytwowheels

Armytwowheels

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Thankyou for sharing this info. We really want to get back to France, Germany and Spain,but at this moment in time I don't think I could face all the hassle of the tests etc. We are due for our second vaccination soon.
I don't think I could face all that hassle again either.
 
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We came back end of January, no problems with the covid test in France infact really good totally free.No problems with the pet passport as still valid going home,our issue was 12 hour delay at Euro tunnel due to others not complying with paperwork foreign nationals and of course French border force reminding us of brexit ! I was amazed no body contacted us regarding the locator form . A good post and I agree I wont be going to europe this year to much hassle.
 
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We are fortunate enough to be able to isolate with the friends we travelled with at their place. They have a 2 acre field for dog walking and we have access to water, waste and electric. In payment for our stay we are sorting out the gateway to the field as it is due to become Motorhome Funs latest CL. Watch this space if you want a holiday in Norfolk, near Bacton.

Oh yes, also have a food delivery booked from Sainsbury's. I had to tick a box to say we are isolating and plan to put the wheelbarrow by the gate for the shopping to be off loaded into, or some such similar plan. We came back loaded to the gunnels with food anyway.
Excellent.šŸ‘It was a fear of mine, when I was thinking of going away last year! More for taking the dog out then anything else.

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Glad uz all got back ok, i head back end of month via Santander,but an old boy next to me on the campsite is leaving next week and going via France. He is having bother getting a pcr test arranged in northen Spain, (he wants to cross ,poss at somp tunnel )can i ask where uz had your test done prior to entering France. Thanks in advance.
Cheers Cris.
 

Bolti

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I arrived back on Thursday 25th Feb,were meant to return end of March but ferry cancelled by Brittany ferries.
Friday night two cops came banging on the door, after a lengthy discussion and showing we had no missed calls on our phone, they went away happy.
Apparently the powers that be had tried to contact us and receiving no reply had sent the rozzers around.
 

Bolti

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Glad uz all got back ok, i head back end of month via Santander,but an old boy next to me on the campsite is leaving next week and going via France. He is having bother getting a pcr test arranged in northen Spain, (he wants to cross ,poss at somp tunnel )can i ask where uz had your test done prior to entering France. Thanks in advance.
Cheers Cris.
There seems to be two main operators of covid testing in Spain.
Medmesafe who are a middleman and book you into a clinic of your choice.
Quiron who run a lot of private hospitals, we went to the hospital just outside Madrid it cost more to just turn up, paid 60 euros, 40 euro's to book online.

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Dec 24, 2014
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Friday night two cops came banging on the door, ......
Two! šŸ˜Æ

I rarely see one in two months or longer. Couldn't even get one when I called 999 to report a scrote trying to make off with my neighbour's folding trailer tent. ..........."No-one available. We'll give you an incident number and someone will call tomorrow for a statement". I never heard another thing.
 

Jenben

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Thanks for sharing your experiences , I know you were reticent about posting due to the nay sayers but itā€™s helpful to have travel information.

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Aug 3, 2018
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There seems to be two main operators of covid testing in Spain.
Medmesafe who are a middleman and book you into a clinic of your choice.
Quiron who run a lot of private hospitals, we went to the hospital just outside Madrid it cost more to just turn up, paid 60 euros, 40 euro's to book online.
Hi thanks for that, he,s been trying to get through to quiron and sent an e-mail, but no reply yet guess he will have to g keep trying. Thanks again for the reply.
Cheers Cris.
 

Bolti

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Hi thanks for that, he,s been trying to get through to quiron and sent an e-mail, but no reply yet guess he will have to g keep trying. Thanks again for the reply.
Cheers Cris.
Yes we emailed with no response, also tried phoning same thing.
Turned up at the hospital on the off chance, walked straight in and was tested. Results available on website next morning.
If your friend is in alicante area imed hospitals also do tests.

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