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On my recent trip to Brittany the ferry was very busy with both vehicles and foot passengers. Hardly surprising, as people stranded by the flight ban were, of course, taking to the sea instead.

On my recent trip to Brittany the ferry was very busy with both vehicles and foot passengers. Hardly surprising, as people stranded by the flight ban were, of course, taking to the sea instead.

Sea travel seems normal to me as I once lived on a Greek island and had to get a boat to go anywhere, but I was still reminded of just how easy and pleasant it is. On our outward journey from Portsmouth to Le Havre with LD Ferries we travelled overnight and managed to sleep well in calm seas. For the return we allowed time to stop in gorgeous Honfleur and resisted an expensive harbour view to enjoy one of those typically fantastic French lunches at a little restaurant called Relais des Cyclistes, close to the tourist information office. I can heartily recommend the set menu of three generous courses for just 12.50 euro, made all the more delectable for being eaten outside in warm sunshine.

Once on board, the five hour crossing seemed to fly by. We found a nice sheltered spot on the top deck, watched the port and town disappear, dozed in warm sunshine, came inside, chatted and played cards and watched a glorious sunset across the sea. Ferry companies report increased bookings this summer after the ash crisis and no doubt train services to France will be popular too. If you’ve never tried these alternatives to flying, perhaps now is the time to –er- take the plunge?