Trip Planning: Dog Holiday – Belgium Farmer Blockades

Taking the dog on his first Continental holiday means jettisoning our usual foot lose and fancy free style. 

Also, Belgian farmers restart road block protests, uncomfortably close to the Belgian Grand Prix circuit at Spa. Charity pair face the music in Iceland after alleged illegal off-roading. The first results are in from the European anti-speed week campaign, and from Spain’s DUI blitz.

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TRIP PLANNING: DOG HOLIDAY

Nervous about hotels but crossing the Channel seems easy enough.

DSC_0498 (3) (2)

Photo @DriveEurope

Hopefully it will be great to take the dog on holiday but the first victim is already spontaneity.

Unlike our usual vaguely plotted, care-free improvised affairs, this one is having to be rigidly planned in advance.

We have even booked the channel crossings: Eurotunnel on the way out (£100) because he stays in the car with us, and Brittany Ferries on the way back (£595) because they have dog-friendly cabins.

Actually, crossing the Channel seems like the easy bit. Apart from the pet passport – including rabies jabs and positive antibody blood test – parvovirus and ticks, the only thing to worry about is the way back.

Within five days of arriving back in the UK, but not less than 24 hours, he needs a vet-certified tapeworm treatment.

Finding a clued-up English speaking vet will no doubt be a stress but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

The big issue is where to stay. Luckily Continental hotels seem quite accepting of pets in general. Normally we’d rock up wherever and whenever but we don’t fancy doing that with a dog in tow.

Three weeks out we’ve only found one place which satisfies all our requirements, beside Lake Annecy, but at least they only charge a reasonable €17 per night extra for the animal.

The idea is to stay in three or four places, for a few days each, to cut down on long drives as we head south from the Sauerland in Germany to northern Spain via the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Rather than steam through ten mountain passes each day, like we have done, we’ll take it much easier, explore a bit, go on massive walks and, hopefully, swim in some Alpine lakes… while ticking off some of the big mountain roads we haven’t driven yet.

That’s the plan. Of course it won’t turn out like that. The problem is, if it doesn’t, we’re stuffed.

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Belgian farmers reasserted themselves in style last night with a blockade of the E40 junction outside Liege. A column later moved in slow-time westwards to the local airport. This morning the action shifted south to the Brussels-Luxembourg A4 with a full scale block in which only cars were allowed through, slowly, and – briefly – on the A15 near Charleroi, above. The next stages are not clear yet - more strikes are expected between now and a meeting in Brussels on Monday 7 September - but the current focus is uncomfortably close to the Belgian Grand Prix circuit at Spa. Farmers could not wish for a higher-profile target as thousands of cars converge for the weekend. Watch this space.

Belgian farmers reasserted themselves last night with a blockade of the E40 junction outside Liege. A column later moved in slow-time to the local airport. This morning the action shifted south to the Brussels-Luxembourg A4 with a full scale block in which only cars were allowed through and – briefly – on the A15 near Charleroi, above. The next stages are not clear – more strikes are expected between now and a meeting in Brussels on Monday 7 September – but the current focus is uncomfortably close to the Belgian Grand Prix circuit at Spa. Farmers could not wish for a higher-profile target as thousands of cars converge for the weekend. Watch this space. See alternative routes to the circuit here. Excellent update from F1 writer Joe Saward who says Bernie Ecclestone headed off trouble with the farmers by inviting them into the paddock, with a cow, to publicise their concerns on milk prices.

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roundup: ICELAND. It was more a case of hung-ho ignorance than wilful vandalism we thought yesterday, but the two Scottish former-servicemen on an adventure drive around Iceland have not helped themselves by apparently taking down allegedly incriminating footage from their website (in fact the site is now down completely). Matthew McHugh and Rhys Rowlands are on ‘Operation Ragnorok’ across the country, including summiting a series of volcanoes, in aid of Poppy Scotland, a charity for veterans. Outraged locals inundated the Ragnarok website with comments yesterday after it emerged the pair might not have observed Iceland’s strict no off-roading rules. However, the pair firmly deny this according to Iceland Magazine, and put the trouble down to an ‘ill-informed individual’. They have reportedly now handed themselves in to police. ANTI-SPEED WEEK. The first results are in from the European police federation’s anti-speed week. Nearly 4000 drivers were caught in Finland on Monday, of which only 54 were bikers, 21 truckers and four bus drivers. Police say the advance notice didn’t seem to have any effect on speeds reports Finland Times. Fines in Finland are infamously based on a person’s disposable income. Meanwhile in France, police recorded 285 offences in just two hours on the French Riviera thereby illustrating the current struggle with road safety says Autoroute.info. Of those 130 were speeding, 17 jumped red lights and 26 were on the phone. The last time European police concentrated on speeding for a week, last August, 580,000 drivers were prosecuted in 28 EU countries. Meanwhile, an – unrelated – drugs and alcohol action in Spain last week saw 151,104 drivers tested of which 2,405 gave positive tests says roads manager @DGTes – 1919 for drink, 486 for drugs – an overall strike rate of 1.6%.

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3 thoughts on “Trip Planning: Dog Holiday – Belgium Farmer Blockades

  1. We travel every summer from Scotland to the North of Sweden through five countries with our dogs and have never had a single problem. In fact you get the impression that because dog ownership is much lower in mainland Europe you are treated as a bit of a rarity. In most places you are welcome in restaurants with your dog so never be afraid to ask. For all its pretensions I think the UK isn’t really that dog-friendly. Our dogs got photoed by a gang of Chinese tourists on the Helsingborg to Helsingor ferry last week and then by a party of Germans on Rudby-Puttgarden. Like you we were very nervous travelling first time with the dogs, but don’t be and enjoy all the opportunities he/she will bring you to make contact with the locals wherever you are.

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