Posted by: Team McSlade | April 24, 2010

Volcanic refugees – no more…

So the Volcanic refugees have arrived in four pieces, fairly happy and relieved at making the trek from London to Almísera. Below is Kate’s Farçebook update that captures the ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ (sans John Candy and his ‘pillows’) of the saga:

Kate Slade 5 days. 6 cabs. 5 trains. 1 bus. 1 ferry. 2 car hires. $3000 and lots of walking and running = total distance travelled through Europe….an epic… 1800kms. Very proud of the Slades. Casa Vernisa and Casa Cara are beautiful & so is the company of team McSlade’s.

In addition, I (Ryan) had to head to Valencia airport to collect their hire car to get them from the Valencia Nord Train station, but that’s the beginning…

As we headed for Almísera on the final leg, Matt and Kate helped out with a few extra details on the trip down from London. In no particular order: Luca (age 4) stated, when they all awoke in the hire car used for the Paris to Perpignan leg out the front of The Mecure that “I want to go inside.”
Matt replied “So do I!”

After taking a midnight ferry (that many naysayers in London said they would not get on) from Dover to Calais, they slept in a ferry docking station with Naite (age 2) literally packing down in a suitcase, with a few jumpers and t-shirts as blanket and pillows. Kate said it was her Pursuit of Happiness moment. Luca was crammed into a pram and Matt and Kate barely kipped.

In Paris, they went to their hotel (reclaiming their cancelled night) and Matt ran laps of the city looking for car, bus or train out of Paris and heading south, while Kate smashed through internet sites trying to find something. Jo was on the job here, with Euro-train companies saying to book online, but those sites were crashing and pointing you to the stations for booking, who were saying don’t come here, book online. Chaos.

 For a lazy 238 euros the one way to Perpignan car was rented and used for only 21 hours.

Three days of ‘promising’ Luca that he’d see Zach and Jess the next day, the poor lad was broken. However, Naite managed to wake fresh and draw on car windows with his fingers and giggle away the days.

Finally, at the Valencia train station when I was collecting the four off of the Barcelona train, I asked (in Spanish) if I could help my brother-in-law and his family with their baggage?;
“No”, was the answer from Pedro in the bright yellow vest, “unless I was to go to the front counter, sign a few forms, get a sticker for my shirt, come back, dance a three corner square dance….
Back to me and “de nada” (no worries), they are behind you now, Squire, with two small kids, three big suitcases, two backpacks, a small bag, a pram and a story that will definitely rival most other’s travel stories of what went wrong on my trip.

Bring on the travel insurance claim..

Now, they’ve got back in the car and headed for Madrid, Zaragoza and Barcelona. At least this time they have all hotels booked, transport sorted and a few days rest.



  1. What an epic – well done Team Slade Jnr!

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