Is travelling by ferry less traumatic with an ostomy?
The majority of the time when I go abroad, I typically go in a tin can on wings. I always find that the panic of packing stoma supplies and getting them through security, plus the added anxiety of going through a body scanner and the amount of time it takes waiting to the board the plane, can take its toll. Travelling isn’t always enjoyable and I find it’s a bit of a tedious experience. Not to mention, you probably spend about 10+ hours travelling before you actually hit the final destination.
Travelling to Bruges
Apart from the 5am wake up call, travelling by ferry is a breeze. Passport control just involves you winding down the car window, showing your passports and boarding pass and then off you go and load onto the boat. I love this way of travelling as there are no pat downs, no explaining why you have scissors in your carry on and best of all the toilet facilities on a boat are massive.
Ferry journey was an hour and twenty minutes, so I hit duty free and left the boat with two litres of Disaronno. I may have been swigging from the bottle on the boat…
It took us an hour to drive from Calais to Bruges and then we parked up and went to explore the lovely scenery, as we couldn’t check into our Airbnb until 3pm.
We spent time trying out alcohol tasters in the bottle shop and I purchased a box of 30 chocolates from a place that makes them by hand. Suffice to say, that box didn’t make it back home.
We went to Bruges’ only brewery, Brouwerij de Halve Maan, and took part in the tour. This tour was absolutely fascinating – especially if you like beer, and I would recommend you check it out, if you should ever go to Bruges.
We of course had to locate toilets, as two ostomates and a fellow Chronie made up our little quartet. Bruges isn’t overly big on public toilets and I don’t think we actually saw any. Mind you, by 2:30pm some of us were slightly pickled and required a ‘Nana’ nap back at base camp. Before you panic about the lack of public facilities, there are many a restaurant and bar that have them by the square and it’s also a good excuse to have a cheeky sit down and a pint.
After my ‘Nana’ nap, we went out and explored the nightlife of Bruges and pretty much spent it on a bar hop to try out as many beers as possible. A lovely meal and a broken Delirium glass later, we headed back as wanted to sample the local waffles for breakfast and we had to be on the road for 11am. Most of us made it out of there relatively unscathed. I did manage to crack my head on a low beam on the Saturday night and then managed to fall down a flight of stairs in the car park. My stoma kit saved me from breaking my wrist, but I was left with a swollen and bruised knee.
Four of us went in and only three made it out alive. James, bless him, may have over indulged both with the whiskey samples and the Belgian beer and his head did not appreciate that. The ferry home was enough to send even the most seasoned of sea traveller’s tummy into a riot, so I can imagine that it didn’t help his delicate state.
I highly recommend ferry travel. We are going to Amsterdam later this year, so I will keep you updated with our shenanigans.
Many thanks for reading,
This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine.