There and almost not back again: Holidays with Hindrances

Ahhh, a holiday trip. The thing you’re looking forward to all year. And this year it was extra special, because we went to Ireland. And Ireland is amazing. And Ireland was amazing, but, well, let#s get started at the beginning of a road trip where you’d have dismissed the movie plot as not realistic.

The first day of travel went ahead really well. We made it up almost to Cherbourg and decided to go looking for a campsite. We found one at “Utah Beach” and arrived just right for their weekly mussels night at the restaurant. The next day we set out for the ferry and of course we arrived with hours to spare. This was when our first car troubles started, which were a blessing in disguise. See, when people start getting serious with each other, there’s certain things they can combine, like some insurances and stuff. Back in the day, I asked Mr if he had a membership to some road assistance or if I should get one, now that my parents could no longer claim me on theirs. He assured me that this was taken care of by the car company. Now when it was time to start the car again, our battery died and my husband found out that his car company road assistance had run out when the car turned 10 or so. After the nice people from the port helped us out, I told him that I was now getting some damn road assistance and signed up on the spot.

Well, in Rosslare we got off the ferry and set out for Kilarney the engine went into safety mode. We drove to the next garage who told us “no way, I got time in 3 weeks, try the next town”. By some luck, whatever had annoyed the engine had stopped and we could go to Kilarney. next day we went to a Peugeot garage, the guy there read out the engine data and assured us that apart from an issue with the secondary fan which needed fixing at home, the car was good to go. We had a wonderful time in Kilarney and were looking forward to the rest of the holiday.

Next stop was Connemara, which is in the far west and very thinly populated. On our way there the car gave a warning sign about the particle filter which said “check manual”, the manual said “have it fixed at a Peugeot garage”. Sounded not urgent and the car drove with no issues. Connemara was amazing, despite the storm.

Off we went to Dublin, only that we never arrived as planned.

Black Peugeot on a towing car

©Giliell, all rights reserved

About 50 km before Dublin the car went into safety mode again. We made it to a service station and had it towed. Now, people in Ireland are extremely helpful, so the road assistance guy hitched our caravan and drove it to the campsite with Mr. and 1 kid, while the other one and I followed by taxi (some issues there, none too big). The next days were mostly spent by figuring out where to take the car and what was wrong with it. The engine data said that the injectors for cylinders 2 and 3 were broken. We decided to have it fixed for a hell lot of money, so we could go home with our stuff and enjoyed the remaining few days.

On the day of departure we wanted to leave early so there was enough time for mishaps and traffic jams. That’s when we realised that the caravan had a flat tire. There was a screw in it. Thankfully there was a really nice guy at the campsite who helped us out getting the tire fixed. No problem, we still had time.

screw in a tire

©Giliell, all rights reserved

It’s about 160 km from Dublin to the ferry port. After 80 of them, the car went back into safety mode. We wanted to cry, we wanted to yell, but in the end we decided to push through and make it to that damn ferry, because everything was bound to be easier once we were back on the continent. We made it there, we called road assistance, we spent an unexpected two days in Cherbourg and got told that it was injector 2 again. We told them that we’d just had it fixed, could it be anything else? Nope, probably a faulty piece. We resigned to pay for repairs and try to get back some money from Ireland afterwards. At this point we just wanted to get home. The clean undies were all gone.

Instead on Tuesday, we left Cherbourg on Thursday and made it a full 100km to Caen before the car started to act up again and we gave up. We explained to the road assistance that we would not try to have it fixed at some garage in France again. We waited all Thursday if they could get us a rental, any rental, honest, we don’t even need to return it in Germany, in France next to the border is fine, but none was to have. After a night in a hotel I booked train tickets and we went home. And now I need to recover from my holiday.

Car and caravan will be brought home, we’ll take it to our usual garage then to see what their opinion is. Maybe we’ll be able to get some of the money back. We’ll at least get the train and hotel costs back from the road assistance and don’t have to worry about getting our vehicles back, so that was the best 72 bucks membership fee I ever spent.



  1. Jazzlet says

    How frustrating, but I m glad you got home safely in the end.

    As I mentioned on the Neverending Thread we’ve been having car problems, not surprising with a twenty year old car, but it infuriates me that while the car is mechanically sound it may end up being scrapped because of computer problems. We ended up taking our previous car over 300 000 miles (not all us as a mate gave it to us), and were able to pass it on to someone who could fix the wiring loom, which was the reason we had to let it go -- it did things like opening the windows when you locked the car (!!) -- but we have done just over 130 000 miles in our current car and if it has more computer problems that will be it as spares for the modules are no longer made. It rally is immoral. And the reason I mention this is it sounds like it may be sensor or computer problems with your car, rather than actual mechanical problems.

  2. says

    Yeah, I read about it. It’s so annoying that by now things become unfixable because of computers. In our case it might be some computer issue, it might be something else. I mean, we already knew it would be our last holiday with the car and we have already decided on a new one. It will be an EV, the only issue is that I’ll have to sell my firstborn into slavery to afford it. This week Mr could use my car (I have my friend’s car because I also have my friend’s dog), from next week on he has to take public transport, let’s see how that works.

  3. says

    Huh, that does sound like a true helliday. I do hope you had some real fun regardless.
    Do you think your firstborn could fetch a price high enough for an EV? Those things are still prohibitively expensive.

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    It seems it’s a car breakdown season. Many of my workmates have had to replace their cars (usually with some newer used ones) and a few others are in the process of doing so. Also one of my workmates and a relative have both had their cars totaled in a crash (no injuries, just sheet metal beyond repair).

    Your case was a particularly bad one as you got the bad luck during your holiday. My sympathies to you and all of the others with car problems.

  5. says

    Well, not for the whole car, but at least for part of it. We’ll try to get some of the repair costs back, because obviously they weren’t able to fix it. In the end, the bank has money and they’re more than happy to lend it to us.

    @Ice Swimmer
    No kidding. At least it wasn’t a crash. We’re all healthy and physically unharmed. Though it once again showed that Mr and I are a really good team. We made it with the whole ordeal without any yelling or fighting. We clearly communicated when the other one needed to handle something and while this whole shitshow also stressed the kids, I think it helped them to manage as well. As I always say, Mr and I learned from our parents how not to handle problems, I hope our kids learn healthy ways from us.

  6. lumipuna says

    Sorry for your trouble, Giliell, and nice to see you again!

    Amusingly, just today the Finnish national broadcaster posted a story that starts with the anecdote of a German family’s disappointing trailer holiday in Finland.

    Their problem was being too late, because school summer holidays in Finland are relatively early, and all kinds of summer/recreational attractions close or cut their opening hours around August 10 because teenage seasonal workers aren’t available anymore. There’s recurring discussion, prompted by the travel industry, about moving the holiday season later to be better in sync with most of Europe.

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