Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DSDF Newcastle to Amsterdam

We both got surprise hair cuts from Budge's cousin ... And then it was out the door after triple checking every corner of the flat for our stuff. There is a feeling of finality when closing a door and dropping the keys into the mail slot - everything behind that door is now irrevocably the past and you are forced to immediately deal with the consequences of a simple action. I don't think we forgot anything. If we did, we haven't missed it yet, so it probably is not important. We did purposefully leave behind some unused batteries and an unused front light (that I had been dragging about for over a year).

The sun was out, but it was cool. We opted to take a city road over the 72 bike path for the first few miles of the ride. Then we found the bike path and made a wrong turn and ended up at an industrial park dead end. We were now experts at this kind of bike path deception and quickly found our way to the port. At the ferry terminal, we showed our tickets and got into the queue with about 100 motorcycles. Judging by the languages spoken we were surrounded by Dutch, French, Italian, Flemish, Scottish, German, and English motorcycle touring enthusiasts. There were many BMW R1200 (HUGE bikes) fitted with stainless steel panniers. We drank tea and gawked at the bikes and the riders in their high tech leather gear.

Thirty minutes in the queue, we started boarding - a process that took over 2.5 hours. This was, by far, the largest ferry we have been on. Our passports checked, we were waved through to a pre-boarding staging area for bicycles where we met a German cyclist returning home, a British couple setting out for three week tour down the Rhine, and a British cyclist on a 1962 bicycle on his way to meet friends in Utrecht. We chatted as we boarded and tied down our bicycles, agreed that we would probably meet each other again at some point, and parted ways to find our respective rooms. We did not see them again until we disembarked. The ferry was that big. Our berth was nice, way nicer than our Funky Ferry (Hirtshals to Bergen) berth.

Bye bye Newcastle.

I think maybe that is the new castle.

Here are some tips for this ferry.

* don't bother purchasing a meal. bring your own food, buy from the cafe, or, if you are starving, purchase the buffet on board (this will be very expensive, but it is possible)

* you can spend euros or pounds on board

* there are two cinemas on board showing current movies in English with subtitles

* try the Hot Snaks, but do not eat too many (this should be obvious once you see what Hot Snaks are)

* this ferry presents an excellent opportunity to play, "what nationality" because every western nationality seemed to be present (even Canadians!) - observing eating habits and alcoholic drink choice are fantastic clues.

After dinner, we watched the sun set from on deck.

(sun tan photo)

Then it was off to bed for fairly good night's sleep. Amsterdam tomorrow!!!

- rolling post

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