Bus, train and boat to Holland
Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
241Trip End Mar 15, 2007
She took me to the bus about 9:30 and I started my journey towards Rotterdam. The bus was badly delayed leaving Oxford due to road works; however, fortunately I had left lots of time. Discovered that the next trains to Liverpool Station had been cancelled but eventually got there about 12:30. Confirmed my ticket (you get a piece of paper which you exchange for a ticket at Harwich). He told me that I did not need to catch a train until about 5:00 however, with my travel luck I thought it best to get out there sooner rather than later.
I took the next train and was there about 3. Tried to exchange US travelers' cheques for Euros but the bureau de change said they took a large commission and recommended I wait until I was on the ship. Updated my journal for a bit then about 5:30 they took us in through passport control and onto the boat. Looks very flashy but really is just a glorified ferry. Has a couple of casinos, bars, restaurants, buffets, movie theatre, shop. That sort of thing. Tried to exchange money again but they would not take travelers' cheques. How helpful was that!? Even when I bought a beer and sandwich they would only give change in the money given them. Against the rules, you know.
Got into Hoek Van Holland on time (11:55pm) and headed for the train. Lots of quite stoned young men waiting for the train. No idea where they got the drugs and fortunately they stayed off the train until almost the last minute. Shared seats with some women who probably originated in the Orient and the Caribbean but for whom Dutch was their main language. Interesting. They were all in a huge rush to get home and complained vociferously about it while trying to translate their concerns to me. Train eventually left about half midnight and boy did it go fast for the half hour trip to Rotterdam.
In the meantime, Grada had text messaged me about how to find the taxis. This worked well and shortly I was at the home she shares with her twin sister, Nora, the cat Estragon and occasionally her niece, Hester. We had a beer, chatted and went to bed about 2.