Back in Europe.
Trip Start Dec 26, 2009
33Trip End Apr 08, 2011
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Where I stayed
Hotel Pax Amsterdam
University of Warwick Conference Accomodation
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BB2 +1+ +++
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The 1 stands for my original seat and all the + stand for seats occupied by over-excited, hormonal 15-year olds
It was good to have the quick stop-over in Dubai and even better to finally arrive in Heathrow at 6am!! I met my brother Maurice at his work and managed to sneak into the gym in his building to have a much-needed shower and change. I left my luggage with him and then spent the rest of the day wandering about Camden Town (love, love, love) and Oxford Street. Soaking in the hustle and bustle and the thousands of people that mill about the streets. You don't get that in Australia
My alarm went off at 3:40am and the horror traveling continued. I got a cab to the Easybus bus station and arrived at Stansted at about 5:30am. My flight was at 6:55am, however, I never actually made it. The check-in area for Ryan-air was an absolute mess. It was so busy you couldn’t see the floor anymore. You have to check-in online before the flight (otherwise £40 fine) so all the counters are baggage drop-off only and none are flight-specific. So you can queue anywhere. An absolute useless system. Every few minutes a Ryanair lady, that was standing on top of the counter would shout out “Last passengers to Rome” or “Last passengers to Alicante please go to Counter 24” which, I guess, was the express counter. Eventually it was “Last passengers to Eindhoven please go to Counter 24” and I fought my way back out of the crowd only to be told that my luggage was too heavy and I’d have to lose 3kg. ARRGH!! So repacked my bag, chucked out shampoos and lotions, checked-in my bag at 15.2kg which was accepted and hurried to the Security check, the next obstacle
I ended up taking the ferry to Holland instead of the plane, because I didn’t feel like giving Ryanair any more or my money. And I’m so glad I did. So went back to Maurice’s for the rest of the day and just lounged about. Then at around 6pm I took a train to Harwich and boarded the Stena ferry that was going to take me to Hoek van Holland. For £70 I got a private cabin and a train ticket to anywhere in Holland. I highly recommend traveling this way. We boarded around 8:30pm and it gave me plenty of time to explore the ship: its outside decks, restaurants and bars, TV rooms, duty-free, cinema, casino tables etc
The next two days in Eindhoven were spent seeing my family, playing with my 16month old niece and reveling in the World Cup final which turned out to be a disappointing end for Holland :) Monday afternoon I took the train to Amsterdam to meet up with Dave who was there for a conference. Needless to say he hardly spent any time at the conference and we just enjoyed Amsterdam which is just a great city. Except for the random torrential down-pours every once in a while the weather was absolutely gorgeous and we walked about the canals and had food and drinks in some great little cafés and restaurants. Did a bit of window-shopping and I made Dave blush when I pulled him through the red-light districts and all the ladies in the window waved at him, hahaha!
On Tuesday Amsterdam turned orange once again and apparently over 500,000 people crowded around the canals to wave and welcome home the national football team. It was absolutely amazing!! I got given a free orange t-shirt from a random dude on a bike so I was all kitted out
In the evening we met for dinner and drinks with my school friend Thalien who showed us some corners off the tourist route. More lovely food and drinks in lovely little bars. Both Dave and I HEART Amsterdam! Dave’s actually contemplating of extending his stay in Europe so he can come back and chill out some more!
The next day we flew to London and were back at my brother’s for a night before we took the train up to Warwick University the following day where Dave’s got another conference. I’ve had a look around Coventry (which is closer to the university than Warwick) but there’s really not much to see there. To me the name suggests a quaint, old English town but it’s industrial and post-war modern so I just traipsed around the shops trying to find some shoes for my outfit for Dani and Emma’s wedding next week.
Dave’s done with his conference in a couple of hours and then it’s back to good ol’ Scotland. Can’t wait!