Farewell to mainland Europe

[Quite a backdated post, this – I’m writing it on the 15th of October! I apologise for the delay, but as I hope you can appreciate I’ve been spending a lot of time traipsing around and visiting friends and family.]

Today I plodged from Amsterdam to Ijmuiden, the main port north and west of the capital from where all the ferries head over the North Sea to various destinations. Near the ferry terminal, I saw something that surprised me and cheered me up no end: a roadsign pointing west and proudly proclaiming “NEWCASTLE”.

I followed this most welcoming of directions and got to the DFDS terminal where I was checked in and stamped out of the country by some very friendly staff and border guards. The ship I traveled on, the King of Scandanavia, was huge – like a block of flats laid on its side. Several bars, a nightclub, two cinemas and a gazillion little en suite rooms.

We disembarked on time and I explored the ship, watching the port disappear into the distance as we set off for England. I admit it was a little emotional knowing that my journey was almost at an end. I made use of the cinema and went to see Shrek the Third with the auditorium all to myself. I’d seen all five of the other films they were showing! Afterwards, I grabbed some dinner and visited the bar. Just to use up the extra Euros I had left, you understand. The entertainment was pretty good as well – a half-decent standup/singer/compere, a band from Bulgaria and a dance troupe.

I groggily retired sometime around midnight, possibly in British waters. I wasn’t going to go outside and look for border markings.

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