Farewell to old England forever…

…well, for 5 weeks or so.

Yesterday, we packed our bags (again), bid a fond farewell to Sugarhouse Close in Edinburgh (but not to the bed), and caught a train to Newcastle.  The train trip was fairly uneventful – it was the Virgin Edinburgh – London service, so it was fairly busy.  It also had a few groups determined to make their trip into a celebration, including the family next to us who broke out the rose wine and cider at 10.05am. They were still going strong when we got off at Newcastle, so goodness knows what they were like by the time they got to London.

At Newcastle we were met by an old friend of mine from my debating days, and her gorgeous 6 week old son.  Ness has always been a powerhouse of efficiency, energy and organisation, and she has not changed over the years.  Despite having a newborn, she had worked out where we could leave our luggage (Newcastle train station no longer does left/checked luggage, it turns out), and where our bus was going from.  Then she took us for good coffee (probably the best we’ve had since leaving Australia), a very quick tour of Newcastle city centre, great lunch, and showed us where to buy fruit/mobile vouchers/wipes/everything we needed before leaving.  The only problem with the whole stop is that I failed to take any photos whatsoever.

We then made it back to the bus stop and out to our ship.  In keeping with the Grand Tour aspects of this trip, we decided at least one ocean crossing was called for.  So instead of flying to the continent, we sailed on the King Seaways with DFDS.  It was really a lovely trip.

We had a great cabin, that comfortably fit us all.

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The cabin had the biggest bed we’ve had since leaving Australia.  I’m not sure if this is an endorsement of the ship, or an indictment on English & Scottish beds, but either way it was nice.

The sea was as flat as a pancake as we left (which is good, because those who are close to me can attest I’m not the best sailor).

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We had pre-booked dinner at one of the restaurants on board.  We assumed it would be dreadful but were pleasantly surprised.  The food was actually good – fresh, tasty, nicely cooked, and in a lovely setting.  So satiated, we took a final stroll round the deck and waved goodbye to England.

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This morning, we docked at IJmuiden, in the Netherlands.  Tony’s sister, Sue, came to pick us up, and took us back to her house.  We went out to lunch with her, and she promptly absconded with both the kids.

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Sue’s kids were at school today, but we’re going back to her house tomorrow for COUSIN MAYHEM.  It should be fun.

We’re all now fairly exhausted, but are in a lovely (and huge) apartment in Den Hague.  The staircases are ridiculously steep (getting the suitcases up was fun), but the ceilings are high, the living room opens up with beautiful floor to ceiling windows, the washing machine is efficient and the kitchen is more than functional.  Add in a great location, and family nearby – and we’re very happy.

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Farewell to old England forever…

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