6.24.09 Delft and Ferry to England

Rotterdam Travel Blog

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Dashing Delft

6.24.09    Delft and Ferry to England

 

We’re on the ferry!  Terrific day enjoying more of Holland.

 

We left Amsterdam this morning and drove just 30 busy miles down the interstate to Delft. 

 

Bing!  Bing!  Bing!  Delft is a Winner!  Oh my- this is the most delightful village with picturesque cobblestone roads, splendid cathedrals, arched bridges over canals, wonderful food stores, bright sunshine, shops with artists painting the blue and white Delft pottery, and bikers leisurely enjoying the perfect temperature with a breeze that would occasionally topple a parked bike.

Dashing Delft
  Forget Amsterdam!  Delft is the place to relax and enjoy lovely Holland.

 

Need I say more?  We loved, loved, loved this village.  It's pronounced "Del left" by the locals.  Parking for “Touring Cars” and buses was clearly marked just as we entered the village from the north.  There were no buses at 11am, but we had the company of about 6 buses by the time we left at 2:30pm.  Why this lovely village is not completely overrun with tourists is a mystery, but we’re not complaining.  Delightful!

 

We bought some Dutch cheeses and hams, the man helping us kindly advising and slicing it up for us.  With some fresh baguettes, we were all set.

 

I met a woman from Tennessee this morning.

Biking in Delft- imagine what carpool pickup must look like!
  She mentioned being stuck in construction traffic yesterday near Breda for 3-4 hours!  That is where we hit “Detour” on the GPS and enjoyed the back country roads for 30 minutes.  Thank goodness for the GPS! 

 

If you are driving Europe, hear me now:  Bring a GPS.  Buy refurbished, shop online, do whatever you need to do, but you might as well stay home without one.  It is the second most critical item- after your cash card.  Some of them (Like the Garmin X70 models) come loaded with the Europe maps, so save money getting them preloaded.  (And if you’re going to Mexico, get the Mexico card of the info.)  There are so many splits in the roads, that you have to make decisions with no advanced notice and it is crazy.

Dashing Delft

 

One reason traveling here is so hard is that they do not use any cardinal directions like North or East.  Therefore, the signs have multiple cities along the route on them and it is information overload with signs all saying A15 and then long lists of place names on them, none of which you’ve ever heard of before!  One time we saw two signs together with “Rome” on each and arrows for each were pointing in opposite directions!  What are you going to do then?  The GPS is critical- I cannot overemphasize this!

 

It was just 10 miles straight, but 30 miles by road to Europort, where our P&O Ferries (British) leaves from in Rotterdam to go to Kingston-Upon-Hull in northern England.  We arrived about 3:10 pm (heavy traffic) and were thrilled that the checkin (drive through) was opened at 3pm.  Then we waited in a parked line for the 5pm drive-through Immigration, where we got our Passports stamped.

Dashing Delft

 

While we waited, we talked with John who works for P&O and enjoyed discussing Holland info.  We’d cooked noodles this morning (when we had electric for the water boiling), and mixed it with a hot can of Minestrone for dinner.  Propane has to be turned off on the ferry and we cannot stay in the RV.  So we packed a bag and are working to get organized for returning Sugar.  It will take a daily effort, trust me.

 

On ferries, they always use the money of the boat line nationality.  This P&O Ferries is British, so we removed our Euros from my wallet and restocked with the Pounds that we’d stashed.

 

Here’s our opinion of people from The Netherlands:  Wonderful!  They are all multi-lingual (this is a running joke and they are very proud of it, and we are terribly impressed) and most know about 5 languages minimum.

Dashing Delft
  Seriously, they just switch back and forth as the situation dictates and it is amazing to behold what they apparently learn in their schools. 

                                                                                                                 

There were far fewer people smoking in The Netherlands than we have seen in all the rest of the Continent. 

 

I’m not sure why they don’t smoke as much, but it could be their love of biking with the large, thin tires, baskets or carseats on the front and back for children, floral denier bags over the fenders, and wonderful bike lanes and thousands of bike parking racks.

Dashing Delft
  Nobody wears a helmet or goes overly fast, but all seem to be enjoying the heck out of it! 

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Holland.  While Amsterdam is not our favorite atmosphere (it is very pretty though and with effort, you could avoid the smut), the rest of Holland is also worthy of exploration and the people everywhere we went seemed personable, kind, enthusiastic, and happy. 

 

We were third onto the ferry.  After driving on and parking, we completed the Immigration Cards that Passport Control provided and she thinks we’ll provide that in Great Britain.  Then we found our cabin, which is nice like a cruise ship- the boat is just like a cruise ship (except you pay for everything) and we get excited every time we board a ferry!

 

The kids ran off to the kid area, although they may be the only ones on board- I don’t think the ship is very busy.

Dashing Delft
  Just one RV came behind us in line in the 2 hours that we waited there! 

 

For 7P I got 3 hours of internet and have plugged into the wall socket nearby, typing this blog before my one-time log-in. You cannot log out, then back in with this card.  We bought the card from the Reception desk, where for 2P each we ordered coffee, tea and hot chocolate in the stateroom in the morning.  We bought some organic granola bars in Delft for tomorrow’s breakfast.  Ferry food is quite pricey and carefully timed, so we’re proud that we planned ahead.

 

Our boat is to leave a 9pm tonight and arrive at 8am tomorrow in England, but we gain an hour.  So the 6am promised wake-up call (that we don’t want, but it is not optional) will really be at 7am our time.  Hahaha!  Finally, we get all those hours back as we progress West!

 

It feels very strange and bittersweet to be leaving the Continent.

Dashing Delft
  We arrived in France on the shuttle on April 21, two months ago and how wonderful it has been!  We almost missed our Europort turn when the sign said, “to England” with a picture of a ferry.  Then it hit me:  We’re really leaving!  Very sad, but ready too.

 

Seeing the Continent in 2 months is just a taste of it.  I know why people keep returning to explore.  It sounds like so much time, but plotted out, it is not long at all.  I dream of coming back with Ned.

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John at the Ferry acting surprise…
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Loading the ferry in Rotterdam
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Enjoying the cabin on the ferry
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Sailaway time! Goodbye Europe!
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photo by: polvandenwirre