The Train to Harwich

Harwich Travel Blog

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The Gherkin
 

The National Train Station was apparent when I reached ground level from the Liverpool Street tube station. My ticket north was 'open' and I didn't need to be in Harwich until around 10:00 p.m. but I booked the 4:00 train to have a few hours to explore the coastal town. With two hours to boarding, I circled the block to get a close-up view of 'The Gherkin'. The bullet-shaped modern building was visible from just about anywhere in London. I enjoyed a falafel sandwich in its shadow. Much older architecture reflected in its spiraling glass windows. I didn't check to see if there was an observation deck on top; views from there would be spectacular.

 

The train north was fast and smooth.

Old Harwich
I like trains and it had probably been five years since I last rode one, also in Europe. English countryside glided past my window; gentle-rolling hills of new-plowed fields and others green with fresh crops. In little more than an hour, I reached Harwich International which was more an isolated industrial district in the port area. I found where and when I could check in for my boat then bought a rail ticket into Harwich Town for 2.20 Pounds.

 

The train station was just across the street from a lighthouse tower. The sun was about to go down and the brick structure seemed to come alive in a sunset glow like a ghost from the distant past. Nearby, a stenciled red and white marker buoy confirmed I was in Old Harwich. Next to those monuments stood a red telephone 'box' but I had no one to call and set out to find the waterfront. Narrow streets wound the contour of the eastern bank of the River Stour.

Boats at Harwich

 

Halfpenny  Pier offered nice views of the historical town as well as of Harwich Harbour. Small fishing boats anchored nearby while massive cranes loaded and off-loaded stacks of shipping containers from sea-going freighters. Few people strolled the streets. Informative panels marked the Harwich Maritime Heritage Trail describing the area's rich and colorful history. Across the river, sunset silhouetted the town of Shotley where the River Orwell joined the Stour. Combined, and somewhere beyond Harwich, they would flow into the English Channel. Harwich Town would be fascinating to spend a full day exploring but as darkness fell I slipped into a pub, the British Flag, for a couple of pints. Only a few patrons occupied the old pub, shooting games of pool while England and Croatia battled out World Cup preliminaries on a big-screen television.

Cabin on the ship
England was up three-nothing when I walked back to the train station for the 9:54 back to Harwich International.

 

Boarding at Harwich International was like boarding an airliner through a long and winding, well-lit enclosed gateway. Except for a couple of visits aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise  the Sten Hollandica  was the biggest boat I had ever been on. Uniformed crewmembers - foreigners - greeted each passenger and directed me to an elevator for the ninth floor. Two long hallways seemed to run at least half the length of the ship and it took a few minutes to find 9187. The cabin was larger than the VW camper in which I had slept most summer nights and much more comfortable. My floating hotel room included  bunk beds, a small couch, a closet, a desk with padded stool, several shelves, and a bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet. 

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The Gherkin
The Gherkin
Old Harwich
Old Harwich
Boats at Harwich
Boats at Harwich
Cabin on the ship
Cabin on the ship
National Station
National Station
Inside National Station
Inside National Station
A 3-D painting on a flat canvas at…
A 3-D painting on a flat canvas a…
On the train north
On the train north
English countryside
English countryside
Small range light at Harwich
Small range light at Harwich
Harwich waterfront street
Harwich waterfront street
Harwich Town from Halfpenny Pier
Harwich Town from Halfpenny Pier
The Pier Hotel in Harwich
The Pier Hotel in Harwich
Boat at Halfpenny Pier
Boat at Halfpenny Pier
Fishing boat at Halfpenny Pier
Fishing boat at Halfpenny Pier
The Harwich Harbour
The Harwich Harbour
British Flag sign
British Flag sign
The British Flag Pub
The British Flag Pub
At the pub
At the pub
Quiet night at the British Flag
Quiet night at the British Flag
Hallway on the ship
Hallway on the ship
Harwich
photo by: rotorhead85