Jane Austen wrote – If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.
Whether it is because this is the way we have to travel anyway to the Continent, but Mummy thought it would be fun for the kiddies to experience a train, a ferry crossing and more trains till we reach our destination – Amsterdam. Yup, it was a drawn out journey but you know what they say – “it’s about the journey, not the destination.”
Our journey began with a train journey from London’s Liverpool Street Station to Harwich on the day before our sailing on the Stenaline ferry. That’s due to the sailing times (10.00 or 23.00). While we normally take the overnight ferry, it wouldn’t work with the kiddies schedule. That meant we had to stay over at Harwich the night before. We returned to The Pier Hotel where we had stayed once before.
There are two parts to the hotel – and we now get the sense that dog guests are relegated to the side property. It’s dog-friendly Lots of doggies aroundBut the Pier Hotel was once a lot more accommodating. Since their refurbishment where they have moved their restaurant to the first floor, we were told that I couldn’t dine with the hoomans. And the downstairs area is now strictly a bar. After Mummy made some exasperated comments – and how disappointed she was – they agreed to set up a table for us in the bar area to serve us food. That was very nice of them but I wonder if they were actually thinking – those noisy children might be better seated downstairs! LOL! Somehow we think that’s a factor in the decision-making.
Our last walk in the evening was really rather pretty. The sun was setting and the lights have come on. There’s a certain serenity by the waters …the waters lap, while lights shimmer in vessels near and far.
Next morning, a run with Kai before boarding the seven-hour ferry crossing. And our journey continued … we left the hotel to return to Harwich International. The kiddies were delighted at the sight of the BIG ferry. The ramp leading to the vessel at Harwich is still under repair so we were transported on board by bus – not as fun for the kiddies to run up the very, very long ramp. That ramp has a lot of “incidences” – the first time I walked it, I was still a young pup and pee’d and poo’d on it. Oops! It was a very long ferry crossing and I couldn’t hold any more. 😉 And the first time George and I ran up that ramp – he did the same!!! We have definitely left our mark there.
And as the bus rolled into the ferry – it was again huge excitement for the kiddies. You see, they are used to airports – not travelling in big boats.Now this all smells familiar – and sure enough I knew what was about to happen – I was back in the kennel.Water bowl, treats … Mummy, did you forget something?Yes, thank you. A duvet would be necessary for sitting on for eight hours! It was quite full this time around. There was a crossing when I was the only one but this time around we even have a few cats and dogs of all sizes!
During the crossing, Mummy kept an eye on me via the CCTV on the TV screen in her cabin but she also came down to say hello – bringing along Kai and Little Tyke. They also said hello to all the other pets.
Lucky me, I got to get out of the kennel for a little relief. They took me to the Dog Walking Area. They tried opening the door with great difficulty!!! Was it the wind? Kai and Little Tyke put all their body weight on it – but the lady who came in from the outside mentioned that there was a button! That’s new. It wasn’t there the last time we were on the ferry. Well, we did get outside eventually – the boys loved looking out at sea while I was not so eager to hang around. The sailing went on and on. Eight hours later, it was land ahoy! Even then it took ages before we docked. At this end we had the long ramp to walk once we disembarked – and the kids had fun running down it. We were a rowdy crowd – but not me. It was very nice of Ellen, Kai’s mother to mention that I was indeed the quietest of them lot! The most well-behaved one! And also probably the most stroked one and the occasional kicks from Mini Tyke.
We were at Hoek van Holland when we realised the train to Rotterdam was no longer running! Oops! But an express bus took us to Schiedam Centraal. It has been a day of travelling and with all that excitement, Little Tyke fell fast asleep on the bus. Not helpful.
It was a weekend and we had hoped to avoid the commuter crowd, but three train cancellations meant it was later than we had hoped it would be. That meant more passengers and everyone going home after the weekend. Mummy and Ellen had to stand all the way from Schiedam to Amsterdam Centraal – with me in her arms. It was three stops till the destination that she finally got to sit.
So twelve hours later, we arrived in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Hooray! But I knew Mummy there was still another hurdle. Taxis. We were six hoomans and me and one taxi after another refused to take us. Why? Because of me. Of course Mummy challenged them as to why not – and all the drivers she asked said, “Because I don’t take dogs.” That was infuriating – it was a personal choice. Finally, one nice driver said it was ok. But we had to split up into two taxis. Mummy had been warned by the hotel concierge … but we didn’t have any problems the last time I was there with George. We must have lucked out then. Note to Mummy: need to get hotel to order dog-friendly taxi driver on the way out.
May’s comments: Indeed we shall, m’lady!
When going to the Netherlands and countries east of it, this is our choice of travel since I do not drive on the other side of the road, and even if I could fly Darcy out, I couldn’t fly her in. Long journey but it allows us to get across.
We’ve been to Amsterdam quite a few times and this time we’re at another dog-friendly hotel, The Pulitzer, though the last time I was there, I didn’t have a dog. So to my delight, they are dog- friendly and we can continue to stay there! There are not many in Amsterdam, as I had called several boutique hotels and was refused.
Again, I had to take find restaurants that are dog-friendly, and we found three … we’ll be trying them out.
Sad to say, I had to choose to take only one of my pooches – especially with two kids in tow and staying in city hotels. It is, I admit, so much easier to pack George into a backpack and go but alas, it is easier to pawn off George rather than Darcy.