We have always written about our journeys with pictures but this time, we thought you might like to see what the places look like, so we’ve done lots of stories via Instagram videos.
We had the nicest cab driver who took us from home to Liverpool Street Station. He came out to greet us and opened the door for me!
He even asked for kisses! I didn’t give him any – don’t go kissing strangers, Mummy told me.
With no George around, I got to sit on Mummy’s lap.We left an hour before our scheduled train as we always like to give ourselves plenty of time to arrive at a station or airport. It gives us time to relief ourselves too before boarding. Even then, the journey to Liverpool Street Station took about 45 minutes and we arrived just 15 minutes before the scheduled departure. Clever Mummy asked the cab driver to drop us off at the Primrose Road entrance – that way we were almost inside the station.
The platform was already announced and we hurried along to Platform 9 which was close by.
Come on, Mummy! Can’t believe she stopped to take photos.The train journey was less than 2 hours and we arrived at Harwich with a good three hours before sailing time – but we needed to check in at least an hour before. Harwich International was the last stop on the train and while everyone went into the ferry terminal, Mummy took me for a little walk – she kept saying, “Pee-pee Darcy! Come on!” I tried but I couldn’t pee on demand!
I don’t pee an awful lot and sometimes I don’t even feel like going out at night. So Mummy knew I would be fine.
We made our way to Departures – and seeing a large crowd in the waiting area, we went in early to avoid having to stand in a long queue.Security waved us past the checks – “Dogs shouldn’t go through the metal detector!” Oh, alright then. Except if Mummy did, she would have bleeped with the titanium right hip!
And then came the ramp walk – that very looooong walk, the endless ramp that seems like we would be in Holland at the end of it.
On boarding the ferry, we needed to go straight to the Guest Service desk on Deck 9, to be assigned my kennel number – and Mummy gets the code for entering the kennels.This time I have been allocated Kennel A-11. That looks familiar – I’ve been in that one with George! It’s a smallish kennel but Mummy figured it was better for us to be in one together to keep each other company. The bigger kennels are for larger dogs – but if there are any availability you can request for them on checking in.
There are duvets for us to lie on. Mummy was pleased to find this rather smart one for me.I knew what would happen next but it didn’t stop me from crying when she left – because I was in there by myself. Mummy went to check into her cabin and then a quick bite before she came back to say “goodnight.” In the meantime, two other dogs were checked in – a Labrador and a Springer Spaniel. They both barked so much and were crying that I just decided I’d let them carry on – because I knew Mummy did not abandon me.
Sure enough she came back to say goodnight.Guess what? She even brought me two meat balls.While the other two kept on barking, she told me to lie down and rest, and promised me she’ll be back tomorrow.
But I know what she was doing when she left me. She was watching the CCTV in her cabin – checking on me. So I made sure I didn’t upset her. Before long, I fell asleep – much to Mummy’s relief.
It was smooth sailing all night and before you know it,
the announcement came on at about 6.30am – to give instructions about breakfasts and disembarking procedures at Hoek van Holland. Given it was an hour ahead, I didn’t get breakfast at 7am which would be 6am our time.
But I really needed to have a poo. We were the first in line to leave the ferry. The minute the door was open, we raced out … and that long ramp again. I ran and Mummy ran, and we ran …
But Mother Nature called and I had to, I just had to poo. The Labrador was right behind me and she too was making a run off the ramp. I gave in – and all Mummy said was, “Thank goodness for raw feeding!”
We finally got to Immigration and only Mummy showed her passport, no need for mine. Once out the ferry terminal, we found grass patches and I had a good long pee! On our last trip, George pee’d and poo’d on the ramp – very embarrassing!!!
The train connection from Hoek van Holland to the next big train station has been under “construction”for more than a year. Instead we had to take the 711 bus from the ferry terminal to Schiedam Central. We’ve done this a few times so we knew the drill. We even stood and waited exactly where the bus would stop – so we were the first on board.The bus arrived about 15 minutes past the hour and we got on. Phew! We had a train to catch at 09.17 and this was a 30 minute bus journey.I guess I really didn’t sleep too well last night, so I crawled up on the seta next to Mummy but the bus was going at great speed and kept swaying and jerking that I kept getting the feeling I was going to be thrown off the seat. Mummy put her arms around me to hold me in place.
We were dropped off at Shiedam Central with half an hour to spare before we boarded the train from Platform 5 to Amsterdam Centraal. Our previous experiences travelling on the local Dutch trains at commuingr hours had been dreadful. But the last two times we’ve done this had been quite civilised. Wonder what changed.The train to Amsterdam didn’t take long and I slept all the way – in Mummy’s arms.
We arrived in Amsterdam on Platform 2A and the next train – the last one for the day was leaving from Platform 2B. That was an easy transition. The train was already in the station – I suppose its because it is an international train leaving from Amsterdam.
Finally at 12.45pm, we arrived in Düsseldorf. No more trains and travelling for the rest of the day.
Not sure about dogs in taxis, Mummy approached it confidently. The taxi driver looked at me, not with much compassion, didn’t say much but Mummy was relieved that he took us. We went to Manuela at the shop where she works and guess who was there to greet us – LUNA!!!She was one of my first ever doggy friends.
More on what happened rest of the day – tomorrow. Now its time for bed!
May’s comment: Having done this journey about a dozen times, sometimes with two dogs, today was like clockwork except for the fact that the bar code on the train ticket for Schiedam to Amsterdam did not let us go through the turnstiles – and there was no attendant there to ask why. So I had to buy a ticket from the ticket machine to get us through – no messing around and bought another train ticket just to get us through.
Travel on Stenaline is super easy with dogs. You just have to feel comfortable leaving them in a kennel – they are very clean and you can watch them all night on the CCTV in your cabin. You can visit them whenever you want. The ferry actually did not leave at 23.00 but probably an hour later. We arrived in Hoek van Holland at 08.00 – taking into consideration the time change, the sailing was probably about seven hours.
We usually do the night crossing so not to waste a day. You need to book a cabin. But there’s also a day sailing which we have also done. If there’s a good movie on at the cinema, you can kill a couple of hours. I always book a cabin regardless – just to have a place to lie down. Besides, with all that rushing, I probably needed it.
It is all the planning of ferry arrivals and train schedules to wherever you need to get to that is the most time consuming. If you’re not in a hurry, take the time to make the connections. But we always seem to be in a hurry to get everywhere.
We tend to take the Stenaline whenever we need to Germany as Hoek van Holland is closer than Calais, but we cross the Eurotunnel when we’re heading anywhere in France.