0525 GMT – first alarm goes off
0530 – second alarm goes off
0532 – Jump out of bed
0545 – start taking all the luggage downstairs
0552 – the cab screeches around the corner to pick us up, the driver is in the process of dialling Nigel’s number when he sees us waiting at the gate.
0610 – still 20 minutes till the train leaves, I could have stayed in bed a bit longer.
0630 – train departs on time
0715 – train is delayed by half an hour due to a problem with the overhead lines, all those heading for Harwich are told to change a Colchester where they will put on cabs for us.
0830 – arrive in Colchester, drag all four bags to the wrong side of the station and then to the other side, finally get bundled into a cab with a couple of young french girls.
0840 – cab is stuck in rush-hour traffic on the roundabout exiting the station, i’m starting to get worried, the ferry is supposed to leave at 0900.
0910 – arrive at the port in Harwich, the ferry has been held up for us so we are waved through customs and with officials chasing us down the gangways talking into radios giving the crew a step by step guide to our progress we are hurried onto the boat.
0930 – the ferry finally departs.
1630 CET – ferry arrives in the Hook of Holland
1707 – the train to Rotterdam departs the Hook of Holland, fortunately I was able to ask someone where I need to change to get to Amsterdam.
1726 – we have arrived at a station just outside of Rotterdam where we are supposed to change for the train to Amsterdam, I stand on the platform expecting the train to turn up, a train pulls into the platform opposite us; Nigel looks slightly bemused and turns to a girl standing next to him and asks “do the trains to Amsterdam go from this platform?”
“No…”; we don’t wait for the explanation into the meaning of platform in Dutch and hobble as fast as we can to the opposite platform.
1728 – we reach the platform, the train has already left.
1807 – catch the train to Amsterdam
1930 – Arrive at Centraal Station, Amsterdam
Rosko recommends: Slumdog Millionaire (great film); Booking a cabin on a ship (very useful when you haven’t time to shower in the morning); flying, it’s a whole lot quicker.