Europe 2008 (Penrith to Harwich) Day 9 – June 2

2 06 2008

Today was our last day in the UK.  Tomorrow morning we will wake up in the Netherlands.  We checked out of the Travelodge and went over to restaurant next to it, the "Little Chef", for breakfast.  We each had a breakfast bun which was rather plain.  Mrs D asked for a napkin and we were told "Oh, we just rain out."  How do you "Just run out"?  There were about 6 other people in the restaurant at the time. It’s not like they had a  sudden rush on napkins.  Sigh.

We got out of the little hole of a Travellodge and the Little Chef at 0850…. We were NOT looking back ;)  We plugged the address of the National Car Rental into the GPS and started off.  We were headed for a long drive to Ipswitch.  Mrs D looked at the map and mentioned that we were going to be near Cambridge. I thought "Great!  We can stop in and see some cool history."

We stopped in Cambridge near the University at 1300.  We toured around the University grounds for about an hour. I couldn’t believe they were charging to see the inside of the King’s College Chapel as well as the open colleges!  Man… everybody just wants a piece of the pie all the time!  Despite that, Cambridge was a beautiful town and the architecture of the buildings was fantastic.  It’s unfortunate that it’s all so close together as it’s hard to get far enough away to get a photo that doesn’t have brutal angles in the shot.

Once completed in Cambridge, our trusty GPS directed us into and through Ipswitch to the doorstep of the National Car rental.  Great Job!  We got there around 1545.  One hour earlier than our deadline!  The folks at National were very good and it appears that National will deal directly with Visa to settle the little "Oops" regarding the mirror.  Apparently it wasn’t totally surprising to them.  Good.

While at the desk, I asked if it would be a better plan to hang out in Ipswitch or at Harwich International.  One of the staff there strongly recommended that we stay at Ipswitch instead of Harwich because Harwich International has NOTHING.  We took his advice and when the taxi came to get us we decided to stay down around the station for drinks and dinner to kill time before catching our 2104 train.  We headed over to the pub first for a drink as we arrived at 1630.  The restaurant next door, Royal India, opened at 1700 and we were his first clients for the night.

The restaurant has been open only for about 4 weeks and the owner was very friendly and helpful in choosing what to have for dinner.  They had a special that included various courses and the owner helped with each course and he tailored the dishes to our individual tastes.  It was GREAT food in a very good restaurant.

Unfortunately you can’t exactly hang out in a restaurant for 4 hours and that meant that we headed over to the train station at around 1930.  This now meant that we had about one hour and 45 minutes to kill on the train platform.  Not exactly an exciting time.  The train showed up.  It was ONE car long!  A short ride later, we arrived at Harwich International at 2128.  The National guy was right.  It’s just off the train and onto the boat.. NOTHING at the station area.  Someone should open a concession!

Check in at the ferry was fast and we were on deck 8 room 10 (810).  The cabin was quite swank.  We didn’t bother with the bunk bed, as there was enough room on the bottom level bed.  The ferry was huge and could hold about 300 or so people.  With the "comfort class" cabin, we also got chocolates on our bed as well as 3 hours of free wireless Internet.  Not much for upload speed (25kbps) but it was SOMETHING.  This room may even have been larger than our room in Fort William.

Time goes ahead one hour tonight, so it’s now officially midnight, and we plan to wake at 0600.  Time for sleep.  Tomorrow we wake in the Netherlands.




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