After spending ALL of Monday packing, we were pretty confident we could be away on Tuesday morning for our epic adventure. We didn’t dobadly! I got the last bits together and everything was packed for 9am. It was then Mike’s turn to wind down the house: tidying up, locking windows and doors, turning off electrics etc. I took the kids out of the way and went to get gluten free Sarnies etc for tea on the boat. We got back at our planned departure time of 10am. And we managed to set off at 11am… After kids toilet trips, quadruple checking house security, chucking a bag loads of random stuff into the car that we hadn’t packed, and may not need, but it was there and there were spaces to fill!
Pip already managed to nearly break the brand new multi usb charger in the car before we’d even left our drive! But luckily (for him!) it was superficial damage, and we were on our way with smiles on our faces 🙂
Well, most of us had smiles. One of us had the nervous thumb in mouth.
It’s a couple of hours journey to the port at Newcastle, and the journey was pretty uneventful fortunately. The car remained dry on the inside *phew*! We did put Bee in a pull up, but with multiple stops to empty them both, the pull up stayed dry! Hurrah! Most of these stops were, of course, about 5-10 minutes AFTER a planned stop. “I NEED A WEE!” One of them says, quickly repeated by the other, 10 minutes after we leave Scotch Corner services.
We had a late lunch of gluten free fish n chips at Pantrini’s in Whitley Bay. They were brilliant! We rang ahead to verify what we’d read on their website about providing gluten free, and they took our order and got the gluten free fryer fired up so we only had a few minutes wait when we got there 🙂 They were great about cross contamination too, washing hands between handling, and asking about whether we wanted separate bags etc. And above all, they were delicious! Thumbs up from our little coeliac! Our ferry booking info said we were to be at the port at least 90 minutes prior to departure. So we got there at 3pm for our 5pm sailing, feeling smug and prepared.
We promptly got directed to our waiting lane where, for the next hour and a half we moved 5 car lengths while watching all the other lanes board the boat; cursed at all the cars who got there after us but got on the boat first; the kids had two wees each at the side of the car; Pip turned into a whingey teenager: “I want to get on the boat!” (So do we) “Why can’t we get on the boat?!” (We don’t know), “When is it our turn?!” (We don’t know, look, an aeroplane!), “This is booooooring” (Yes. Yes it is. Eye spy with my…); I caught 2 Pokemon (nothing exciting); we face timed grandad; and eventually about ten minutes before the boat pulled away from port, we were let in, as one of the last handful of cars at the back of the boat. *grumpy face*The cabin was comfy and cosy, and not actually as small as I imagined.
We paid a little extra for an outside cabin and scored a view at the front of the boat! Awesome! *que inside version of that Titanic scene* Once settled in, we headed out on deck to wave goodbye to England for 5 weeks.
We then headed to the ‘kids lounge’ so they could burn off some energy.
There is a ball pool, Lego, a film on (Frozen), soft play, crafts (Pip did his usual chop a piece of paper into pieces), and a bunch of other toys. And it was close to a bar, so we had a lovely grown up drink while the kids played…
Oh wait, that’s right, we have a clingy two year old who wanted in on my mojito action! She did go play eventually though 🙂
Though the cabin was comfy and nice, the night could have gone more smoothly! Two giddy kids does not make for an easy bed time! After half an hour of on and off cmscreaming from Bee, she finally allowed me to cuddle her in her bed. Which is where we both slept through the night… Apart from 3 wees and Pip falling out of bed!
In the morning we were woken by he the ships wake up call announcement that is played through all rooms. It was actually a nice gently announcement. Which you would believe if you saw Pips reaction! He sprang out of bed, and hurried to about 3 different parts of the room before bashing his head on the top bunk and falling back into his!!! It was like when you let a balloon go without tying it and it whizzes all over, and then comically falls to the ground!
Once Pip had gotten over being rudely awakened by a multilingual omnipotent voice, we went for outer breakfast. There was a fantastic selection, and enough naturally gluten free things for Pip to eat. They also had gluten free gluten vrij bread for our little coeliake, which he enjoyed with choccy spread 🙂
Land ahoy! We arrived at Ijmuidem (Amsterdams port), ready to wave off our boat and start our trek across Europe.
Random Observation: in the loos there is a special bin for safety pins, needles and umbilical cord clamps.