We have to get up early, at 7, and at seven thirty it is still quiet in the breakfast hall. Then we walk to the subway station to be in time at Liverpool Street. On our way to the subway station we have to make a picture of the National Library, which houses more than 150 million books... Would anybody have read them all?
The subway station also has to stand still for a picture. Great that such beautiful buildings are still in use as subway stations! We look for platform 13½, or is it platform 9¾, the one where Harry Potter had to catch his train to his school, in the Chamber of Secrets.
Our schedule looks so nice: get up at 7, breakfast at 7.30, at 8 to the subway station, 8.30 at Liverpool Street, take the train to Harwich, directly boarding the boat to Hoek van Holland, 3.5 hours by train to Groningen and we will be home about 6 o'clock at night. But no, the train to Harwich has been cancelled and there is no 'normal' train. Then we learn the boat from Harwich is cancelled also because of some technical problems and the hard winds. Eventually, there are four buses going to Dover and we will cross the Canal to Calais. But at the harbor we are send back because someone has left her passport in a bag which is down in the bus with the rest of the luggage. She isn't allowed to search for it at the border, so we miss the boat. That means another 2 hours delay. From our daughters in Holland we hear it is really bad weather, especially at sea, so we just wait and look around; what other choice do we have...
But, as you can see on these pictures, on the coast of Dover the weather is fine. There is some wind, but it isn't cold. But we know, bad weather in Holland can mean a lot more delays with the trains...And, of course, the boat is delayed. After arriving in France we have to sit in the bus for four more hours, on our way to Rotterdam Central station. We are lucky to have only a few complaining tourists on the bus. We are not complaining, just unhappy because we are not allowed to smoke. And when we finally arrive at Rotterdam we feel completely exhausted.
We go into a shop to buy a drink and then to the platform, while delays of trains are being announced all the time. So we are totally surprised when we can board our train immediately. Then it leaves within half a minute! In Amersfoort we have to change over to another train and again the train is in time, against all odds. We feel happy and drowsily we close our eyes, a cigarette in our mouths and let us be taken to the north of Holland. Thanks to all the smokefree rooms and places we have been, we have smoked less than a third of what we normally do. But we still don't have any intention to stop smoking, for that we have missed it too much the last five days.
Finally, we arrive home at 11 and, exhausted, we can look back on a couple of very nice days which have passed too quickly.