Saturday 30 July 2005

We went over to Holland via Hull to Rotterdam. I had the mistaken impression that it was going to take 5 or so hours to get to Hull and was completely wrong; 3 with a break. The checking in and so on was fairly painless, but we did get some funny looks because we had a 14 foot open boat on the top of the car.

We were on the Pride of Rotterdam. We elected to stay in the continental bar and have a snack, rather than fight our way down to the restaurant. Jon went and played with the other kids in the ball pool and Deb decided to sit and read a book. We thought there were only 2 beds in the cabin but then discovered that another pair come down from the ceiling.

We met up with the others from the Canoe Camping Club and had a couple of beers, exchanging war stories and talking about what we would do when we got there.

Got to bed around midnight.

Sunday 31st July

Were woken up at a ridiculously early hour (lost an hour going to the continent). We grabbed a bite in the bar and then disembarked. After some confusion we all met up at the small car park on the way out of the ferry terminal. The tunnel under the river was closed and, after some mix ups, we ended up going through Rotterdam, which was spooky because everyone was still in bed (it looked like anyway).

Got to Amsterdam about lunch time and set up our new tent. This was amazingly easy and the tent worked really well. We were staying at a place owned by the local canoe club called Slaughterplass, which was about 20 minutes from the centre of Amsterdam by tram. Had a paddle around the lake (we were on an island) and then, in the evening, went into Amsterdam and had some food and a wander around. I don’t know why but I really like the place. Very peaceful for a capital city.

The local club were really good to us, even setting up a sink where we could wash our plates etc. Really nice people.

Monday 1st June

Rained a lot so we decided to check out the climbing walls we had looked up on the internet before we left. We were going to go with one of the other families but we managed to lose each other in heavy traffic and, of course, hadn’t swapped mobile numbers or given them the address (stupid stupid). Had an interesting near-miss turning left when I just didn’t look properly for oncoming traffic – not funny. The climbing wall was officially closed but they let us in and we had a mess about in the dry for a couple of hours. It was a purpose built building on an industrial estate, looked like a big A frame that was maybe 20 metres high and 30 by 20 square. I never managed to get to the top. Too scary.

I’m beginning to master things like bouldering. You have to prepare and swing your weight to get up things. In addition you sometimes have to switch which side of your body is closest to the wall, which I still haven’t quite understood.

The evening was much better and if memory serves Rosie and Deb went round the lake again. Plus some of the guys from the club came and we did some canoe polo, which consisted of splashing the other guys as much as possible with the ball. Jon joined in and enjoyed himself hugely. He agreed to come paddling the next day.

Tuesday 2nd June

Lazy morning. About 10 we left and …

Decided to publish this because I never had time to finish it so in it goes.