Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Harwich and London

7/2012 Update:  a series of blog entries from a Norway cruise I was fortunate enough to take in the Summer of 2008. Although it feels funny to have relayed trip updates via a blog, it was a pre-Facebook way of telling friends/family about my travels.

I'm writing this from the hotel we're staying at in Harwich, the port where the ship sails.  

We went into London for the day and got back so late that I'm not going to be able to write anything remotely coherent.  So, let's see if I can do better tomorrow!

Okay, so I didn't get more written the next day, the day before we sailed.  Our long day and late arrival back in Harwich (pronounced "hair-ich') wiped us out.  For our London excursion, we took the train into the city for some good touristy fun (keep in mind that this is my first visit to the UK).  We met up with Bruce, Carol, and their boys (already in the city) and did a good bus tour of the central part of London. 

We got to see all of the usual sights and even got a boat tour around the Thames.  The weather was fantastic and London, while being crowded and expensive, was very impressive.  We continued on to the Tower of London with a stop at the London Eye before heading back to Harwich.  It was all fine and peachy until we tried to get the train back to Harwich (many miles out of the city, too far away for a taxi).  Apparently, some of the overhead cables on the train lines were damaged so some part of the train system was out of commission.  We sat around the main station forever trying to figure out what train to take and felt lucky to get back that night at all.  The night manager at the hotel made a comment to the effect that this wasn't too uncommon.

We got ourselves up yesterday morning and made our way over to the cruise terminal.  First, I need to point out how nice the hotel in Harwich was.  This place, an small old hotel, was pretty recently remodeled.  It was classy and comfortable.  Cheers to my brother in-law Bob for suggesting the place.  The food we had in its restaurant was better than what we had in London (OK, so we didn't try very hard).  Great stuff.

After getting through security and registration, we got into our staterooms aboard the Rotterdam.  My folks have a really nice suite with its own huge verandah.  Rob and I have a standard room, but on the large side, with an ocean view.  Very nice.  So where was I?  Oh yes...

Yes, the elevators on board all have days-of-the-week floor mats.  How considerate of them.

As you'd expect, there's the obligatory lifeboat drill and wandering the ship to check out all the public areas.  This is the first cruise I've been on and I'm still amazed as to how large this ship is, and it isn't even one of the biggest afloat.  I won't bore you with descriptions of this small floating city, but needless to say, there is a LOT happening here.  The food so far has been okay.  As with your average cruise ship, the emphasis is quantity over quality.  For what it is, it's pretty good.  We did eat at their nicest restaurant, the one place aboard you pay to eat at, and the meal was quite nice.  We sailed from Harwich and made our way up to our next stop...

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