I travel a lot with my job and recently visited the Netherlands; however instead of the usual ‘up at 4am to get to Heathrow’ routine I decided to play it different and get the overnight ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland. I had done this trip once before but as this was for a stag do it really doesn’t count! I got the train to Harwich and was on the boat by 10pm, ready for a late dinner.
The Stena Hollandica is a new boat, built in 2010 so still nice and clean and surprisingly well equipped. I dumped my stuff in the comfortable cabin and walked swiftly to the food hall, as I remember that this got very busy very quickly on my first trip.
I ordered pork schnitzel with chips, and helped myself to the salad bar. You know what? It was very good, much better than I thought you could realistically expect on a ferry. It was freshly cooked to order and had a lovely spiced breadcrumb coating. The chips were equally good; from experience I know that Dutch people like good chips. The salad was mostly a mix of Dutch options and all were perfectly good. A small bottle of wine complemented this nicely.
An hour on deck with a cigar and a book (under the heater) and it was time for bed. I woke up suitably refreshed and ready to go, I was on the train into Rotterdam less than 15 minutes after walking off the ferry. Definitely a more civilised way of travelling; I firmly believe that train and boat travel broadens the mind whereas plane travel narrows it. Find an excuse to go to Amsterdam (I can think of plenty) and get the boat at least one way.