Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


14.7.08
  Crossing the North Sea

Barbara asked me to get pics of the journey if I'd take the ferry to Scotland and see the Antonine Wall. I have no idea if I can afford another UK trip next year, but since I take the Amsterdam - Newcastle ferry for most of my UK travels, there are already photos, most from last years tour where the weather on sea was better.

Sunrise on the ferry

It's the best way to get to the Hadrian's Wall or Scotland, and while it's a bit through the backdoor and the kitchen into the hall, it also works for Wales; it's only 4 hours by train from Chester to Newcastle (Cardiff was a bit longer). It would not have been any easier to get from Chester to London, and the entire journey isn't more expensive than a line flight.

After all, the Romans did it that way too, sometimes, because Newcastle was a harbour already during their time in Britain.

Morning at sea

A journey by train would really have been fun. Not. Change trains in Frankfurt (which is fine, I know that station very well), Cologne, Brussels (a platform change that includes half a miles walk or so), Dover, London (and manage to get from Paddington to St.Pancras in 20 minutes, in a city I've never been, no thanks). Not to mention crossing the Channel by that stupid tunnel costs your firstborn. No wonder that company is bancrupt; no one's going to pay their fees if the Channel ferries are so much cheaper.

Lighthouse of North Shields / Newcastle

The DFDS Seaways ferry from IJmuiden / Amsterdam to North Shields / Newcastle is a lot more fun and they organise for bus transfer to/from the stations. You have a bed to sleep in (actually, an entire cabin with bathroom) and arrive the next morning, fresh and with a good breakfast in your stomach, instead of close to midnight, hungry and tired.

Approaching Newcastle harbour

Another aspect I love when traveling by train, bus or ferry is that you get a better feel for the distances than traveling by plane, and it's a great way to see a country. Ok, I know the route from my hometown to Amsterdam by now, but the part through the Kasseler Berge, the Taunus and the montains between Frankfurt and Cologne is always beautiful. The superfast ICE that makes up to 310 km/h is fun, too.

The bus trip from Carmarthen to Caernarfon was one of the best examples that six hours travel can pay out. It presented me with some of the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen.

North Shields up the Tyne river to the harbour
(some of the ship's safety boats to the right)

On the way back the sea was more than a bit rough this time. In fact, it the waves were high enough that the ship's stabilisators could not take out all movements and the ship rocked gently up and down. I loved it. Some others didn't, though. Blawdy landlubbers. :)
 
Comments:
That superfast ICE journey between Frankfurt and Cologne is great fun. ;) I take that train to Amsterdam reasonably often, from Düsseldorf, but it never reaches the same speeds as it does between Frankfurt and Cologne.
 
Speaking as someone who does know London, firstly you should never attempt to mkake a transfer between Paddington and St Pancras in twenty minutes. It's technically just about possible if there is a train at the right platform as you step off the train at Paddington, but not otherwise and it would take only a minute's delay somewhere along the line or a big queue somewhere to miss you your connection. Secondly, it's Pancras not Pancreas, though I understand how the confusion occurs; but most of our saints aren't quite *that* bloody and full of bile...
 
Oh, ooh...
Pictures make me think of the lines
"I must go down to the seas again/To the lonely sea and the sky..."
 
Alianore, you should try (after they've checked all the axles. ;) Frankfurt has a nice town centre. And there's the big book fair in October.

Jonathan, I had my suspicions and it was one of the reasons I decided against the train route. No fun waiting another 2 hours for the next train if you're already tired and hungry, plus the stations have such an unpleasant atmosphere (we've had some bomb threats as well, but our stations are no fortresses).
I corrected the spelling of St.Pancras, thanks for pointing that out.

Bernita, I miss the sea. I live in a lovely surroundings, but I would love to have it closer.
 
Looks like the ideal way to travel. I'd love to go to England by water instead of flying, but it's not very practical with the dayjob.
 
I thought the sea looked pretty calm in your photos. It doesn't take much of a chop to make some people start to turn green. Luckily, I'm not one of them! I love traveling by ferry.
 
Speaking as someone who hates boats, trains and planes - can't we bring back the infinitely slower but more pleasant horse-based travel? I suppose you'd still have to get over the water somehow though... ;-)
 
Wow. You don't tend to get weather like that on the west coast. ;)

I love the sea, though. I remember when we took a trip out to Staffa a couple of years ago and the boat rocked with the waves. I loved it, but I can't say the same for the rest of the people on board. :)

I'd take a ferry over a plane, though, any day.

Which reminds me, I've still not cleaned up all the sea-sickness from that last chapter... (picks up bucket and mop and trails away, muttering)
 
Lol Ann, and it takes a bit longer from the US than from Germany. ;)

Shelley, the water was calm when I took the photos, it was moving a bit more on the way back.

Lady D, but horse travel is a bit too slow to get you anywhere if you only have two weeks. And you get wet when it rains. :) Though I do like riding.

Kirsten, sometime you get such weather even at the westcoast. At least I do when I'm there. :p
Poor Calgacus. He should have taken that space ship instead. :)
 
I love ferries - so thanks for the post!
I used to travel between Dover and Calais a couple times a year, and when I was young, it was between islands in the Caribbean. (Not teh same weather at all!)
Love big waves and up and down!
 
But... but there's so much water. *tries not to turn green* Reason number 193 for living in Wyoming. No ferries. If the water's too deep to ride your horse across, something is wrong. :P
 
Between the islands in the Caribbean... tsk, tsk Sam, I had no idea you've a past as pirate. :)

Yep Constance, there's a lot of water. That's why it's called a sea and not a prairie. :P
 
You take the MOST amazing pictures. I took tons of pictures in Greece but I don't know if they're the same quality as these (I hope so though!)

Great job yet again.
 
Gabriele, absolutely great photos! Thank you for posting them. I can imagine what medieval travelers might think while approaching Newcastle.

The last time I was on a ferry was in 1970 going across the Channel in a storm. My mother said she never believed the stories about people turning green on rough water until she saw me. I think what made everything worse was the waves reaching higher than the deck before washing onto the deck on the second tier, and my concern for the travellers out on the lower tier deck.
 
Thank you, Meghan and Barbara.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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