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. :)