The Stena overnight crossing from Harwich to Hook of Holland is a family favourite. A pleasant drive down the A12 (compared to M11 chaos), easy check-in, spacious cabins, and a smooth 8 hour crossing. I even got to watch “Sully” for a fiver last night. No spoilers, but it sinks.
The buffet serves a decent Anglo-Dutch selection based on chicken-and-chip variants, and the sort of beer range to make you glad you live in Clacton. But we’re going to need to get used to Heineken in our pubs soon, though hopefully not at £5 a pint.
Holland, or whatever you call it, is a dull place to drive through, if not to visit. In comparison the A15 from Lincoln to Scunthorpe is an epic journey of discovery.
A mere 3 hours from the Hook to the German border, passing a good dozen McDonalds and endless out-of-town retail parks. McDonalds really are the old Wetherspoons, the place for loos, coffee and Wi-Fi. On the plus side, it’s one of the easiest 200 mile journeys you’ll ever do, and (France note) toll-free.
We had to see a bit of Holland, so chose the unknown Apeldoorn, famed for a recent Royal assassination attempt and a bankrupt football club. Coincidentally, it reminded me of Maidenhead with cheese.
Sometimes you turn up in a city with a precision plan to tick off art, pubs and pies; more often you just go in the first big café you see. In Apeldoorn that was the Grand Café de Notaris.
As the picture implies, it’s a hotchpotch of styles, and one of those places with big menus where you can only eat certain things at certain times. But it was Mrs RM’s big birthday, and she got that Brand Dubbeldock (7.5%) at 10.45 a.m. Warming but thin, she said, the same as my treble espresso then. Decent brie and burgers at UK gastro pub prices, but no sign of Dutch craft beers.
To be honest Apeldoorn looked dull till we stumbled upon the vast, smelly market, which made our Cambridge effort seem very poor. With a long car journey ahead I resisted the draw of a kilo of Dutch finest.
By 11.30 the market, and a few surrounding bars, were heaving with the Christmas shoppers we came here to escape. Nothing appealed enough to keep us from the lure of the remaining Krispy Kremes in the car, not even the mixed media minds man.