When I travel I like to travel in style. OK that's a lie, I like to travel cheaply and as such when you are offered a very cheap three-day trip on a 'party cruise' to Amsterdam you can't turn it down. Departing from Hull, the excursion offered two nights on the ferry with on-board entertainment (which happened to be a Slade tribute band) and a day in Amsterdam in-between. It sounded too ridiculous (and cheap… did I mention it was very cheap?) to pass up.
My first ever view of ‘the North’
We set off from Norwich train station on the Friday morning and after three different trains (including my first ever journey on a Virgin train – I had no idea trains could be that comfortable *TAKE NOTE GREATER ANGLIA*) we were finally ‘up North’ and ready to climb aboard at around 4pm that afternoon. First impressions were just how big the boat was, second impressions were just how cheap the bar was. Little did we realise that was probably to help numb the pain of the tribute act later. I wouldn’t say they were bad but they seemed to sing very few Slade songs and were the least enjoyable entertainment of the evening. And they only had to compete with a 60s soundtrack played on heavy rotation.
Slade UK. Not singing a Slade song.
Aboard the ship, a little bit like a green version of The Shining.
I slept surprisingly well on the ferry, possibly due to the soothing motion of the waves. However, the captain’s voice bellowing through the rooms tannoy at 6am telling us that we needed to be up by 9am wasn’t quite so enjoyable, nor his half hourly reminders. Slade UK seemed positively quiet by comparison.
My first view of Holland.
We were ushered through passport control and onto coaches heading for Amsterdam where we were lucky enough to get a driver who enjoyed some very loud hard house music, not the best when you’re coping with a cheap-drink-induced hangover. We only had about six hours between being dropped off and picked up and my main (and only) priority was visiting the Stedelijk Museum which houses modern art, contemporary art and design.
I loved the repetition and textures on this pot.
That’s one use for all those cocktail umbrellas.
Inside the Richard Serra installation outside the museum.
After the museum we wandered around, taking in the sights and smells of the bustling city. I’ll be honest, I had no idea where I was as my sense of direction has never been good so I followed my friend, stopping to take photographs along the way.
One of my two favourite Amsterdam architectural features (and there were a lot) was this little cat holding on to the drain pipe. I usually prefer modernist design, devoid of unnecessary adornment but I was willing to overlook that when it came to this guy.
My other top architectural features were these copper drain pipes. Why do the Dutch have such interesting drainage?
After buying books from the museum and lots of cheese and clogs, we returned to the coach and made our way back to the ferry for another night of Slade UK not singing Slade. Ironically the real Slade were playing back in my hometown of Norwich that night.
The view from the coach, with a soundtrack of hard house. Looked a little bit Blade Runner-ish.
Although we didn’t get to spend very long in Amsterdam the trip was great fun and well worth the very little money it cost. I’ll admit I needed a holiday to recover from those three long days but if I get offered a trip on a ‘party cruise’ again I’ll certainly be going. Well, once I’ve checked it’s not Slade UK again anyway…
- Suzy Seed