|The Continental Tripping Journal 2010 Holland # 3|
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|Leaving Scotland via Newcastle|
|The Husband and I caught The Princess Of Norway from Newcastle to Amsterdam. She had a little 4 berth cabin and a spot on Car Deck 4 she was saving specially for us. It’s a very nice boat with loads of facilities, dining and entertainment options. Many more options than the Rosyth to Zeebrugee boat, on the other hand, she is full of Geordies.|
|We decided on The Explorers Steakhouse for our evening meal and proceeded to push the limits of the menu by requesting two starters and a main meal at the same time. I wanted the Prawn Cocktail and the Caesar Salad (starters) and The Husband fancied the Salmon (main meal). T’was no bother and all 3 dishes and accompanying side dishes were delivered together, and very nice they all were too. The Prawn Cocktail is a different and very tasty kind of Prawn Cocktail, with prawns and scallops and a white sauce, the Caesar is huge and very like the usual you get anywhere and nearly everywhere. The Salmon looked very chefy on the plate and was delicious with the aubergine and tomato on the side. A huge salad and bowl of chips joined the basket of bread we’d been tucking into while we waited. For sweet we asked for one of their Mixed Fruit and Ice Creams, to share, the waiter returned with one big plate tastefully arranged with vanilla and strawberry ice cream and many more unusual fruits, and two spoons.|
|Then we retired to our bunks to sleep the North Sea away, and it weren’t long before we were driving off the boat and on the road to Emmen.|
The weather was shitty, rainy and windy all week, but that didn’t really matter due to my illness keeping me quiet and rested up. The Summer House was very comfortable with all the facilities required. The Husband had to work, but come evening time we went for meals and a bit shopping. We did the Dutch bicycle thing too, me perched on the back seat thing. I had a shot at driving, but the bike just kept going to the right, it must have a faulty handlebar thingy, be out of alignment, that kinda thing.
|Dining in Dutchland|
|We enjoyed Dutch chip shop food at the Parc Sandur complex, I enjoyed it so much we went twice. They call it a snack bar, but it’s very much a chip shop, a light crispy one, not a stodgy sodden fat one. The frites, mmmmm, I tried them with mayo, then the special sauce version, which is mayo, tomato sauce and diced onion, mmmmmm. Over our two ‘tasting’ sessions we had Bamischijf (disk-shaped noodle-filled crumbed & deep-fried), Nasischijf (disk-shaped rice-filled crumbed & deep-fried), Goulashkroket (goulash-filled crumbed & deep-fried croquette), Gehaktbal (meat ball, no crumbs but deep-fried), Sate Kroket (sate-filled crumbed & deep-fried croquette) and Kaassouffle (cheese soufflé crumbed & deep-fried). That’s quite a lot, but we were ‘tasting’, some may have watched and called it ‘definitely eating’, but it’s what restaurant critics like me have to do. On reflection, they all bore a striking similarity to Findus Crispy Pancakes.|
|Another evening we had dinner at the restaurant in Parc Sandur, salmon for The Husband, cod for me with lovely sauces, bread, salad and frites, then we had a fruit sorbet and fine wafer affair with a sweet sauce, looked like a large extremely delicate double wafer from the ice-cream van and was rather nice.|
Late night shopping night in Emmen and we visited the V&D food hall restaurant in the town centre. A walk around two clothes shops and The Husband was fatigued, irritable and starving to death. Soup and pizza for The Husband, a chicken salad for me, then we shared a big strawberry tartlet. When I say ‘shared’, technically that is accurate, but by the time I got round to being ready for sweet The Husband had finished over 3/4 of it. My two small forkfuls were brief but very nice.
|Wheezing in Weeze and Ryanair...could they care any less?|
I returned to Scottishland all alone on a Ryanair plane from Weeze Airport, 78Km North West of Dusseldorf in Germany. Neither The Husband nor I were exactly happy about the Ryanair aspect of this plan, but at short notice it was, by a long shot, the best option price-wise for getting from Holland to Edinburgh.
|Weeze Airport is modern, small and friendly, with all necessary facilities. We enjoyed snacks and a drink at the cafe and played Spot-The-Scot, which was quite easy. The one bad thing about Weeze is there was no evidence of any other airline than Ryanair.|
|I had my Zebra Luggage on it’s first ever outing, it’s huge, but it wasn’t filled to extreme capacity. On the weighing scale it proved to be 1kg over the permitted 20kg, was so cool, we’d already thought of this eventuality and had hatched a plan of action. A work colleague likes Remia Curry Sauce and I’d bought three 500ml bottles to bring back for her. Given the weight of these things, which The Husband had informed me must be about 1kg a bottle, I’d only packed one to bring home with me, The Husband would bring the others when he drives home later. We could hardly believe how it panned out. The check-in lady said approx 1kg over-weight, we took out the curry sauce, it was spot-on.|
|Too soon we were snogging goodbye and I was on my own, just me verses Ryanair and the lovely (sic) people on a Ryanair flight. First off...can I just say...do not even bother buying Priority Boarding. As soon as the staff appear to start the boarding everyone in the waiting lounge surges forward. The announcement was for Priority Boarding only, tell that to Ryanair passengers, they’re not listening. Being a novice at this type of thing I struggled to find the end of the actual Priority Boarding queue, BECAUSE it was somewhere tiny up front and there were all these people in the way. And them people were behaving like people behave when they’re ignoring everyone else so they can steadfastly and determinedly keep their place in a queue. I had to enquire of many people as I tried to find the end of my queue, excuse me do you have priority boarding? None of them did, I kept-on keeping-on pushing forth, excuse me, excuse me, priority boarding anyone? I never did get to the Priority Boarding queue.|
|The boarding staff pushed us out the door and I found myself in the middle of a crowd standing on tarmac in the awful weather for ages, watching as the incoming passengers trooped by then, presumably, the airline staff cleaned the plane and restocked their wares. All the while I’m getting blown around on the tarmac.|
|Despite the Priority Boarding fiasco I still ended up sitting in seat 1C. I’ve never been on the front row before, and I won’t be doing it again. I managed to get the front row because by the time I walked on there were two big German men sitting in 1A and 1C and everyone was walking on by. As I arrived the man in 1C changed to 1B so I just sat down in 1C. I won’t be doing the front row again because I found myself under Ryanair airhostess scrutiny. My little Warehouse black leather studded duffle cross-body bag with tasselled draw-cord, which to anyone’s judgement should be seen as part of my outfit, not a bag as such, it’s like an external pocket, a pocket on a string, holding only my absolute emergency requirements like iPod, Smints, Kleenex lip-stick print pocket tissues, Zebra retractable pen, mobile phone, Cherry Chapstick and silver chainmail change purse. But the airhostess said it had to go in overhead luggage. Aghast I pretended to not know what she was talking about, but she persisted. In revenge I ordered a bag of over-priced Mini Cheddars from her trolley a bit later, then told her my purse was in my external pocket, so she had to get it down for me. Approaching Edinburgh I’d hidden my Warehouse pocket down by my side and covered the strap with my Alexander McQueen scarf, the black/white one, but bugger me, she came looking for it insisting I had to let it go again, so I made her put it back up.|
There was another annoying female on the flight. Seat 1D. This Glaswegian middle-aged woman introduced herself to me by tapping my shoulder. She was on about my grey Autograph carry-on bag with it’s gorgeous super-soft leather and zipped bottom compartment. She was whining, my first impression was of a mentally-unstable lady. Her coat was being crushed in the over-head luggage compartment? Sacre-bleu! I stared at her, unbelieving; does one place a treasured coat in danger of crushing in an over-head luggage compartment? I wouldn’t have thought this was a particularly good idea in the first place. She was looking at me with her crumpled distraught face, she looked more crushed than any crushing that could be inflicted on any coat, I felt disengaged, do remember, I was heavily medicated. “Your bag’s on top of my coat” she wailed, “it’s going to get crushed”. I didn’t say “so?”, that would’ve seemed impolite, I said, “well I’m sorry, but there’s nowhere else for my bag to be right now”. Then she said, more to herself than me, “I’ll move it”. I looked back at her several times, amazed was I at her stupidity.
|Later in the flight I felt her tap again. I swung my head round and glared, “your bag’s in the way, I can’t reach my bag, it’s behind yours”. She got the message and announced...”I’ll move it”, then got her bag for herself, dullard-and-a-half. I’d said nothing.|
|This I see now, is the way forward. When faced with utter stupidity that, if you were to respond and attempt to navigate, could only be detrimental and tiring for you...then pretend you don’t understand, pretend you’re deaf, pretend you’re mentally ill, pretend you are less capable than the fool harassing you. That should get them to leave you alone/deal with their own problems.|
|There’s nothing good about a Ryanair flight, apart from the short distances they cover. An hour and a half was quickly passed with podcasts and my favourite card game on the iPod. I watched the Glaswegian head air-hostess say words into the tannoy phone hand-set which sounded like the right and appropriate words but they had precious little to do with reality. “Ladies and gentlemen please feel free to approach cabin crew for any assistance you may require”, translates as, “passengers let’s just get this over with as soon as possible, it’s not pleasant for you and it’s not pleasant for us, we all know Ryanair is shite so we’ll go about the motions and you just shut the feck up, and it’ll all be over ASAP”. They get the safety info bit done quick-sticks. I wanted to ask for reassurance that my life-jacket and O2 mask were in infinitely better condition than the ones they were demonstrating on. The bag she brought the stuff out in was ripped so bad up a side that the equipment just fell out the hole, she watched it fall, expressionless. Soon as we were in the air they set about with their main role, selling stuff. The usual snacks, drinks, perfumes and such like, then...Ryanair Scratchcards!|
|Well, we’re all obviously in gambling mood already, or we wouldn’t be on a Ryanair flight, so I spose it makes sense.|
|But before very long at all, a bag of Mini Cheddars and half a box of Spearmint Smints later, we were descending into Edinburger, so not all that much of a hardship really. Then a big German guy hit me on the head with his carry-on case. I say ‘hit’ for dramatic effect, it was more of a tap.|
|I will never fly Ryanair ever again, unless I really really need to.|
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