Tuesday, 1 August 2017
ASTORIA 9th March 2017, Part 2
Friday 10th March 2017
I was a little reluctant to leave my comfy bed after losing an hour's sleep last night because of the clock change to get us onto European time but I arrived at breakfast as planned after a quick walk on deck to watch us arriving in today's port of Amsterdam. This is the capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands although the seat of the Dutch Government is in The Hague.
Several of us met at the gangway for our planned day trip but "technical problems" at one end or other of the gangway meant we had to wait for 45 minutes until they were resolved. Once ashore we could head to the car hire offices and pick up the vehicle for the day. Five of us were going north to the port of Den Helder, to travel as foot passengers on the new ferry sailing across the water to the island of Texel. I live in sheep country so I knew the word referred to a particular variety of sheep, but I never expected to set foot on its island of origin.
It was a straightforward run up to the port, where we parked for free in the ferry car park, then watched the older ferry SCHULPENGAT depart for Texel just across the water.
As she left Den Helder the new ferry TEXELSTROOM left Texel and headed our way so we were able to see the shape of her as she approached.
She unloaded and loaded quickly on her two vehicle decks and six minutes later were walking into the lounge.
The internal design was fresh and new and I loved seeing the 'sky' on the ceiling mural. Midships was the food serving area plus souvenirs on shelves opposite, with ample room for passengers. There were seating areas at both ends of the deck and they proved very comfortable, with good views.
The ferry takes 20 minutes to cross the 4.2 kms distance to the island, so we were able to enjoy a meal and stay on board for the return journey back to Den Helder. That was a good 2.50 euros well-spent for a return ticket!
Then it was time to collect the car and head back to Amsterdam and return the car to the hire office. Afternoon tea was available on board ASTORIA after we walked back to the cruise terminal, ready for departure at 5 p.m.
After that there was time to meet in one of the bars before dinner. Service was much faster this evening, which we appreciated, and then we went to see the ABBA Dancing Queen show for this evening's entertainment.
Ships seen: Astoria, Schulpengat, Texelstroom
To be concluded...