On July 19th, only one day after my New Orleans feet touched down on Netherland's soil, Thomas and I boarded the Stena Line. We departed from Hoek van Holland and crossed the North Sea to Harwich, United Kingdom. The ferry was huge and the closest thing to a cruise ship I've ever experienced. It had a cafeteria, indoor and outdoor bars, a movie theater, smoking lounge, casino, arcade, and outdoor sporting courts. Thomas spent a little extra for us to have access to a private lounge which I highly recommend. Not only did it have couches and a quiet place away from the bustle of the main lobby, but it included free unlimited snacks, espresso, juice, and wine! The 6-hour journey went smoothly, thanks to the sunny weather and calm waters.
HARWICH, UNITED KINGDOM
Harwich was an adorable tiny town with houses that reminded me a little bit of home with their old bricks and pastel coloring. Thomas and I grabbed dinner at a hole in the wall Turkish restaurant where in the midst of our meal, the entire staff came out with scarves and tambourines and invited everyone up to dance. It was delightful and amusing and the perfect way to start an amazing journey. We ended our evening at the pub right next to our hotel. Inside were locals, old and young, taking turns singing karaoke. They were warm, filled with loads of recommendations about our upcoming destinations, and surprisingly (seeing as it was a night of karaoke) pretty darn great at singing.
York was bustling with tourists, hen parties, and a comedy festival that brought a modern flavor into the Medieval walls of the city. The architecture was breathtaking and exploding with history around every corner. Thomas and I walked through the streets until we found an entryway onto the Roman built wall that protected the city until the Vikings came. We ended our day at "New York," a collection of old shipping crates modernized into bars. It was quirky, unique, and sold a collection of UK's finest beers.