December 11, 2012


Distance covered so far: 150km. Time zone: GMT. Weather: 3 C, sunny.

This afternoon I travelled to Newcastle, where I am getting the DFDS ferry to Amsterdam tomorrow. It was a small step – just 150km out of 12500km, but my first taste of life on the rails!

It was immediately apparent that I have too much baggage. People stare at me like I am some sort of demented human pack horse or mad English Sherpa. I managed to cart it about (just), but the real killer is going up flights of stairs, which feels like a heavy work out in the weights section of the gym. If Sir Ranulph Fiennes had my bags he would definitely have a sledge to carry them!

Otherwise it was a pretty uneventful trip – East Coast, First Class, in Coach L (seat 26) – just a few other passengers and great views of the sea. I plumped for the goats cheese tart, but noticed they now also offer fish & chips on the “all day” menu. I have no idea how you cook fish & chips on a train that no longer has a restaurant car, and perhaps that’s why I didn’t order it. I shall have to learn to be more adventurous if I am to embrace train cuisine this trip.

I was in unashamed “tourist mode” today, which felt odd as this leg is one I do frequently on business. I even asked someone to take my picture!

I think that’s all to report for today, other than that I’m off tonight for a farewell supper with an old friend. I’m hopeful that there will be festive hats and Christmas crackers. Possibly my last taste of “normal” food for some while..

Tomorrow I set sail for Amsterdam. I’m sure that Captain Pugwash would be proud of me for braving the North Sea in December rather than a more conventional Euro Tunnel route Eastwards.

One Comment on “Newcastle

Sandy Willmott
December 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Ah, the obligatory 'first train' photo! First box ticked :o)

I hope you've set your watch to Moscow time.

Have a great trip.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *