5.11.18

Going Dutch 2018

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 1: Tuesday 23 October 2018
An ad in Bluebell News had caught my eye - a trip to Bluebell Railway's twin, the Museumstoomtram at Hoorn on the Zuiderzee in Holland, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. When I received the itinerary however, I saw it included two of my pet hates: getting up early, and travelling by train on a Sunday! Ah well, its only once a year, so on Tuesday 23 October it was up at 4am, and an Uber to the station for the 5.47 to St Pancras, where I bought a sandwich at M&S (not needed!) and joined the Going Dutch party in the Eurostar departure lounge. We'd been booked Standard Premier (First class?), so breakfast - and a beer - was included... the first of many meals.

Going Dutch October 2018

It was the direct train to Amsterdam, but we got off in Rotterdam to visit Mini World, a giant model railway and docks, with a GB exhibit under construction. It works on the principle of 1 minute = 1 hour, so every now and again it goes dark and the buildings light up. Then was back to the station for a first class train to Amersfoort, where we were staying for three nights in the rh Hotel, where we had dinner.

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 2: Wednesday 24 October 2018 - First steam trip
We travelled by train to Apeldoorn to join the Veluwsche Stoom Trein, pulled by a giant German loco, 23 076. We had the Wagon Lits to ourselves and were greeted with a huge slab of apple cake for elevenses. This was followed shortly by lunch: soup, mushroom vol-au-vent, cheese rolls and fruit cake! On the way back we stopped at Beekbergen where the loco took on coal and water, and we got to see lots of German locos.

Going Dutch October 2018

Back at Amersfoort we had a snail's-pace walking tour of the older parts of the town, including De Drei Ringen brewery where we enjoyed some of their Dubbel and the obligatory cheese. Then it was to Restaurant Dara, for a middle-eastern 'tapas' (mezze?) comprising an enormous number of dishes that kept on coming. The walk back took us past the medieval bridge all lit up.

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 3: Thursday 25 October 2018 - Utrecht
Another early start and it's the train to Utrecht Railway Museum. After tea and biscuits in the old station we were let loose in the museum, which is more like a theme park, with a dark ghost train, a rollercoaster runaway train 'flight simulator' and a trip 'down a coal mine' in a rickety wooden lift. Lots else to see, including many locos built in Manchester. After a lunch of cheese rolls and soup, it was a short walk to the canal and a boat trip on Domstad round the waterways of Utrecht. The final destination was Oudaen Castle with its brewery and restaurant. Then it was back to Amersfoort for our final night there.

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 4: Friday 26 October 2018 - Hoorne and the Zuiderzee
It was first class again to Hoorne via various diversions, and after dumping out bags at the station, boarded a steam tram to Medemblik to catch the MS Friesland for a rainy day cruise to the Open-Air Museum at Enkhuizen. The Museumstoomtram is more like a light railway, with three steam locos in operation (6513, 7742 and 8107) plus a diesel railcar. At a different time of year, they'd be puffing through tulip fields, but this time of year it's cabbage and cauliflowers! The Zuiderzee I discovered is a fresh water lake, not the sea!

Going Dutch October 2018

At the Open-air museum, we checked out the steam laundry and the smithy and had coffee in the bakery. The post office even sold real stamps (€2.10 for a postcard to UK). We didn't have time to see the indoor museum and it was a long walk to Enkhuizen station - there were shuttle boats apparently. Thankfully, the Petite Nord Hotel was not far away and we checked in and began the long walk (for me) to the restaurant Steak and More, by the harbour, which provided me with a tuna steak!

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 5: Saturday 27 October 2018 - day on the steam trams
Technically a free day, this was a whole day on the MSHM, with a packed lunch provided. So it was down to Medemblik where I took a photo of MS Friesland in the sunshine, then caught the railcar for one stop then back on the next train to Medemblik them finally back to Hoorn stopping off at Wognum to take some pictures of the trains. The Dutch like to put on a performance, so little acts of theatre were enacted at the various stations, getting the kids involves carrying parcels etc.

Going Dutch October 2018

My plan was to catch the Hoorn tourist bus (golf cart) to the harbour and the Museum of the 20th century but couldn't find it. So it was back to the hotel and thence to Barrels Pub for a Bock. There was more bock back at the station where we were treated to a slap up dinner of various  stamppot with a couple of veggie sausages for me!

Going Dutch October 2018

Day 6: Sunday 28 October 2018 - Homeward bound via Train World
Lots of changes today: Hoorn > Amsterdam > Rotterdam > Antwerp (the most beautiful station in the world?) > Schaerbeek, where we visited Train World (my second time), to reacquaint with Atlantic streamliner 12.004. and had a lovely farewell meal in their RN Express cafe. Then it was back on the train to Brussels Midi, and on to the Eurostar, economy class this time! At St Pancras, the Thameslink trains were only going as far as Three Bridges, but outside the station it was well organised with queues for various destinations, including an express service to Brighton. I walked home from the station, getting in around midnight and after a day turning back the clocks twice!

Going Dutch October 2018

I must say this was one of the best organised trips I've been on, thanks to Roger Price of the Bluebell. The only money I spent was on the odd beer, postcards and stamps. It was as if I'd given a wad of money (just over a grand) to a butler or concierge and said show me a good time. I did things I'd never do travelling solo, such as going first class, and staying at posh hotels, eating at posh restaurants. It was tiring and intensive, with a little too much walking for me, but I now have lots of happy memories.

More pix on Flickr.


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