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Holland - Singapore Home!

22 January

Ferry crossings were fairly much a non-event for us at this stage so the thought of a three and a half hour trip was seen as fairly 'ho..hum'.

Wrong again! This was SOME ferry! Constructed in Finland, the HSS boasts a Casino, three restaurants, two movie theatres, a McDonalds (of course) and a full wall composite-video screen playing music videos. Belting along at near 30 knots on a billiard table sea, the feel was more like an airliner than a boat.

23 January

Back in Holland the 'Legoland'  landscape of the 'countryside' - mostly the suburbs of Den Hague and Amsterdam - was covered in snow. Our last nights in the van were in the fairly grotty inner city Camping Zeeburg.

Amsterdam is much the same as we remembered it from previous visits - in a word - sleazy! The contrast between the city and the rest of Holland is staggering. Rubbish fills the streets; public transport is chaotic; 'Big City' indifference abounds and  "window-shopping" for "girls" is still the norm – at any hour of the night – or day!!

One bright spot was that we had returned to the land of cheap beer prices!

24 January

Returning the Van to the company office in central Amsterdam it was interesting to compare our ability to navigate and drive in big city traffic. After four and a half months we think we finally 'nailed it'!

We cannot speak highly enough of Braitman and Woudenburg the company from which we rented the van. Their service from day one (almost 18 months ago) to the handing back of the van was impeccable. While the van itself was a little old in comparison to others we saw, it was reliable and comfortable.

This is still the ONLY way to travel!!!

Amsterdam Central station is one of the biggest in Europe. Where else would we spend our last night but in the Ibis Hotel with a close-up view of the platforms! Given the places we have stayed over the last few months we probably couldn't have slept without the constant train noise.

25 – 27 January

If you can't stand the heat don't even go in the kitchen!…

Long distance flights are never a picnic. After such a long time on the road our return flight could have been complete hell. After three trips to Europe we were ready for the worst. However, with the benefit of a four hour sleep in Singapore on the way home and access to more than a dozen movies on the flight, we survived fairly comfortably.

Home alone at 6.15 AM Brisbane time, by choice, we jumped a Yellow. (our devoted children HAD offered to collect us, but we suspected the hour would not find any of them at their best),

What more can you say?… The greatest adventure of our lives (so far!) was over…

Where to next?

Paul & Janita O’Neill

18 Sept 2000 – 27 Jan 2001