The World Wide Web makes travel so easy. Hotels and ferries can be booked, eating places searched for, points of interest researched, and so on. The service that comes top of my list, however, is Google Maps and its associated Street View. I could (and sometimes do) spend hours just exploring the world from the comfort of home. If I find something within reach, then a right click on the map followed by “What’s here?” from the pop-up menu gives me its co-ordinates which I can then pass on to Lori the SatNav Lady who will guide me there. Incidentally, travelling without a navigator makes Lori an essential companion. I’d really struggle without her help (and have done).
Having decided on Terneuzen, then, I zoomed around the map of the Netherlands to see what I could see. After a while, I came across this intriguing item:
See it there, in the centre of the map? “Stichting Ark van Noach”. Even my non-existent Dutch was enough for me to guess that this was something to do with Noah’s Ark. Resorting to Google Translate (another indispensable tool) confirms that we’re looking at the Noah’s Ark Foundation.
A quick search turned up the relevant Website where I learned that this full-size replica of Noah’s Ark is moored in Dordrecht and open to the public. The Website also explains:
That was it – I was hooked. Now this was worth more than a quick trip over the border and back again, so the plan became
- Day 1 – Blyth to Rugby
- Day 2 – Rugby to Dunkirk via Dover
- Day 3 – Day in Dunkirk
- Day 4 – Dunkirk to Moerdijk
- Day 5 – Moerdijk to Dordrecht & Noah’s Ark; return to Dunkirk
- Day 6 – Dunkirk to Rugby
- Day 7 – Rugby to Blyth (via Darlington & No. 2 Son)
This meant an overnight stay in the Rugby Travelodge both on the way down and on the way back, two nights in the Dunkirk ibis (special offer!), one night in the Hotel Port of Moerdijk (actually a Holiday Inn Express), and one night in the Dunkirk B&B (the free night, and where I’d stayed in March of last year) – 6 nights and 7 days.
As mentioned at the beginning, it was just a case of going online and making all the bookings. As a change from previous expeditions, I decided to go all electronic so instead of printing out booking arrangements and carrying pieces of paper around I simply transferred the documents in PDF form to my Kindle Fire. It was then an easy matter for me to show the relevant document to the various receptionists. The free night at the B&B had to be claimed by mid-January, so Day 1 became Friday, January 2nd. All I had to do was to look forward to it.