Distance: 28km riding
In the morning thousands of people gathered on the shores of Ijmuiden to farewell us from The Netherlands.
They even organised a parade of boats through the harbour, music blaring, people dancing... it was quite the nautical celebration. We wondered if it all spontaneously erupted simply because the sun came out...
We enjoyed the party and headed off to the terminal of our departure. It was exciting to be going to Newcastle, and to be staying overnight in a cabin! Almost a hotel... with beds... and hot showers...
The voyage across the north sea was quite rough, it was sometimes difficult to walk through the ship. And the pile of courtesy seasick bags on the table indicated this was normal.
We arrived in Newcastle to 17 degrees, winds and a forecast of heavy rain... But I felt so excited to be there! I wanted to talk to all the border workers as we made our way to the passport check, just because they spoke English...
But getting into England was more difficult than expected. They wanted to know where we were staying that night, what was our route through England, when were we leaving... turns out many Australians overstay their visas and they wanted to check me out... especially since Sam has a UK passport so technically he can stay... It was harder than entering China!
Once I got the stamp and we were in the country we rode to the suburb of North Shields, where we found a fantastic bike shop. We spent a couple of hours looking at all the things we needed (and didn't need) and chatting to the store workers. One of the mechanics, Jesse from Arizona, invited us to stay with him and wis wife for the night. We gratefully accepted and spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the seaside of Newcastle.
I felt quite nostalgic being in the place my hometown was named after. Suburbs like Wallsend and Gateshead.. signs pointing to Morpeth. And it looked like Newcastle, the working harbour, beaches... I loved it! As we waited for Jesse to finish work and take us back to his home, we sat on a bench watching the surfers, joggers and energetic dogs... we could have been sitting on the beach on the other side of the world.
But we weren't. We were in England. And it felt good.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia