RIC '08 - Leiden, Netherlands

Another year, another Rotary International Club...the biggest ever this year? - with about 150 participants, of which 23 were from High Suffolk. Here's info about the event and the programme.

The weekend started well - with about a dozen of us getting trapped in a lift at the Harwich docks! It got better on the boat, though, when we realised that Messrs Field and Pulham had arranged for a kind of structured wife-swapping....with a random distribution of partners amongst cabins. Fortunately(?), it all got sorted out, and we spend the rest of the evening in the ships bar (oh, there's a surprise...). And who should we meet in the bar but a fellow Rotarian, from Harpenden, also on a Rotary international visit.

The rest of the weekend wasn't quite as exciting, but still great fun - the dutch club had arranged a good programme which all went off pretty smoothly. On Saturday, we took a boat into Leiden, followed by a guided tour. The formal RIC meeting in the cathedral (!) confirmed our friends from Lublin as full members of RIC ,and the hosts of next year's event.

After lunch in the church, we were treated to a boat trip. Question: how do you get a 16-foot high boat under a 10-foot high bridge? Answer: you tell everybody to get off the top deck, then collapse the seats to leave about 4 inches clearance - see the pictures. The trip took us along some of the wide canals and lakes around Leiden, and a few of us were drooling at some of the waterside properties...

In the evening, we walked to the formal dinner accompanied by a hurdy-gurdy (is that the right term?), much to the amusement (or annoyance, I'm not sure which) of the locals. The meal itself was very good, the only thing wrong was the splitting of the company over two floors. Some interesting dancing to a swing band followed...

The next morning (Sunday already?) we were shipped to the seaside for a great brunch - from cornflakes to pate in 2 foot of table. All too soon it was time to get the coach back to the Hotel and then off to the ferry. At least, that's what happened eventually....the coach driver has just a little trouble trying to get himself out of the hotel car park. The result was something of a race to the ferry - fortunately JP has contacted them and warned them we might be late, so we didn't get too many black looks at The Hook.

On to the Ferry, no fun with rooms this time, an uneventful sail back to Harwich...and we were saved the decision as to whether to trust the lift by a big "out of order" sign...

Many thanks to all those who had a hand in organising the event, another great success.