The sun-faded oranges and reds of the shipping containers emblazoned with white letters that line the dock edge are the first things I see from my vantage point on the outside deck of the freight ferry as it comes into port.
The clouds above Hoek van Holland are brewing, changing tones of grey before my eyes in the early morning haze.
The ants scurrying in the distant a few minutes ago metamorphose into dockworkers in orange fluorescent jackets scampering around the port.
Distant shouts in a foreign tongue echo and reach my ears, intermingled with a smoker’s voice announcing something in Dutch over the tannoy speakers.
“Okay, she says we can go back to the car,” my future husband translates for me.
We join a pack of lorry drivers in their uniform of stretched jeans and checked shirts with buttons that threaten to pop at any second heading for the vehicle decks below, all of us jostling for room on the metal stairs.
We are all eager to return to our cars and trucks to get the next stage of our journey underway and leave the confines of the ferry behind. The next stage of my journey. My new life in the Netherlands.