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Posted on 17th February 2007. No Comment

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Jess Moss shares her DUCK Week experience with durham21
Friday | Saturday | Monday

Van Mildert’s Jess Moss got as far as Amsterdam in this year’s DUCK Week Jailbreak competition. Her aim: to get as far away from Durham as possible within 36 hours, with a budget of zero pounds; last year’s winners got all the way to Korea!

All sponsorship money goes to Durham University Charities Committee (DUCK).
Having left Durham prison, we set about trying to hitch our way to Newcastle airport. Almost sixty unsuccessful minutes later and we decided to try our luck at the station, where after several minutes of blagging, the man behind us in the ticket queue got so fed up of waiting for us that he volunteered to pay our rail fare. Perseverance does pay.

Once at the airport, we visited the counters of various airlines; most told us to get lost. We were offered a flight to Tenerife by one company, but that didn’t fly until Saturday. Just as we were wondering whether to cut our losses and spend an uncomfortable night at the airport and take the flight, a lady from BA came and told us she’d put us on the next flight to Heathrow. This option only involved a two hour wait, and we thought that the possibilities from Heathrow would be greater. Whilst waiting at the airport the ladies at the BA counter called ahead to try and arrange more flights for us.

We arrived at Heathrow and made a beeline for the BA desks, where we were told to our disbelief that we had missed out by five minutes on a flight to New York. You can’t imagine the disappointment that followed, especially because other flight companies were far from co-operative! Tears, beers and many cigarettes later and we were still at Heathrow as the last flight of the night began check-in. It was time for drastic action.

Luckily we had heard that Eurostar’s booking-line was open until 9pm, and we gave them a call. Amazingly, they offered us return trains to Amsterdam leaving the next morning. Time was running out, so we accepted without and further consideration.

We sneaked our way onto the tube and stayed at a friend’s house in London .

The taxi to Waterloo was paid for by my friend’s housemates (I didn’t know them so the rules weren’t bent!). And the train left on time. We changed in Brussels, stopping quickly to have a little look around. By 4pm local time we were in Amsterdam. With 3 hours left until the deadline we had to decide whether to try and get to Amsterdam’s airport and try to get further. This proved totally unfeasible when the train companies in Amsterdam were less than helpful. In the end, we had to make the oh-so-difficult decision to book ourselves into a hotel (which happened to look like an Ikea showroom) and spend the weekend in Amsterdam.

The return journeys were free, although we had to make our way back form London, luckily Megabus have really cheap fares!

We made it back early Tuesday morning, exhausted, and a little smelly. Durham had never seemed such an appealing place to be as it did on our return.

Jess Moss

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