I woke up very early and tried to get the earliest train to Amsterdam. The Zuid/Midi station was pretty quiet at that time of the day. I had just spent two nights in Brussels. I like Brussels. It was not as exciting as London and Paris for sure. However, they have some of the best food around. The streets are safe and the people are helpful. Even in this station, I do feel safe even though it was so early.
Many cities in Europe are linked by rail under the InterCity train service. The InterCity train between Brussels and Amsterdam is not high-speed. Because of this, it took three hours to reach Amsterdam.
There is a run every hour. The coach are very comfortable and there were hardly anyone on board on this first run of the day. I managed to get a private room with six seats — comfy!
Arrived at the Amsterdam Central station at about 9:30am. Gosh! I feel at home already. Between all the European cities I have been too, the people in Amsterdam are so similar to the people in Vancouver. They are so friendly and patient. Each time I stop people asking for directions, they will actually stop and take time to tell me.
I wanted to start the tour of Amsterdam early and check into the hotel only at night. So, I left my baggage in the Left Baggage area and start plotting my day.
My first stop was the Visitor Centre where I got myself a 48 hours pass to the tourist spots. This pass, called I AMsterdam, came with a Guide Book and a plastic card which I can use for transit, free admissions, canal boat, discounts and believe it or not, free snacks and drinks.
I like this … this is a 48 hour pass not a 2-day pass. The 48 hour starts from first use.
More about Amsterdam tomorrow.
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The thing that stood out to me from the pictures is how clean the train cars are compared to mass transit/commuter trains here in the US.
I have been checking your blog. I am trying serveral chinese recipies(mostly cakes – trying to bake the “wife cake” at the moment) and your blog is very helpfull.
Not sure when you will be leaving Amsterdam, but Monday 30th of April is Queensday “koninginnendag”. This is an national holiday and everyone will be outside celibrating! Check out Vondelpark then! Enjoy your stay!
I’ve only ever ridden one commuter-style train in the past and that was the BART system in the bay area of California. This commuting system? Wow. I am impressed. It’s clean and looks incredibly comfortable.
They might be more friendly in nature because most Dutch do speak English compared to other Europeans cities. 😀
Hi Crystal: I am already back home in Vancouver. Amsterdam is an amazing city. If you do get a chance top come to Vancouver, you’ll probably find how similar the people are. Amsterdam is a very liberal city.
Hi Tigerfish: I do find that the Dutch are very genuinely helpful. Compared to say, Parisien, they are a world apart. They are patient and judging from the way they stop and face you (i.e. no standing in such a way that they just want to go) and have eye-contact speaking to you, I do think the Dutch are very friendly people. I have more people here chatting up with me (waiting on queue and on transit) that all the other cities I had been to combined. I came back with a very positive impression of the Dutch.
Will have to agree with Chris on how clean EuroRails are. Puts NYC Metro/Subway to shame.
I’ll have to let you know what I think of the Dutch(never been to Amsterdam, but am thinking about it..debating between that and South Africa)…i do know what French are bit reserved….then they warm up, gradually… 🙂