Train to Amsterdam
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 2 of 4 › view all entries
I had been working in Brussels for the past 4 days and was going to be there until Monday at least, so decided to spend the weekend in Amsterdam once I got off work. I was hoping to get away early, but last minute things kept me there until around 6pm. The train to Amsterdam takes about two hours. One of my co-workers, Rob, decided to come along with me. It took a bit of time to be finally on our way, as we had to drop the rental car off at the Brussels Airport, catch a local train to the Brussels North train station and then catch the international train to Amsterdam. The cost was 49 euros each way for a first class ticket. The cars are pretty roomy and Rob and I had one to ourselves.
We caught a tram outside the train station and rode it to the stop near our hotel (how we found the right stop, I will never know). We had reserved rooms at a hotel called Estherea, and old canal house on Singel Canal that dates back to the 1600's. My room was very Dutch looking -- all blue and white like Delft pottery -- a little too froo froo for me, but a nice room nonetheless. I had a great window overlooking the canal -- nice view. Rob was one floor above me -- so I kidded him about being able to hear through his floor.
We were starving so we dropped off our bags and headed out to find a restaurant. Most of the restaurants were closed, as it was nearly midnight, so it took us a while to find one that was still serving. We finally found on on teh Remblantplein called Ancora. I had a weiner schnitzel, fries and a glass of wine. Food never tasted better!
The Netherlands is an interesting place to me -- 16 million people live here, with 10 million of them on the western coastal corridor between Brussels and Amsterdam. I am told that there are 13 million bikes in Amsterdam, all of them old. It is a status symbol to have an older bike, plus newer ones get stolen! When the Nazi's took over the Netherlands, they stole all the new bikes from the Dutch people, leaving behind the older bikes and those in disrepair. Now it is in vogue to have an old bike and to thumb their nose at those who stole the bikes before.
The traffic in Amsterdam is amazing -- boats on canals, trams, cars, bikes and people in the streets, even after midnight! You have to look in 20 different directions before you ever step off of a sidewalk! The city is well lit at night with busy bars and clubs. It was fun to walk along and just do some people watching.