December 31st, 2007 – by: bigmac993
The train. I don't remember if this is the train I got on to warm up or not but I liked the way these trains look.
I had a 12 hour layover in Amsterdam and took a quickie tour of the downtown area. It was New Years Eve and the streets were already crowded with people celebrating. The problem was it was cold, -5c when our plane landed at about 7:30am. Although I had been working in Alaska, I did not bring any cold weather clothing with me as I was going to a warm destination south of the equator. I only had a light fleece jacket with me. I had been to the downtown area from Schiphol airport before but it had been a few years and I had someone with me familiar with the city.
So I rented a locker to store my carry-on baggage, got some Euros and headed to the train platform.
Somehow I got confused about the train number and was not sure of which one to catch. It was the middle of the night by my body clock and I had not slept the night before due to some last minute issues so now I was tired and cold. I stood out in the cold waiting for the right train and there was really no one to ask as I did not speak the language. Finally I got so cold, I decided to get on the next train and warm up regardless of where it was going. So I did and knew within a few minutes that it was the wrong train because of the length of time the train was going. Finally the conductor came by and asked for my ticket. I showed it to him and he began to speak rapid Dutch to me. I must have had this puzzled look on my face so he switched to English and told me I was on the wrong train. I played the dumb tourist and apologized. He told me to get off at the next stop and which train to take to downtown Amsterdam. He said to tell the next conductor what happened and that I would probably not be charged for another ticket. Wow, what a nice helpful man and so courteous!
Ajax Stadium. Taken on the "mystery train" I don't know where I was going. I am sure some you can tell me from looking at this photo.
So I got off at the next stop and bought some cheese, bread, and wine at a small deli.
I had planned to do this as I love the bread available in Europe. I lived in Chateauroux, France for one year and American bread never tasted very good to me after that.
Taken on the "mystery train" I don't know where I was going.
So finally I got on the right train and arrived in downtown Amsterdam. I was walking the streets taking a few photos but it was foggy and the pictures were not too good. I got cold again very fast and went in to a coffee shop for some hot tea or coffee. The problem was the air was thick with marijuana smoke. I am in the US Merchant Marines and we are constantly being surprise tested for drugs and I was afraid that I would get too much in my system if I stayed in this smoke for long. Maybe that can’t happen but the penalties are so stiff, loss of work for 1 year + attend a $10,000 drug rehab program, that it is not wise to risk it. We have Captain Hazelwood of the Exxon Valdez fame to thank for these overbearing constant drug and alcohol tests.
So I went back in the cold and continued to walk and look. Finally it got just too cold for me even after several more coffee shop warm ups so I made my way back to the train station and returned to the airport.
I have to say that I enjoyed my short visit and the local people were super nice. I definitely will return for a longer visit.