Croissants to Canals

Amsterdam Travel Blog

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Joel and Valentin at Joel's flat, and behind them, Morgan working his magic in the kitchen

We walked down to the nearby market street for a croissant and coffee...which was somehow 12 Euros. I mean, we sat outside and I know that's more, but geez. I felt like we got soaked. We grabbed some food for the train - some pate, some foie gras (16 Euros worth - yikes!), and breads - and checked out and went to Gare du Nord.

We woke up too late for the 8:30 or 9:30 Thalys train...we arrived at the station around 10:30... and the next one after that was at 12:30. Not only that, but instead of the price being 52 Euros each (up to 60 or 70 Euros online, depending on which departure), it was 130 Euros each. YIKES. That's more than our plane tickets cost. The ticket agent said if we had reserved it the day before, it would have been 78 Euros. Insane.

Joel at his flat in Amsterdam before tucking into the meal Morgan cooked for us
There was nothing on the website that indicated it would be cheaper to reserve beforehand. But, no choice.

We grabbed a table next to the station cafe so I could grab some hot tea and we could wait for an hour for our train. The train is pretty fancy for 2nd class - really comfortable, and nothing like the trains we were on in college. However, we had the most annoying young couple sitting diagonally across from us - we couldn't tell what language they were speaking...Romanian or a Slavic language, perhaps...but they were LOUD and canoodling in a very un-charming way the whole time. The girl squealed at one point, and the whole train-ful of people turned around and shushed her. But they were at it the whole 3 1/2 hours. And then we had a screaming baby at the end.
Joel making his delicious ginger tea
I was so looking forward to a train ride - I generallly love trains - but it was miserable all around.

We arrived at Amsterdam Centraal, and traipsed over to the information booth outside the station to find out what tram to take to get to our hotel - B&B La Festa. The hotel/B&B is located in the Jordaan area - charming area of shops and cafes. The hotel/B&B is 4 rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors of a building, but the rooms are more like modern hotel rooms than a B&B. There is no lobby, just a little office next door to our room on the 2nd floor.

I had been texting my friend Joel since the train, and we made plans to get together for dinner after he got home from work. His flat is close to our hotel, so we walked over. It was great to see's probably been about 6-7 years since I've seen him...and we met his boyfriend, Valentin. We all had a few drinks, and then went downstairs to the supermarket to grab stuff to make dinner. Joel had said he'd try to scare up something basic, so I'd offered Morgan's chef services.

Morgan made a lovely soup and a roast chicken with vegetables, and we drank champagne and caught up. Joel made a delicious tea with fresh ginger, and we left pretty late. Probably got to sleep around 1:30.  Perhaps finally finished with jet lag.

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Joel and Valentin at Joels flat, …
Joel and Valentin at Joel's flat,…
Joel at his flat in Amsterdam befo…
Joel at his flat in Amsterdam bef…
Joel making his delicious ginger t…
Joel making his delicious ginger …
photo by: pearcetoyou