Monday, August 31st 2015
Today we return to London. As our train leaves Amsterdam Centraal at 08:15, we will not have time to do anything but go straight to the station.
This is my final photo of the hotel, taken yesterday. As I explained, it is at a distance from the centre of town near Amsterdam Sloterdijk Station but once we had found which bus serviced this station and Centraal, it was not a problem. The hotel itself was quite pleasant and I would be happy to stay there again.
We had decided that for the return journey, it would be convenient to take the train, rather than the bus, from Sloterdijk to Centraal as it would deliver us right in the station. We bought tickets yesterday evening so as not to be in a rush this morning. Ticket machines can be operated in several languages, one of which is of course English.
In the Netherlands, as in other European countries, tickets are not valid until you register them in the special machine prior to travel. This means you can buy a time-limited ticket (such as a 72-hour pass) well in advance and it will start the time period only when you register it.
We found ourselves participating in the morning rush-hour as most of the other passengers on the train were on their way to work.
We reached Amsterdam Centraal with plenty of time to spare and before the platform of our Thalys was showing on the departures board. We had not had breakfast because we knew we would be served a meal on the Thalys but a cup of coffee would help us while away the time.
We discovered the station buffet. This had probably been a rather grand affair in its day, a posh restaurant, to judge from the high ceiling and intricate decor. One felt that the modern coffee shop was a bit of a come-down, like nomads camping in the ruins of an ancient palace!
Eventually, the waiting was over and our train was announced. We were soon accommodated in comfortable seats with power points for our phones or whatever else we wanted to recharge.
The changeover at Brussels Midi was a little more fraught. We had 48 minutes to make the changeover and this included making our way from the main station to the Eurostar platforms and enduring bag search and passport control. I needn’t have worried. Firstly, Tigger’s inner pigeon knew exactly where the Eurostar was and unerringly led us there and, secondly, the baggage check was performed with commendable speed and efficiency. Soon we were aboard the Eurostar and speeding our way to London.
Thus ended our brief visit to the capital of the Netherlands. We have been here before and will no doubt return again in a couple of years or so. There is always something new to discover and, while there are interesting things to see and do, the people are generally pleasant and helpful and speak excellent English!