We awoke early Thursday morning, packed up our small bags, and headed out on the metro to Gare du Nord to catch a train to Amsterdam. I don’t have many specific memories (or photos) from the early morning. We arrived at the station in good time, and ate breakfast looking out over the street. I had (… can you guess yet?) a croissant and a hot chocolate, of the normal, non-pudding sort. John had a croissant and a coffee. It was refreshing and tasty, although unable to touch the previous morning’s pastries from Gerard Mulot.
After we finished eating, we walked around the station, waiting for our train and watching the commuters come and go. We had timed the morning well, though, and only had a short while to wait, and were soon on our way. The train ride was relaxing and pleasant; we used the time to nap (John) and to catch up on email and other things here and there online, since the train offered free wifi. It also served breakfast, drinks, and snacks, which is not the kind of think you have delivered to your seat on Amtrak. (At least, not any Amtrak train I’ve ridden.) John had a second breakfast (ham, cheese, yogurt, bread), while I choose a can of water and had the previous evening’s extra madeleines for a morning snack. They were tasty, but not as good as the one from Lenotre.
The countryside that we passed through in France and Belgium looked a lot like central Illinois, mostly flat farmland, which I was surprised about. I somehow thought there would be more trees. (There were both more trees and more hills than Illinois, but not significantly more….) But it felt pleasant and homelike for me, and nice to ride through – much like heading home on the City of New Orleans, except that we kept passing cute villages with little stone churches.
We sat on the south/east side of the train so unfortunately many of my photos have strong reflections from the inside of the train, or are washed out with the bright sun, but I captured a little of the feel of the ride.
As we entered Holland, the terrain became more varied – we passed windmills (both new and traditional) and sheep and water and a giant array of greenhouses, miles long.
The whole trip was very short – before we’d even begun to be hungry for lunch, we’d arrived in Amsterdam.
We did not plan any time to linger in the city, which I regretted as soon as we arrived. We were in a rush to get our rental car and start for our next destination (and I didn’t take any photos, regrettably), but I would have enjoyed an hour or two having lunch and walking around the center city. Amsterdam was gone in a hello and goodbye flash, and that was that.
p.s. If you are visiting my blog on Saturday the 21st, you may be my 1500th blog view. My blog is 14 views away from that milestone at the moment, and I imagine it will pass it today. Thank you to everyone who has visited so far!