27 December 2019

To the Netherlands by train: how did it go?

I was a bit apprehensive about my train trip! I had barely booked it or a massive train strike broke out in Britain. And closer to the date, half of the Southeast flooded, causing big problems for road- and rail traffic. And the French also went on strike! This didn’t bode well. I was glad I had made sure to have buckets of time in London. If one of my trains would be delayed I would still be OK!

Another thing I had not taken into account was buses. I had to get to the station first! But I was travelling out on a Sunday and when I (naively) checked for buses I was reminded that on Sunday, there are none. A disgrace to be honest! But also a cold hard fact. I figured it would have to be a taxi. Until Chris offered me a lift. That was nice!

So on that Sunday morning I packed my bag with inhuman amounts of food and drink. It would be a long trip! And then Chris appeared. He dropped me off. The train was perfectly punctual! So far so good. I got started on the Saturday paper, and enjoyed a bit of looking out of the window. Quite relaxed, really!

In Crewe I had to change. I got out and looked for an information board. And I saw my connecting train was cancelled! But there was another train to Euston about to come in. It was delayed, it should have been gone already! I decided to take that one. But by the time I sat down it dawned on me this might actually be a local train, stopping at every tree. And it was! But I had enough time. And I also wondered if my ticket was even valid for this train. But nobody checked so I didn’t find out. I just enjoyed the touristic ride. I read some in my book.

A view from the slow train

With lots of time to spare I got to Euston. Now to get to St Pancras! It’s only a short walk but it was enough to make me feel like an utter country bumpkin. I was smiling at people! And taking pictures!

I found the Eurostar terminal but first went outside for a spot of lunch. It was December but quite pleasant! I had my quiche and a carrot and some tea. And I did some people-watching. And then I went in. They suggest you show up some 45-60 mins in advance. I checked in, had my passport checked, and my luggage scanned. Ready!

I read some more until the train was ready for boarding. I found my seat next to an uncommunicative man. That was fine! I was tired. I first dozed a bit, and then listened to some radio programs I had downloaded. Some ‘long view’ and some ‘more or less’!

Once in Amsterdam I had to change. I did scan my travel card at the wrong place and got docked €20 but that should be reversible. And then I got the train to Amersfoort.

Altogether it went fine! I will do this again. Maybe with slightly less margin in London. And maybe not on Sunday! But otherwise it’s actually quite comfortable! Goodbye flygskam, and hello t√•gskryt!

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