A mere seven days after returning from the MacWool China Tour is time to pack up and take to the air for the long planned Tulip Cruise. This trip was planned as 75th birthday gift to mum who always wanted to see the tulips in Holland in full bloom and what better way than on a river cruise.
Who does an eight night cruise on the other side of the world without incorporating a few other destinations on the itinerary not us so Holland Germany Switzerland and Belgium here we come.
Our trip began at 10:50pm with boarding of our Eithad flight to Amsterdam with 2 hour layover in Abu Dhabi the first leg was fantastic and I caught up on some sleep and mum was able to watch a couple of movies. The plane was great and the crew looked after us very well. We arrived in Abu Dhabi just after sunrise and it was very pretty flying in with day breaking. Our short layover disappeared quickly and we were soon boarding for our final leg in to Schipole Airport just outside Amsterdam for first night of foreign soil.
It was decided that we would only spend one night is the very beautiful Amsterdam as we would be back for a few days around the cruise. Our first task was to procure a taxi (€45 and 30 minutes in average traffic) to take us the Tulip Inn (€65 per night approx) where we would stay for the night. This hotel has reasonable rates and is well within walking (and bag dragging) from the Central Railway station where we would begin our 6 hour train journey to Berlin.
On trains we decided this would be the easiest and least restrictive mode of transport for our journey, I purchased Eurail Global Pass 15 Days for $877 which allowed us to used as much as we like in the 15 day window, some days we were several trains all first class and very comfortable. Only required reservations when travelling at busy times otherwise we just boarded and selected seats that had not been reserved. It only cost a few euros to pre-book seat, so this was worth it if travelling in peak times or heading on long journey where needed to arrive by a certain time etc, mostly we just boarded and took our chances. Only once were stuck with sitting in buffet car as train fully booked( only hour trip which allowed us to have a beautiful full breakfast)
With our bags tucked away in our modest but comfortable room (Thankfully the lift worked when taking bags up and down) as the spiral staircase proved to be a challenge without a bag the couple times we used it, very narrow and steep, we headed our to check out the station and see where I need to validate our train pass the next day. It only took a 10 minutes to navigate through the masses of walkers and the millions of bikes that seemed to come from all directions and get inside the very beautiful station building. The information booth pointed us in the right direction for the ticket validation window.
Now that the lay of the land had been established we headed out for short walk around and back to hotel. We purchased our first chips with sauce and mayo all the rage in Amsterdam on Damrak St .
Yes Sam Forbes your recommendation was right they were crunchy with soft middle and possibly the best chips I have had in awhile, a little too much tomato sauce for my taste but the mayo was yummy, all served in a cardboard cone. After a walk through the red light district, everyone has to do it, we secured a very nice coffee before heading back to our room for a much need sleep. Although we both slept on plane we were grateful for a full nights sleep before our adventure got underway for real. Goodnight Amsterdam.