Traveling by train was our main mode of transportation on the trip. And we became pretty good at handling train travel, if I may say so myself.
I'm going to try to remember all the trains we took:
- Heathrow airport to our rental in London. The tube all around London for 4 days.
- London to Paris. Paris to Caen.
- Caen to Paris. Metro all over Paris.
- Paris to Antwerp.
- Antwerp to Rotterdam.
- Utrecht to Amsterdam.
- Amsterdam to Haarlem.
- Haarlem to Amsterdam.
- Amsterdam to Hilversum.
- Hilversum to Amsterdam.
- Amsterdam to the airport.
The trains were a bit stressful for a few reasons.
First, we wanted to make sure we planned the train schedules into our itineraries, meaning a few of the train tickets were purchased online before we left. I'm really glad we did this because we were able to see how much time they would take and do some cost comparisons. We were able to save a lot of money by taking trains early in the morning, before most humans like to wake up!
Second, Greg and I switch roles when it comes to transportation. I'm usually the frantic one who likes to make plans and over-schedule everything. Greg is typically the chill, flexible one in our relationship. But when it comes to train and planes, Greg likes to arrive as early as possible and it stresses him out when we're not at least an hour early. We only had a few close calls, but we never missed a train!
Third, we learned the hard way that the Dutch don't accept credit cards. They didn't always have ATM's at the train station and the kiosks wouldn't take our credit cards. Luckily we figured out that if we go to the customer service counter, their card readers accepted foreign cards. Woot woot! But that meant we had to allow extra time to wait in the longer lines to buy our tickets each time.
All in all the trains were really exciting for me! I loved being able to stare out the windows for hours and be able to cover so much ground so quickly. It was awesome to see all these adorable little towns and sprawling fields without having to get out of the train in the rain. All of these trains had lots of stops along the way, so the people watching on the platform was superb! Most of what I know about train platforms and goodbyes comes from movies, so it was rather adorable to see people interacting the way I'm used to seeing at the airport. It just seemed so much more romantic at a train station in the rain.
Once again, another perk of traveling light! Getting on and off the trains was EZPZ. We ran into lots of tourists who were struggling with their huge luggage. They couldn't get it up the stairs or they couldn't lift it overhead to fit in the only luggage storage. Some of them couldn't even fit through the aisles, so they would just have to sit outside of the seating area with their big suitcases. I felt really grateful that Greg made sure we had small luggage!