It was an early start as we needed to catch the Intercity train from Groningen at 8.45am if we wanted to get into Amsterdam at a decent time. Again, it was around a 2 hour journey but it flew by. It was nice to look out at the scenery (we travelled late in the evening when we arrived on the Tuesday, and it was dark). We got off the train at Amsterdam Zuid, purchased a 24 hour travel pass (which was quite cheap at 7.50 euros) and caught the Metro to Centraal, eventually arriving at 11.30am. Since we didn’t want to trail our suitcases around all day, we paid for a secure locker at the station.
We then started walking, and aside from purchasing Nutella pancakes from a street vendor, we didn’t stop walking until around 3.30pm. Amsterdam is a beautiful city and we wanted to see as much of it as possible. The first area we wandered through was De Wallen, then we planned to head to De Negen Straatjes. Admittedly, we got a little lost trying to find the 9 streets and we ended up in the Bloemenmarkt so we had a look around there too. Eventually, we made it to De Negen Straatjes where there were lots of interesting wee shops. I found an amazing place- a Lomography store…heaven! There were some really nice cameras in there (and I could easily have maxed my credit card) but I ended up purchasing a Lomo Fisheye 2, and some film. It’s probably a good job there isn’t a Lomo store in Scotland….I’d be bankrupt.
Klondi was the next stop- a small coffeeshop just across the street from the Lomo store. No, not *that* kind of coffeeshop- a proper coffee and tea shop that sold various cute utensils for tea drinking e.g. little plastic tubs that clip onto the side of mugs (for carrying biscuits). We wanted to be back at Centraal around 5pm so we visited various souvenir shops and took the tram back to the station. I must admit, the public transport infrastructure in the Netherlands seems great, and I can understand why so many people use it- it was very easy to travel around in the city.
After collecting our cases, we needed to try and catch the train to Schipol, which is where the fun and games began. It was rush hour, and the station was packed. There were also various different companies operating trains to that destination. One was the Fyra, which we’d been told to avoid since it charges an extra supplement. Instead, we needed to catch an Intercity- we eventually found out that it left from platform 14a every 15 mins. The only problem was, the platform was packed. We did eventually get on a train, which was a little delayed.
Once at the airport, all we had to do was use the automatic bag drop and find the rest of the group we were travelling with. I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have to go through security after dropping off our bags but it turned out that security was at the gate. By the time we got out of the airport in Edinburgh, it was nearly 11pm (and for some reason, as we were driving up the road, there were fireworks being let off). I was the last person to be dropped off (since I live so far north in comparison to the others) and by the time I got in the door it was 1.45am- knackered! All in all, the trip to the Netherlands was a great experience!