The Netherlands – Trailblazer

Upon deciding to embark upon this trip, my immediate priority was to first secure the route I was going to take. I had a number of places I wanted to go to, so my logic told me to fly out to the furthest point, and then use whichever routes open to me to slowly head back to my home city. Because I wanted to use the ferry at some point, the total number of automobiles and modes of transport used on this excursion were just mind-blowing.

I should be able to get a lift into town in a car, where I will catch a coach to take me to Stansted airport. From there, I will fly to Eindhoven, and slowly make my way to the Hook of Holland by train, stopping at each destination on the way. From there, I will catch a ferry across the channel to Harwich, where a train will get me back to Nottingham. Even at my hometown, I’ll need a taxi to get back to my front door (eta. return time is 2:00am!)

Although the costs over in The Netherlands are largely unknown, the most expensive mode of transport booked here was the plane. Flights to Amsterdam were cheaper, so my alternative was to fly there first, and then get a train to Eindhoven (only, I’d eventually end up re-tracing my steps at some point using this method, so this would be wasting money). With that in mind, I decided to travel to Stansted specifically so I could fly straight to Eindhoven. The bus down to the airport and the flight tallied around £150. The ferry and the train back were significantly cheaper, more like £70, meaning the total costs of travel to and from the country (including that illusive £10 taxi fare at the end!) clocked in at £230. This was actually a bit cheaper than I imagined, considering it’s all peak fares this time of the year!

With the main travel itinerary booked, I had to find my accommodation. Luckily, every friend I got into contact with offered me a place to stay for the night in their hometowns respectively. I will be meeting my friend Thijs in Eindhoven first, and chilling with him in the first day. The second day will be slightly more hectic, as I will travel to Nijmegen, and then onto Arnhem.

In Arnhem that evening, I will meet up with my friend Kasper, and will probably be up all night drinking with him (crazy dutch people…) Allowing for the fact that I will have hardly seen the place, day three will be based in Arnhem, where again my friend can show me the best places to check out. The evening of day three will feature me on a train heading straight for the capital city of Amsterdam, where I have booked into a hostel (why not) called the Continental Hotel. It verges narrowly between the Red Light District and the central train station. I am to be sharing my room with up to three other random travelers. I’m sure it will be interesting!

Day four will take place in Amsterdam completely. Sadly, the Vodka Museum has closed (balls!) so I’ll have to make do with the Van Gogh museum instead. I intend to take several numbers off my ‘bucket list’ on this day if they haven’t been ticked already, and will hopefully get a fridge magnet or shirt to commemorate the occasion.

Day five will start nice and early, and I’ll be hopping on a train down to The Hague for the last leg of my journey. Two of my friends reside here – Davey and Roos. Both have offered me a place for the night, but as they get me on the Friday night, it’s anybody’s guess where I’ll wake up Saturday morning! Saturday is the day of my return, and I will need to travel south of The Hague to get to the ‘Hoek van Holland’ for 2:30 in the afternoon. From then on it’s ferries, trains and taxis (and believe it or not, a short ride in the London Underground at about 11:00pm!!). Once the route was planned and all was booked, the trip was starting to take shape.

An Icon – One piece of well-know Dutch history is the story of Anne Frank, who hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam with her family behind a secret bookshelf for several years. On my previous visit many years ago, I went inside the Anne Frank House. It is everything you’d think it be: short wooden stairs, go behind a bookcase, small room, a diary in a glass box. Remarkable story, but as a museum it was a little quaint. Needless to say, I do not feel a need to visit the place again. 

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