The end of a long trip is always the hardest. You are getting tired of all the back and forth, you are exhausted, and I personally am sick of wearing the same clothes over and over again (that is what happens when you fit two people in a carry on for two weeks). If you want to know about my packing and how I managed that let me know in the comments! Anyways, we finally flew into Amsterdam. We got in at about four in the afternoon, and since it stays light so long the plan was to take a train to Giethoorn, the town with no roads (essentially the Venice of the Netherlands) and explore the area and then the next day explore Amsterdam. The universe had other plans for us.
We got on a train and the ride is about an hour and a half to Giethoorn from the airport. Well, turns out we got on the wrong train. They have no directions in English really at all and all of the intercom speaking on the train is in Dutch. We went to the end of the line with the train that we were on and ended up in the train graveyard only to have this poor Dutch man trying to get us off and back on the right train. This of course all while speaking zero English. Once finally on the right train, we were now about forty-five minutes behind schedule. We get into the train station and were told we then can take a fifteen-minute bus ride directly to our hotel, but what everyone failed to tell us is that the Dutch, outside of Amsterdam at least, do not really work on Mondays. So, we sat and waited for a bus that never came for two hours. When we finally wised up about it not coming I began my hunt for wifi. I had no service to call a taxi and the place was a ghost town. Finally, I connected to wifi and found an online taxi service, but you have to order it thirty minutes out.
A taxi finally came and got us, and we made it to the hotel at about ten at night. We went straight to the restaurant since we had not eaten since noon. Well guess what? The restaurant was closing right as we walked in! So, we asked where we could go to get food, maybe even a grocery store, only for him to answer… Well everything is closed on Mondays.
Went to bed hungry and cranky without site seeing. Not a happy camper, not a great start to our trip.
I was determined to turn the mood around though. We got on a train the next morning and headed to Amsterdam without any problems. We explored the flower markets, shopped, got gelato, checked out the canals, and even hit the infamous Red Light District. We had the nicest Italian dinner with the best pasta. We went to the Red Light District at day time and night time so that was interesting to see the contrast between those two times, but we did not stay out late and caught an early train back since it was… raining! Our first rain of the whole trip. Our day in Amsterdam went smoothly otherwise with no hiccups.
The next morning, I wanted absolutely no transportation issues. We had to catch a flight in Amsterdam, so I got us up so early and got us on a bus to the train station. All of this ran smoothly, and we were on a train ahead of schedule. All of the sudden the train came to an abrupt halt during our ride. We waited and waited, once again the language barrier led me to more confusion since I had no idea what was going on. Finally, I pulled a man aside asking if he spoke English. He did and when I asked him what was going on he replied with there has been a serious train crash and we are not going anywhere unless we go backwards to the last train station. This sent me into full panic mode. We were going to miss our international flight.
We finally started back tracking to the old station and the minute the doors open I leaped off and began searching everywhere for a ride. We found a man in a van who was taking passengers to the next station for seven euros. We jumped on the opportunity and made it to the next station in time for a train to the airport, but we were still cutting it close. After running through the airport and security we made it to our flight as they were boarding. We boarded the plane and I started to realize boarding was taking forever, in fact the flight was an hour late for takeoff. So, in actuality I was early and would have had time to get food instead of buying overpriced airplane food once in flight, but here I was stuck on the plane waiting for takeoff. What a way to end my trip!
That being said, here is what I would do different on this trip and all of the others. In the Netherlands we should not have stayed where we did. We should have stayed in Amsterdam and I do want to go back one day and do that but just like Venice, Giethoorn is overrated in my opinion. The hotel was not at all what was advertised. I am not going back to the Netherlands I think unless it is during the tulip festival, since that is one of the biggest things I have always wanted to do and sadly missed this trip around.
As far as the other trips, rental cars are a MUST, never wait until the day of to find a place to stay, go to less touristy places and always take the locals suggestions.
I had an absolute blast and am already missing the travel again. Time to start planning the next trip!
-Good Vibes and Adventure