My husband Jack, my son Vince and I left on our trip to Norway on July 5, 2012 from our home airport in Seattle, Washington. Our Delta flight departed at 1:40pm for the 10 hour flight to the Netherlands, arriving at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport at 8:30am local time.
They served dinner about an hour into the flight, and then we settled down and tried to sleep. Although it would be midnight, our time, it would already be morning when we arrived at our destination. We were hoping to minimize jet lag.
The time passed quickly, and too soon they were coming by with coffee and breakfast. Soon we began our descent… “Good Morning, Amsterdam!”. After passing through customs, we bought a train ticket and headed downstairs, where the trains depart every few minutes. It was about a 20 minute journey traveling northeast to Amsterdam Centraal. We passed through flat, green countryside which soon changed to cityscape with tall buildings and bustling streets.
Departing the train, luggage in tow, we made our way through the station to the exit, where our hotel, the A-Train Hotel, was located across the street and one block away. As we trundled along, I happened to look back to see how my husband Jack, was doing. I was horrified to see him serenely bumping along directly in the path of a silently approaching tram, which was about to run him down from behind! Just in time we got him back up onto the sidewalk as the tram whispered by, just inches from us.
Our hotel was just across the street, but it was a very, very busy street. We had to hurry across to an island, wait for the light, and then hurry across the rest of the way. My husband has some mobility issues and cannot move very quickly. The light began to flash, and as we almost reached the other side it changed, and a huge cavalcade of bicycles charged right toward us. Awk! We were in the bike lane! We leaped to safety as they whisked by, spokes flashing, without a sideways glance. Rick Steves, in his book Amsterdam, Bruges and Brussles had warned about watching out for bicycles and trams and pick-pockets. We were lucky enough not to encounter a pick-pocket, but we narrowly escaped being run down by bicycles and a tram. Later, on the ship, we talked with someone who had a cast on her arm, due to an unfortunate encounter with a bicycle, on her first day in Amsterdam.
The A-Train Hotel was everything we’d hoped for, and more. It was centrally located, within walking distance of everything we wanted to see. The proprietors were friendly and helpful. Our room was on the main floor, just up a few steps. It was clean, comfortable and completely adequate for our needs.
And now, it was time to explore!