Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Dutch interlude

Back from a week in Amsterdam. The unexpected hot weather all over northern Europe took us by surprise and Mrs. Commuter and myself were somewhat too warmly dressed for comfort. No matter, we had a great room (at an superb rate) at the Hilton and the pleasure of the excellent tram system to get us about. However my picture is from The Hague where you don't even have to leave the main station to catch one.

The strangest travelling moment was on our return. As we waited at Amsterdam for the high speed Thalys train for Brussels, to make our Eurostar connection, we were somewhat disconcerted when they flagged it as 50 minutes late. This would still leave us enough time to make the connection but boded ill. One of our fellow passengers photographed the indicator, doubtless to help in his claim for compensation. However, dead on time, the train arrived and when we asked a train attendant about the delays she looked puzzled and said there was no problem. And there was no problem and the train arrived at Brussels Midi on time. Mind you, we had a further minor panic because that station is also called Brussels Zuid and we thought Zuid meant South (which it does) and that we had been taken on to Brussels Sud by mistake. But we were wrong. Zuid is the Flemish for Midi, or something. Anyway, it was the right station and the only weak link in the whole travelling chain was London Underground, who had the usual weekend cancellations going. But you have to expect that, sadly. Had we been heading eastbound from St. Pancras we would have had to take a detour but westbound they were at least running some Hammersmith & City trains and once at Baker Street all was back to normal.

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