It’s 9:30am, it’s cold and I’m sat in a Starbucks in Amsterdam Centraal waiting for my train to Dusseldorf. As usual, I’m ridiculously early and have had to purchase some overpriced fruit smoothie (I’m really not a coffee fan) just so I can sit inside Starbucks to escape the cold. I have with me my passport and my train tickets, which have been booked months in advance and which only cost £30 return for the 5 hour round trip. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of forking out several days wages for a 5 hour journey on the British trains, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from when I say I was overjoyed, if not a little sceptical, at the cost of these tickets. I spend the next half an hour watching the world go by; one of the things I love about being abroad is just sitting and watching people from different cultures going about their daily business, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in a train station. Commuters, families and students; all with their own lives, own stories, own hopes and dreams. I’m probably romanticising it a lot, but it’s nice to sit and contemplate this in those rare quiet moments in life. Eventually, my train arrives and I climb on board to be greeted by what can only be described as luxury compared to what I’m used to on trains. It’s worth mentioning at this point, that aside from the Eurostar, I’d only ever been on trains in Britain before taking the train from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf. They are vastly different. Trains in Britain are largely noisy, crowded and cramped. The train I found myself on that day was spacious, carpeted- it even had free wifi! Admittedly this only worked on the German side of the border but at the time, it felt like all my Christmases and birthdays rolled into one (I have very expensive data roaming charges). Clearly, I was in for a relaxing journey.
More to follow on my travels round Germany.
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