A weekend trip to Amsterdam

It was a spontaneous decision to go to Amsterdam, but it was a nice opportunity to meet Adrian, Sarah and Marie once again, so here I went…

Since the hostel was already booked by Adrian, the only things I mainly had to care about were finding the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam and back to Marburg and booking the assistance.

On August 25th, I departed to the train station by taxi because around the time of my departure, there were no busses scheduled at such an early time. However, due to the fact that we only stayed in Amsterdam from Saturday until Sunday, I at least wanted to arrive as early as possible.
I changed trains in Frankfurt and the assistance I booked in advance worked as planned. Apparently though, Deutsche Bahn was not able to book the assistance in Utrecht, as the time to change trains was, according to Deutsche Bahn, too short for the train station staff in Utrecht who eventually denied the request of Deutsche Bahn. Just to be certain, I called the NS directly to book my assistance and surprisingly, they said yes and booked the assistance straight away!
It must be a bad omen though: everytime I traveled to Utrecht so far, there was nobody standing by to pick me up and, guess what, they did it again! :O
I tried to call up NS to sort it out after waiting a couple of minutes, but all lines were busy at this time. When I asked somebody for the way to my desired platform and train, the lady offered me to guide me there and after walking down the platform a little, I was on the train to Amsterdam. I boarded the train litteraly in the last second, not noticing that it was sitting at the same platform the whole time I was standing there, waiting for the assistance; and how can it be that 10 minutes are too less changing time?
Well, either the assistance didn’t show up or couldn’t find me, although I didn’t move away from the coach I was sitting in and they also got my phone number to call me up. Anyway, as a result, they cancelled the assistance in Amsterdam because Utrecht told them that I didn’t show up.
In amsterdam, therefore, a nice couple gave me a hand getting to the service point where I was supposed to meet Sarah and at the service point, the staff told me about why they didn’t pick me up (see above). Eventually, Sarah picked me up although it took a while for Sarah and me to localize each other; Utrecht Centraal is a quite big station you know.

We met Adrian, Marie and Mitchel – a guy from the Netherlands – in a café nearby and went out to explore the surroundings although the rainy weather, the hunger and the heavy bag (we didn’t yet check in at the hostel) made it a little difficult to enjoy it, but at least we had lunch at a snack-bar later on.
Later, Adrian and I went to the hostel to check in and stow some of our luggage in our room. Thanks to the OV-Chipkaart and the Begeleiderskaart, we could travel quite cheap, however, it was a longer ride with some unexpected changes involved.
At the hostel, they told us that no sheets were included in the price and they charged us with an additional fee per sheet and even though two beds already had sheet on, they charged us for those anyway. Given that we have been staying in some A&O-hostels in the past, we were a little surprised that apparently nothing about the extra fee for sheets was stated on their website and all the other A&O-hostels had sheets included in the price.
After checking in, we went back to join the others again in a café for a coffee break and a talk; we after all decided that we would have dinner at a Turkish restaurant and Mitchel pointed out some more POIs which came along our way.
At the end of the day, we dropped off Mitchel at the train station and went to the hostel to chill at the hostel bar before eventually going to sleep.

Because a train ticket back to Marburg was quite expensive, I chose to try out an alternative way of traveling…
There are a couple of reasons why I mostly try to avoid services like Flixbus:
– Firstly, in case of changing busses, there is no assistance guaranteed and I was afraid of perhaps managing the change on my own, not knowing where my next bus will depart.
– Secondly, the time you are traveling with a bus usually takes way longer than a train ride, depending on where and how far you would like to go.
However, I happened to find a direct Flixbus connection from Amsterdam Sloterdijk to Marburg and I wouldn’t say that the journey was much longer than a train ride. Also, because it was a direct connection and eversince Stockholm I felt confident enough, I decided to try it once again, this time from Amsterdam to Marburg though.
Adrian helped me localizing the Uber car I ordered to get to the bus station easily and at Sloterdijk, the driver helped me finding the flixbusses. Mine wasn’t there yet, but one of the bus drivers instructed the bus station staff to keep me informed about my bus. When the bus arrived, I showed my ticket and the bus driver helped me finding a seat.

The great advantage with a direct connection from Amsterdam to Marburg was that I could just sit back and relax. At some of the stops, there was a 30 minute break so we could leave the bus and stretch our legs a little. In Düsseldorf (one of the stops with a 30 minute break), a nice passenger offered to get me a lunch2go from a Turkish restaurant nearby because he overheard a conversation between the bus driver and me concerning snacks on board and except for drinks, there weren’t any snacks on board, so the offer was accepted and highly appreciated indeed! 😀

The only problem I had after the arrival in Marburg was finding the way to the central station, but asking people always helps. The rest of the way home was business as usual.

Comparing the Amsterdam trip with other trips I’ve done so far, it was just a very short time we had in Amsterdam ahd I’d love to come back again to get a closer look on some of the attractions we passed.
After reading this, it might have sounded like a rather stressful weekend, but I wouldn’t say so.
First of all, I discovered that traveling – regardless of where I am and how long – with a good company really helps me forgetting possible stress at work for a while, regenerating strength and motivation for another upcoming time period of work; but of course, I also appreciate some time to just stay at home and relax.

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