Today was another long day on the train, but it should be the last one. From here on out my travel distances will be much shorter and I hope to rent a car for some of the travel along the Normandy coast and in England.
I had some more interesting travel companions on the trains today. From Copenhagen to Hamburg I sat next to recently widowed older fellow from Vancouver Island. He had spend a few days visiting relatives in Sweden and was on his way to Frankfurt to join a bus tour. He was new to train travel so I made sure he made his connection in Hamburg ok. Besides, my train was leaving from the same platform as his but 20 minutes later.
I am a bit disappointed that we overlooked something before he caught his train. He had told me that he asked his travel agent to make sure he was on a train that passed through the Rhine valley on the way to Frankfurt, but that didn't happen and instead he got a more direct and shorter route. At the time we were looking at his tickets I just assumed that the travel agent did that because the route through the Rhine valley may have been too complicated with many train changes because my Eurail timetable didn't show any obvious routes through the Rhine valley. But, after his train left I was looking at the route for my train and realized that it went through the Rhine valley and continued on to Frankfurt. I only road that train for a short distance before switching to my third and final train for Amsterdam so I hadn't paid attention to its final destination earlier. Had we realized this sooner we may have been able to switch his reservation to that train, especially since we were at the ticket office anyway to get his Eurail pass properly validated. Although, this other train did arrive in Frankfurt much later in the evening so I'm not sure if that would have worked for him. The train he was on arrived in Frankfurt mid afternoon and he liked that because it gave him plenty of time to find his hotel before dinner. By the way, he only had a small map of the immediate area around his hotel, so we used my GPS device to understand it's relationship to the train station. It was only about 4 blocks away so he was going to try and just walk there. I sure hope he got to Frankfurt and found his hotel ok.
On my train from Hamburg I met a young fellow from Brooklyn, New York. He recently quit his job like I did last year and is spending time travelling through Europe as well. He started his travels only a couple weeks ago in Sweden and was also new to train travel and the Eurail pass. He was coming from Copenhagen and was heading to Amsterdam like me so we road the last two trains together and during that time I was able to share with him a lot of what I had learnt about train travel from travel books and other travellers, sort of a passing of the torch.
We didn't arrive into Amsterdam until about 7 pm, so by the time I found a hotel and dinner there wasn't much time for sight seeing. I did however see a bit of the area and some of the canals on my way to my hotel and to and from dinner. I'm staying along the canals on the west side of central Amsterdam only a couple blocks from the Anne Frank house and right next to the nicer Jordaan neighbourhood, which I wandered through a bit after dinner. The famed Red Light district is on the opposite side of the city center.
I only took a few photos today and here are the better ones.
As we approached and entered The Netherlands from Germany the terrain really flattened out and the area was scattered with was farms. Many places had thatched roofs (made of straw). I saw a few of these elsewhere but no where near as many as there are here.
Amsterdam has a bunch of canals like Venice, however here there are lanes for cars and bikes to travel down the sides of most canals.
The area along the canals was originally a warehouse district and the canals were used to get goods from large ships in the harbour to the warehouses. One thing I noticed, like many visitors to Amsterdam, is that many of the buildings along the canals look like they are falling over or the ground has shift below them because they have a noticeable lean towards the canals. According to one fellow working at my hotel these buildings were made that way. That is, any building with a lean was originally a warehouse and that can be confirmed by looking at the top for a hook as shown in the second photo below. The lean allowed the hook to reach further into the boat for unloading goods.
A not so good shot of the canals at night.