With my 57th country under my belt and my Eurail.com pass officially activated, my train and I pulled into Amsterdam Central Station on a chilly and snowy afternoon.
In no time at all I was on a tram and headed to Hostel Annemarie, my digs for the next few days but there was no time sit and rest as I was back on the tram to Central Station for another reunion. Thank goodness Amsterdam is an easy city to get around.
There, waiting for me, with the big smile I remember was the one and only Rianne.
We met during my RTW trip in 2010 when we were both taking the train from Prague, Czech Republic to Dresden, Germany. After exploring Dresden for a couple days and getting along smashingly, we decided to meet up again in Berlin a few days later. Our Berlin adventures were top notch.
The Dutch are some of my favourite travel buddies, and Rianne is no exception.
As Rianne unlocked her wheels I had to marvel at the number of bicycles that were locked up (and subsequently being used) in the middle of winter. In Toronto, I’m one of few who rides year round, but here in Amsterdam, I would fit right in. There were literally, thousands of bicycles.
To save time and confusion, I hopped on the back of Rianne’s bicycle as she peddled us through the streets of Amsterdam. Although I was freezing, it was so much fun.
Once we picked up some groceries we zipped back to her flat where she made me a traditional Dutch meal, and we spent the next few hours catching up on a 2 and a half years worth of stories. It was magical.
The time came for us say tschüss (bye) yet again and I was off to rest up for another day of reunions.
The next morning I was again headed back to Central Station (it’s an excellent meeting point) to meet up with Selma.
I met Selma and her friend Esther during our trip to Tibet together in April 2010. To kill time until Esther was finished work, Selma and I walked along the canals before chilling out in one of the coolest cafes I’ve ever been to.
You could buy everything in the cafe – the lights, the chairs, the books, the pictures, even the tables. It was called Latei and if you get to Amsterdam you must check it out.
Even though we hadn’t seen each other in 3 years, we covered the ‘past’ and were up to speed in no time, spending most of the day talking about the now and the future. A sign when you’ve made excellent friends.
Come night fall we met up with Esther and made our way to dinner. We picked a charming little place called Snow Lion, a Tibetan restaurant, and the three of us took a walk down memory lane to Lhasa, our guide Sonam, roaming Yaks, monasteries, Mount Everest, and the most magical place I’ve visited so far.
Once again, seeing Selma and Esther was a reminder that a dear friend is someone you can go years without seeing but in that first moment, face to face, you feel as though you saw them yesterday and you just pick up where you left on.
On my final day in Amsterdam I decided to spend some time on my own just meandering around the city, strolling along the canals and working from my newest fav cafe, Latei. Yes, you really must visit. The food is divine.
As it came time for me to depart Amsterdam, I found I was a bit early for my train. Thankfully, because I had a first class Eurail.com pass, I was able to relax in the VIP lounge, sip on a complimentary Mimosa and check my email.
First class certainly has it’s perks.
Soon enough I was one route to my next stop, Dusseldorf, enjoying the the Dutch scenery as I went.
Thank you to Rianne, Selma and Esther for the wonderful laughs and stories. Maybe I will move to Amsterdam some day…
Special thanks to Hostel Annemarie for hosting me during my visit.
And thank you to Eurail.com for setting me up with my 10 day – 2 month Flexi-pass to make this train journey possible. If you are visiting Europe, visit Eurail.com to see the many passes, like mine, that they have on offer.