Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We Visit High-Speed Rail: From Paris to Amsterdam Aboard the Thalys

Time to head from Paris to Amsterdam. 
Our train was scheduled to depart Paris at 7:25 am on a Thursday morning, but I had allowed plenty of extra time in case of a long line at the hotel check out desk or in case we had to wait again to get a taxi. The train tickets were non-refundable and non-transferrable. 

Thalys High Speed Rail

When our beautiful female taxi driver dropped us off at the Gare du Nord train station we didn’t know how to find our train. No clue. We saw no information desk, so I asked an employee who was filling the brochure stand. She pointed to a platform less than ten feet from where we stood. We decided to trust her, and so we found a seat and began the long wait for the train. We had too much time on our hands. Neither of us felt at all comfortable at the station. Even though it was early, the thieves were prowling in a rather obvious manner. We held onto our bags with both hands and Paige read a book while I stood guard and watched the thieves operate. 

Image GDFL from French Wikipedia 

Our seats from Paris to Amsterdam were first class. I’d purchased those tickets on a day when for $1 more each, I could bump us up, so I did. It was such a relief to get verification that we were on the correct train and then find our seats. That had been my biggest concern of the entire vacation. A small breakfast was served and the train trip was comfortable.

One woman two rows ahead of us was talking in a loud voice and the man ahead of us asked her in a fairly rude manner to lower her volume. After that, his phone kept ringing LOUDLY.  Over and over.  Aren’t people funny. Are we all like that?

Thalys interior first class        
photo by Dereckson via Wikimedia Commons

The two women behind us on the train talked and talked in another language. Nonstop. They talked so much they missed their stop at Antwerp. Then they had to call the person in charge of the meeting they were going to, apologize and notify him/her they’d be late (that part was in English).  The train attendants helped them make transportation plans-they’d stop in Rotterdam and circle back. At Rotterdam they almost missed getting off again (still talking), but a train attendant came and told them they better hurry off. They were mildly rude to that poor attendant,but the stops are brief—there’s a need to hustle. They barely made it off the train in time.

An Amsterdam canal and one of many bridges.
Photo by Jorge Royan via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Jorge Royan via Wikimedia Commons

Next post we arrive in Amsterdam. Paige and I, the directionally challenged travellers, attempt to walk from the train station to our hotel. In a heavy rain storm.


The Prude said...

Now I am so nosy. What were those women talking about? What kept them so occupied that they missed their stop?
People watching/listening is so fascinating!

Forgiven said...

Funny, Lori! I love the Amsterdam photos; it almost makes me want to travel. Too bad that I hate flying.

Suef said...

This was a fun read. Yes, you would think at least one of the women would be on the ball enough to pay attention to where they needed to get off.

Lori Lipsky said...

Prude--They may have been speaking Dutch. It wasn't French or German or English. It didn't quite sound like Dutch either--maybe some Flemish mixture. It would have been fascinating if we could've understood them.

Forgiven--Paige and I do NOT like flying either. At all!! The trains are much, much better, if you can find your way around the stations. The stations are the tough part.

Suef--You would think so! Their lack of "on the ball"-ness was frustrating to all around them, I think.

Robin J. Steinweg said...

The train looks like a ride at Disney World! Uff da. Did it feel like it?

Love the photos. Love the post.

Lori Lipsky said...

Robin-The train was smooth and comfortable. Roomy seats and great service. Superior to an airplane in every way except I prefer an airport to a train station.
It did not remind me at all of Disney World, though I like Disney, too.

Die Cut Lady said...

Great pictures.It must have been such a great time together.

Lori Lipsky said...

Thanks, Donna. It was a terrific trip.

Joanie said...

I can so relate to being nervous and wondering if I'm on the right track (pardon the pun). Glad you made the right train.

Paige said...


Lori Lipsky said...

Yep, Antwerpen. We got some good views of that town as our train chugged through slowly, didn't we?