We had tickets for the one o’clock train to Amsterdam and again no reserved seats. I was the nervous Nelly for this segment though I kept reassuring myself that it was okay if we didn’t sit together or even in the same car. We would be getting on at a busy city and it would be after the train began in Cologne.
Since breakfast didn’t come with our room at the Radisson Blu in Dusseldorf we decided to go to the train station early to grab something to eat. We went downstairs to check out and was shocked to see how low the line was to check out. We couldn’t just leave because when we checked in there was a problem with their credit card machine in paying for our room. So we waited and was pleasantly surprised that the line moved quickly.
Back to the tram stop and it tram was empty – I guess par for the course on a Sunday morning. We walked around the train station in Dusseldorf and saw all delicious sandwiches that we could take with us on the train for our lunch. I then spied a Dunkin Donuts stand and could not resist gett ing a few Bavarian creme filled donuts. I mean, I was near Bavaria and that is my excuse and I’m sticking with it!
We met an American family who was living outside of Amsterdam and they reminded us we might have problems not having reserved seats. Nevertheless, we went up to the tracks a little early, followed the overhead signs to see where the second class seats were. My cruise mate was able to get on first and immediately there were two unreserved seats that she got. I followed and was able to go a few rows up and put my suitcase in the space between two rows.
We took the train back to the Centraal Station in Amsterdam and from there took another train to Schiphol Airport where we would get a shuttle to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express.
We seemed to wait about 45 minutes for our shuttle and that surprised us but it was extremely foggy out and that may have had something to do with it. in fact, it was so foggy that they did close down the airport with no take offs. I do not know about landings though /i would think those would be cancelled as well and all the trans Atlantic would have already landed. If you want to literally be across the street from the airport, I suggest you stay at the Sheraton. There was even an elevated walkway from the. airport to the Sheraton. Sorry for the blurry picture, it was the best I could do.
Our hotel was further away than we thought and in a business area. We only saw one restaurant in the area but when we checked with the young man checking us in, he gave us a list and suggested we walk into town. He assured us it was safe. We were up for it and it was probably about a 15 minute walk primarily along a major residential street. We admired the Christmas decorations on the homes we passed and thought that it was a nice community.
We found what was described to us as a bar with pizza but it was so much more. It was a delicious pizza restaurant that happened to have a bar inside. We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and beer. We had an appetizer and for the pizza that we shared it was a four cheese with truffle oil – yum. There were so many for us to choose from that it was difficult. We left filled and was once again happy that we walked back to the hotel on this lightly drizzling, foggy night so that we could walk off all that we ate. During dinner we were a bit reflective about the highs and lows of the past ten days.
The next morning we were up, had breakfast at the hotel and took the shuttle back to the airport for our flight on KLM. Of course, we were there early and we felt it was a good decision. We had to walk quite a distance to find where checked in and checked our luggage. The lines were very long. You know how they say when there is a choice to make whether to go left since it is usually shorter? Well, not this time. I held my breath when my luggage was being weighed that it was wasn’t overweight and it wasn’t. I think wearing lots of clothing helped me!
Since I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, I was received as a benefit a Priority Pass which allowed us access to several lounges at the airports. We found the Aspire Lounge and checked in. We enjoyed the hot and cold buffet of food, the drinks, nicer lounge chairs and bathrooms/showers. We hung out here for about 90 minutes. If you don’t have the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, contact me for all the benefits of which there are many, and I can refer you. It is one of my go-to credit cards that make traveling much easier in many ways.
Finally, not knowing each other very well, we felt we were good travel companions. We had an honesty about us that is sometimes difficult to achieve with friends that you have had for a long time because you worry about hurt feelings. We were able to work together and divide what needed to be done and trust each other. We had similar views on public transportation – we liked it and was comfortable using it. We both enjoyed talking with others and didn’t feel like we had to be with each other 24/7. I would call this a successful trip.
Coming up – my final review on the Christmas market cruise. I hope you continue to continue reading this blog. I will not be posting any further updates to it on Cruise Critic so if you are enjoying it, I recommend that you subscribe.