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Author Topic: Alex Cruise - Part 2 – Every day should be an Evi day  (Read 2267 times)
Ohhh.. I'm so hot, Brrr
Posts: 136

Tack för en underbar kväll, Alex.

« on: September 03, 2012, 10:17:57 PM »

Day two began with a beautiful dawn over the North Atlantic and clouds as far as the eye could see.  When traveling east at 600 miles per hour, sunrise happens at an accelerated rate and it was rather strange to watch the sun rise so quickly.  I took some lovely pictures as the sun just grazed the cloud tops.  As usual, I was watching our flight path on my seatback screen and anxiously awaiting what I hoped would a highlight of the flight.  Since Amsterdam is south of Copenhagen, our route was more southerly than last year and would just graze the northern tip of Ireland rather than passing over northern Scotland.  I grew increasingly frustrated, though, as I watched the Emerald Isle getting closer on the screen but only saw clouds outside my window.  Finally, for a very brief moment a gap appeared and I caught a glimpse of some Irish shoreline.  By the time I got my camera ready it was gone but at least I can now say I've actually seen Ireland.  The next step is to see it just a little closer.  Smiley

High tailwinds hinted at an early arrival, and we did touch down well in advance of our scheduled arrival, but all of that time was used up as we taxied seemingly forever, arriving at the gate on schedule.  Schipol (Skip-pole) airport is the biggest and busiest airport in Europe and it took me a while to navigate my way to customs.  The agent asked a few simple questions, my passport was stamped and I was in.  Despite all the issues in Harrisburg, my bag was waiting for me at baggage claim and I was off to my hotel.  At this point I had been up for almost 24 hours and I needed to shower and shave.  Evi called me as I neared my hotel and asked if I had seen her message from the previous night.  Of course I hadn't since I'd been traveling for the last 12 hours and she explained that her boss had added two clients to her schedule.  In order to maximize our time together she wanted me to meet her at 12:00 in Dordrecht rather then Rotterdam.  That would save her quite a bit of travel time and there was more to see within walking distance anyway.

After freshening up and changing I made a beeline back to the airport and the train station.  I had originally planned to take the 10:11 train to Rotterdam but due to the flight change and everything else it was already well after 10:30.  I also missed the 10:41 train but got a ticket for the 11:11 (or as the ticket agent said, 11 plus 11) high-speed train to Rotterdam, with a scheduled arrival at 11:38, and a ticket from Rotterdam to Dordrecht.  The high-speed train (called Fyra) is exactly what its name implies and only takes 27 minutes vs. the normal train which takes over an hour.  For you east-coasters, think Harrisburg to Philadelphia in 30 minutes.  At Rotterdam Central station I caught an 11:48 train for the short trip to Dordrecht arriving at 12:01.  Not bad for a journey overloaded with problems and a rushed introduction to Netherlands Rail.

I crossed over the platforms to the station at the arrival end and as I circled around to the other end of the building I saw a lovely auburn-haired young lady who looked like she was waiting for someone.  She was looking the other way as I approached but I instantly knew who it was.  I moved in front of her and she recognized me immediately, as well.  There was no need for long introductions and we connected right away.  I placed myself in her capable hands as tour guide and we headed for the old part of town.    Dordrecht is the oldest city in the Netherlands and there was plenty to see with many old building and shops.  Being Saturday, there was a large street fair going on with lots of interesting and unique items for sale.  Evi is quite familiar with the town and easily answered my incessant questions and waited patiently as I took endless pictures.

Evi had mentioned a little restaurant that she frequents that she said served the best poffertjes in the Netherlands.  Poffertjes are very small pancakes cooked on a special griddle over an open flame and dusted with powdered sugar.  They come in a variety of flavors and are unlike anything I've ever had.  We chose to get the smaller portion and I'm glad we did because they are both delicious and quite filling.  To drink we had iced tea, but not exactly like in America.  Delivered in a small bottle along with a chilled glass, it was Lipton sparkling iced tea and had a very different flavor, slightly bitter at first but quite good.  I would have saved the bottle if I would have had a place to carry it.  It was a delightful lunch and we talked about many, many things.

After lunch we walked around some more as we worked our way back to the train station.  Evi needed to catch the 14:10 bus in order to get back to work on time so we kept an eye on the time.  We walked past a former harp shop and a gorgeous old church where someone was practicing on the pipe organ.  As we crossed the street we heard lovely music on the church tower bells, too.  Evi's dad called at one point followed shortly thereafter by her mom.  Her mom invited me back to their home for dinner but I knew that I would be too tired to be a good guest and politely declined.  At the bus station we found someone to use my camera to take pictures of us together.  Time seemed to fly by as I waited with Evi for her bus back to Sliedrecht and work.  As her bus pulled up we shared a final hug and she was off.  Even though we only had a little over two hours together it was a wonderful two hours.  I wish it could have been more and if I hadn't been so jet-lagged I would have happily accepted her mom's invitation.

Being the train lover that I am, I hung around the Dordrecht train station watching and photographing trains for a little while.  I then took the 15:01 train back to Rotterdam Central and spent another hour or so there doing the same thing.  Soon though, my body began saying, “Enough is enough” so I got my ticket on the high-speed train to the airport and headed back.  Despite the beautiful scenery, including an occasional wind mill, I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  Once back at the airport, I did manage to stay awake long enough to grab a quick bite to eat and get a gift (lovely Belgian chocolates, by the way) for Alex.  Even though the airport Hilton was within walking distance I opted for the shuttle this time.  I started uploading pictures from the camera to the laptop and dozed off before it was done.  I needed to be up early for my flight to Barcelona in the morning so I planned to get organized before going to sleep.  Well, that didn't work and I crashed hard, not waking up until about 4am.  It's rare that I sleep well in a hotel and even rarer to sleep that long but I awoke refreshed, partially time-shifted and ready to go.  Day three here I come!

My flight path just grazed the Emerald Isle.

Clouds.  Pretty but frustrating.

The train board shows more than just arrival and track, it also shows car locations.

We pass a regular train on the “slow”track.

A Netherlands expressway and rest area.

The old part of Dordrecht.

This is the little pub where Evi and I had lunch.

Poffertjes, small pancakes with butter and powdered sugar.  Yummy.

The griddle where the poffertjes are made.

Evi and me.

My Fyra train back to Amsterdam.


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