Day 49 – Berlin/Amsterdam

Polders / Day 49 of 64 / 27 June

Bye bye Berlin, it’s been a blast, but it’s time to head to Amsterdam! I left the hostel at around 7.30am and made my way to Berlin Central Station [Berlin Hauptbahnhof]. I arrived at around 7.45am and hopped aboard my train to Amsterdam (IC 148, eurail.com, Eurail Pass).

The beauty of a rail pass is in the flexibility it affords you. There’s no anxiety or panic brought on by fears of missing a train. With a rail pass, you can just hop on-board any departing train bound for your destination. And in a rail-friendly region such as Europe, trains to most major destinations often run twice an hour, or more.

The final German station before we enter The Netherlands.

The six-hour ride to Amsterdam was uneventful, and the train arrived at Amsterdam Centraal Station at roughly 3pm. The moment I stepped out of the InterCity train, I was assaulted by the Dutch weather. The comfortable cool of Berlin was replaced by the intense summer heat of Amsterdam. No need for a jacket anymore I suppose.

Intense sunlight bathing the bikes of Amsterdam.

After dealing with the weather, my next task was to get to my hostel (Amsterdam Sarphati Hostel, 101 SGD/night). As you can see, bed prices in Amsterdam are insane, shooting up the moment there’s any small surge in demand. Booking in advance is highly recommended.

Anyway, to get to the hostel, I’d need to board one of Amsterdam’s many trams. Public transport in Amsterdam consists of metro, trams, buses, and ferries. Most forms of public transport can be paid for with the OV-Chipkaart. The card can be purchased and reloaded at ticket machines and at some grocery stores (e.g Albert Heijn, a local chain of supermarkets). Travelling using the card is simple: you “check in” by tapping the card at the reader upon boarding, and you “check out” by tapping the reader upon exiting. Failing to check out means you’ll pay the maximum fare of about 4 EUR, so remember to check out! Failing to check out multiple times might also render your card invalid. The use of the OV-Chipkaart makes Amsterdam’s public transport system one of the easiest to use in Europe, especially when compared with the complicated zone and validation systems of Northern Europe or Berlin.

Amsterdam’s public transport vehicles, as is the case in the rest of Europe, usually don’t have air-conditioning. Even when they do, they don’t do a very good job of combating the heat and stuffy air. So yes, this photo was HOT.

I arrived at my hostel around 4pm, and I got some meatballs from the nearby supermarket before retiring for the day.

– Ryan

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