I was pretty happy to discover a direct train service from Amsterdam to Berlin, and at a reasonable price. Obviously it also operates in the other direction from Berlin to Amsterdam, four times a day.
It is fairly easy to arrive at Amsterdam Centraal station by tram, but if you’re coming from the Noord side then there’s a free ferry – it even takes bikes.
The 15th June saw the borders between Holland and Germany open. So, it was about time I completed my return to Berlin. Finally, I was on my way – this journey was originally to be completed pre-Corona, and from Málaga!
Leaving Amsterdam’s Central Station, you are quickly into countryside, with the expected number of canals, i.e. LOTS! There were a few towns we stopped at that looked like they’d be great places to live if you were commuting into Amsterdam. The train stopped at quite a few of them – confusingly, as there was a platform announcement saying it would not be stopping in Holland.
Onboard, the train attendant was very friendly and you could move from your reserved seat to an unreserved table. Upgrade! Though I wasn’t to realise there was free (working!) wifi until the last hour.
I recommend the NL International app. I used the Android version, and it helped me identify the platforms I needed at Amsterdam Centraal. If you are being met at Berlin Hbf (the central station), it shows the arrival platform for that as well. If you remember to set notifications for the train to ‘on’, it will also update you 10 minutes before the train’s departure time to show any delays. Ours was just slightly delayed leaving, but arrived on time.
I’d long been used to Berlin and Brandenburg being pretty much completely flat, but I was quite surprised to find nearly the whole of the route through Holland and northern Germany to also be as flat a (Dutch) pancake!!
Just one hill, in the distance, somewhere near Hanover. I suspect it was man-made, and built from the digging out of the canals in the area. There was also a small castle-like structure on the hill approaching Hanover.
I wasn’t sure exactly where the border crossing was, but the familiar hunting perch on the edge of a forest indicated we were now in Deutschland. Here the train’s Dutch engine was replaced with a Deutsch one.
Time for a coffee. I ended up chatting with the attendant – she seemed happy that I was spending my shrapnel and had the correct change. They had an actual restaurant carriage, but no more food until after Hanover.
Passed what turned out to be VW’s headquarters and museum.
As we arrived into Spandau, I realised that I could do some programming, as had free wifi. An in joke, it was obviously Ruby On Rails. On Rails!! Don’t worry, I’m laughing to myself – haha.
And so I arrived at Berlin Hbf. Finally. I was three months late, but here I am 🙂 WOOHOOOO! A smooth journey, direct from Amsterdam, and I could be happy that I used seven times less carbon than I would have flying that distance.