Two days that blurred into one
Trip Start Jun 20, 2010
16Trip End Jul 14, 2010
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Landed in Paris and managed to navigate through the regional rail system to get to Gare du Nord, the train station where we would catch the train to Amsterdam. Got to Gare du Nord at about 9:30AM to catch a 2:30PM train, so we had a lot of time to kill. We checked our bags in the baggage lockers (only 10€ for a big locker that fit all our bags) and went out to explore Paris.
Bought a carnet, a pack of 10 metro tickets, and checked out the Paris metro map to see where it would be reasonable to go in a few hours
Walked around Notre Dame -- what a crazy amount of tourists in the area, and stopped at a park so Sofia could play for a bit. Meandered around a bit more through the Le Marais and Latin Quarter neighborhoods, stopped at one of the many Greek places to eat gyros for lunch. None of us were sure what meat was actually in the gyro, but it was interesting that they stuffed the pita with the mystery meat, lettuce and french fries. Sofia ate the french fries.
Hopped the metro back to Gare du Nord and checked our bags out of the locker. Waited for the train for a bit, then boarded the Thalys to Amsterdam. The Thalys is exactly like the Acela in the US. The train was full with passengers, but everyone's tickets had the car and seat where they were supposed to sit. This was nice in comparison to Amtrak, which issues tickets and then it's a free for all to get a seat.
At this point we were all ready for a nap, so we took advantage of the 3 hour train ride to snooze. Sofia slept the whole way from Paris to Amsterdam, which was fine by everyone. The rest of us caught at least an hour of sleep, maybe more. The Netherlands is flat, completely flat. Not a hill to be found as far as the eye can see. It makes South Jersey look like the Alps.
Then we arrived in Amsterdam Centraal Station at about 5:30PM...