The Epic Railway Journey

England to Sweden by Train

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Day 14 - Osnabrück to Amsterdam

German flag
Derby Platz, Osnabrück

Our stopover in Osnabrück combined with a relatively short train journey today means that we can do some sightseeing. We were motivated to do so because Osnabrück is twinned with our home city of Derby. Our first move, therefore, is to find Derby Platz. The man in the Tourist Information Centre has heard of it, but even he has difficulty finding it on the map. Eventually we get there and, yes, as we expected, it is even smaller than Osnabrück Square in Derby: although it is somewhat more picturesque than the draughty corner behind Derby's Market Hall. In Derby Platz there is a restaurant, and some trees, and a red British style telephone box and pillar box. But, honour is satisfied, and we can do some more sightseeing.

The Cathedral is beautiful and treasures in the Cathedral museum quite stunning. The old buildings are picturesque, and the walk by the river pleasant, even though close to road and railway. We nearly get run over by a cyclist charging through the middle of a pedestrian street and think yes, in many ways, it is just like Derby!

Nevertheless, like Derby, it is not a large city, and by early afternoon we have seen what we want to see - although we have enjoyed our short stay and may very well return one day.

11th August: 1454 Osnabrück to Amsterdam Centraal: 245km

German flag Dutch flag
"Havelsee" at Osnabrück "Havelsee" - interior

Our train, the "Havelsee", is running a few minutes late, but nothing to worry about. Like the Intercity yesterday, it is a "big" train. The first class carriages are laid out a little differently, representing a slightly newer style of refurbishment. Some of the compartments have been abolished and replaced by open saloons, which some people prefer. We are very happy with our compartment, which has 5 seats instead of 6, staggered so as to increase even more the already ample leg room. Once again, the catering is supplied by a buffet car only, but it is only a short walk away from us; hard luck on anyone 8 carriages or so away at the other end of second class.

Dutch locomotive at Bad Bentheim
We stop briefly at Bad Bentheim to change our German locomotive for a Dutch one. There is opportunity here to recover a few of our lost minutes, and we leave on time. After a run through some pleasant Dutch country scenery and intriguing old towns, we run along the banks of the IJssel into Amsterdam Centraal, a couple of minutes early.

Amsterdam seems to be in the grip of an invasion. The impression is that the entire population of Europe, North America and Japan has descended upon the Dam and the Damrak. Our hotel is only half a mile away, but getting through that lot carrying luggage? No way. We take a taxi.

It is obviously going to be difficult to find anywhere to eat around here, so we decide to go out of town a little way. A quick consultation of the guide book and we take a tram to Leidseplein - which we find to be very nearly as busy as the city centre! We track down the recommended restaurant - the Blauwe Hollander - but by this time, having passed so many other crowded restaurants and bars, we are not hopeful of getting in. Miraculously, there are two seats at a table near the door just waiting for us as we arrive. For most of the rest of the evening, there are people waiting for tables, although the service is swift and they generally do not have to wait very long. The restaurant is small and very busy. They do not take advance bookings, they do not take credit cards (the guide book warned us of this; it is not a problem if you know beforehand). The food is typically Dutch, delicious and plentiful. After a very enjoyable 3 courses, with Dutch beer (about which my only complaint is that it is served in very small glasses), we take a gentle walk back to the hotel to aid the digestion.

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