Up early to clean up, pack up, eat breakfast and head to the train station. It’s hard to believe that we’re heading to our last stop on what has been a fabulous trip. Bruges was a delight. It is such a pretty town with its canals and architecture, not to mention the friendly people and wonderful food.
Our taxi arrived just before 9:45 am and we were at the train station by 10:00 am. We sat for ten minutes before they announced the track location of the train. We were able to take an easy walk up and get situated in our seats before the other passengers even arrived at the station.
We were seated near a couple who we had seen at the restaurant last evening. They were really pleasant to chat with and also loved to travel when they can get away. It was fun watching all the people cramming into 1st Classe and then having to haul their belongings out when the ticket checker told them they had to move to 2nd Classe. For some it was a game, for others, it was probably just a simple mistake. Right!
The train ride to Brussels takes about one hour and with chatting, it seemed to go by even quicker. Said our goodbyes in Brussels and then we waited for our train to Amsterdam. We are taking the Thalys train, which is a high speed train. The journey should take just under two hours. Once the track is posted, we headed over to the track. When they were ready, we hopped on, stored our luggage and took our seats. First Classe on this Thalys train was comfortable and nice and quiet.
We zipped along and it was interesting watching the scenery change as we moved from Belgium to the Netherlands. As we neared Amsterdam there was also a marked increase in graffiti. Nothing like young, rebellious youth to ugly things up a little bit.
Right on time, we arrived at Amsterdam Central Station. It’s a large, modern station that was very organized and clean. We walked over to get a taxi to take us to the hotel and fifteen minutes later we were there.
We are staying at the Hotel Ambassade, which is located right on the Herengracht Canal. The hotel looks beautiful, they are very much connected to the literary world and even have a library room with over 4,000 signed copies of books from authors who have stayed here or visited for book lectures. There are a few other little lounges or sitting areas and they also have a restaurant called ‘Brasserie Ambassade’ that is supposed to be very good.
After checking in, we are led up to our room. Room 53 is a lovely room with a canal view, nice comfy bed and a huge bathroom. There is both a tub / shower combination and a self-contained shower with a rainforest shower head. There’s a nice sized closet, minibar and facilities for coffee and hot water. The room is not as large as the one in Bruges, but equally nice.
We unpacked, and since it was only a short while until dinner, we decided to stay in and relax. We were watching the various boats cruise down the canal deciding which one we wanted to take and which one to avoid. The “party boat’ is definitely not one for us. It’s a bit on the raucous side, usually laden with younger folks and lots of alcohol. Jeez.. I sound like my grandparents.
It was time to get cleaned up for dinner. We are staying in and eating at the Brasserie Ambassade tonight. The restaurant is decorated with modern art from something called the Cobra Movement. I’m not usually inspired by modern art (remember – PPP) but the ambience was nice. They had a nice window view table for us that was overlooking the canal.
The menu theme is French, which is always a favorite. Many delicious choices- we may have to come back if the food is as good as it sounds. Our main server Reink was terrific. Great service, friendly and provided some great wine tips.
For our meals, I had the house smoked salmon and then the duck confit. Sue had artichoke hearts and wolffish. For dessert, Sue had Crepes a l’orange and I had a molten chocolate cake with cherry sorbet. Everything was so good that we did make a reservation for Sunday night.
We started with Kir Royals, then moved on to a fabulous wine from Germany. It was a Martin Waßmer Weisser Burgunder that was delicious. I had originally selected a more expensive white burgundy, however Reink steered me away from it – too young! With my duck, he poured me a glass of Dry Creek Zinfandel, our only wine from the US so far.
To cap off the evening, we just had to ride the elevator to get back to the room. An hour later, we were asleep.