Remember two business trips that happened during my maternity leave, to China and to Azerbaijan? So my first business trip now that I'm officially back at work was to the Netherlands. Or as my firstborn said, to the Neverland (she's quite shocked to find out that I was visiting Peter Pan). Following a 100-hour work on the course, earlier this month I participated in a four-day training on climate governance issue. The problem was, that it was held in a city called Heerlen. They booked me a flight to Amsterdam and I was supposed to arrange my own travel (by train) from Amsterdam to Heerlen to be reimbursed later. I didn't want to go to Amsterdam city central, so I planned my journey directly from Amsterdam Schipol Airport toward Heerlen. Using the official journey planner of the NL train, it seemed pretty simple: Amsterdam Airport to Utrecht, then Utrecht to Heerlen. One train change. It would take me a little over two hours. Well, it didn't turn out that simple, since the NL railway decided to have a massive rail works the day I came to the Netherlands.
My never-ending train journey in the
I hopped off in Rotterdam and change tracks to find my next train to Eindhoven, which was coming in ten minutes. Once the train's there, I boarded the train and found a comfy seat, storing my suitcase on the overhead compartment. Ten minutes into the ride, an announcement was made in Dutch. I asked a passenger next to me what it's about (thanks heavens everyone in the Netherlands speaks perfect English). Apparently the train had technical issue and had to stop in the next station, where passengers need to get off the train and wait for the next train to Eindhoven.
A few minutes later, I found myself stranded in a small station called Breda. I didn't even bother finding out in which part of the Netherlands I was at, I just remember it was cold and windy. I checked the monitor for departures and saw that the next train to Eindhoven was in half-an-hour, so I sat down on a bench and read my book. It was over 1pm at this point. Five minutes prior to when the train was supposed to arrive, I saw this monitor:
|All trains to Eindhoven were cancelled that afternoon|
|Breda station, where the train left us stranded|
I finally found Heerlen in the monitor for the departures. I found the track and waited. In half-an-hour a double-decked train came and I hopped on. I went upstairs and settled myself. It was a two-hour ride after all. A lady-officer came by to check my ticket (which was not checked the whole day by the way) and I told her that it's my fourth train since Amsterdam. She gave me a sympathetic smile and said "I know, it's been chaotic today. But now you're in the right train finally!". The train took me to Heerlen, where I got off at around 4pm. Over five hours adventure from the airport. I took a local bus to get to the hotel I was staying, which, by the way, is run exclusively by volunteers who are retired people. But that's a topic for another post. As for now, my never ending train journey in the