A Travellerspoint blog


attending a TB meetup can be quite a challenge!

5 AM in the morning and especially on a Saturday morning sounds ridiculously early, but for one time I didn’t mind all that much coz I was just too excited to meet up with Nolan, his wife and some other TB’s in Amsterdam.

Since I didn’t feel like driving all the way up towards the Netherlands, I just opted for the easy way out and bought myself a train ticket, after all, once I reached Antwerp, it was a good 2 hours train ride towards Amsterdam and since weather forecasts predicted some snow, I knew that driving on the road would be a disaster. At least when taking the train, I would reach the Dutch capital a lot quicker or so I thought!!!!

Reaching Antwerp was no problem at all, but once I arrived at the train station, I had to wait for more than half an hour to catch my direct international train to Amsterdam. This should have been easy, but while I was carefree sipping from my Starbucks coffee, suddenly I got the announcement that all international trains were cancelled due to heavy snowfall !!!

What the heck … here I was, a little after 6 AM in the morning standing outside in the cold with my cup of coffee looking for some snow? It seemed that our neighbors in the Netherlands got all the “luck", coz here in Belgium it was just freezing cold but that’s about it.

Just like all the other stranded passengers, I went to look for someone who could give me some more answers, but that’s Belgium for you, if something happens, they just turn their heads and nod that everything will be fine … just wait and be patient!!!

After being patient and waiting already more than an hour, a train suddenly arrived who could take us no further than Rotterdam. It seemed that all the trains towards Amsterdam were cancelled but there was a possibility to take a bus from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. Okay, since I still wanted to make it to the meet-up, I went for it and jumped on the cozy and warm feeling train … Amsterdam here I come!

Or so I thought!?!

As soon as we reached the border between Belgium and the Netherlands, it started to snow and while I was looking at all that beauty falling from the sky, a few minutes later at the train station of Roosendaal we had another stop. According to the Dutch train staff, a freight train got derailed and they didn’t know how long we had to wait … what was going on here ????

It seemed for one reason or another this was going to be a train ride from hell and more than once I asked myself, should I continue or not???

After waiting about half an hour, the conductor gave us all a chance to turn back to Belgium with a local bus, but being the stubborn person that I am ???, I just ignored it and put on some great music hoping that we could move on as soon as possible and indeed, 15 minutes later the train started to move again!

Halleluja … Praise the Lord!!!

From then on it was smooth sailing or should I say riding all the way towards Rotterdam and although I expected loads of people being stranded on the train station, nothing prepared me for the chaos I was about to see.

People were running from one platform to another, kids were screaming, people shouted from one platform to another that there was no room anymore, train staff were handing out warm drinks and helped people where ever they could and for a split second I was thinking of giving up … no way, I was ever going to reach Amsterdam, when all of a sudden someone told me to take a train to Leiden. They couldn’t tell me if it was going or not, but as soon as I reached the platform, miraculously the train arrived and instead of taking a hot cup of coffee from the train staff, I grabbed my bags and jumped on the train together with loads of other people, after all, it wasn’t Amsterdam, but as far as my geography goes, it still is one step closer towards Amsterdam!

Arriving in Leiden, I just saw the same chaos as I did in Rotterdam but for some reason people got their hopes back coz things started to clear up in the sky and as soon as I saw that sign with Amsterdam and the train following a few minutes later, I was the happiest person on earth … it seemed I was going to make it after all!

During my trip from hell, I tried to contact Keiko a few times, but failed to reach her … Ineke on the other hand, was able to reach me, but because of the heavy snowfall in her city, she wasn’t able to join the meet-up. Such a pity, but I am sure that we both meet up again one day or another!

As soon as I stepped outside the train station of Amsterdam, I tried to reach Keiko again and this time I was in luck. It turned out that she was in the same train like me and after waiting a few minutes I could finally give my first hug to a TB friend. It felt so good to see her smiley face after all the troubles of the past few hours and since loads of TB’s cancelled, the two of us walked to my hotel where I could drop off my luggage, when all of a sudden Keiko got a phone call from Mikiko saying that she was waiting for her at the train station.

We agreed to split up and while Keiko went back to the train station, I walked all the way up towards Nolan’s hotel and met up with him, his wife and Vickie. It seemed that we were going to be with only a handful of TB’s but hey … at least the meet up could go through and as soon as we were all together, we had a lovely chat and walked up towards our lunch thingy, which was held in De Waag.

It really was nice meeting up with all those new and friendly faces and thanks to Tineke and Huib, who showed up a bit later, we had a lovely afternoon while they, together with Keiko guided us through many of the most important sights of the city.

Keiko also arranged for us to have a small explanation on how a diamant is cut in a small jewelry store and while we had another stroll towards our evening venue, as soon as we entered the place, it was nice to catch up with Eef as well.

Although the day started not in the best of ways, the evening ended with a blast! After dinner we decided to have a few drinks in a Cuban bar, but like me, most of the other TB’s had an early start, and as it turned out to be a little after midnight, we decided to call it a night. Together with the long but interesting day and a bit of alcohol in our system, we were pretty tired.

In groups we said goodbye to each other, it was truly a remarkable day of which I am sure I am never going to forget and I can only hope I can meet up with everybody again one day or another in the future to come!

Thanks Keiko, Nolan, “Wifey”, Vickie, Mikiko, Tineke, Huib, Eef, Anna-Isabel and Marco for an incredible and more than interesting day!
Hope to see you guys soon!

Posted by Ils1976 06:45 Archived in Netherlands Tagged snow trains food adventure friends fun sightseeing sights europe drinks cold

Table of contents


I'm glad you made it to the meet-up - I know from my own experience at Virtual Tourist meets how special they can be :) And I'm impressed that station staff gave out free hot coffee during the train delays - we certainly don't get that here in the UK when trains are delayed, whatever the weather!

by ToonSarah

Yep, I must admit that I miss all those TB meet-ups, but I am sure one way are another we are going to find each other again.

Indeed, it was a nice gesture, but I guess that was the least they could do to keep the many stranded people warm, mind you ... this isn't happening soon in Belgium either. Here no-one is that friendly towards the customers! :)

by Ils1976

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.