Gouda Stories and Tips

Trains, Planes & Bicycles

Rail Terminal Schiphol Photo, Gouda, Netherlands

Holland has an excellent transport infrastructure. It’s a small, flat, and compact country, so I suppose this gives it an advantage.

Schiphol Airport is fairly pleasant for a big airport, feeling less grubby than most. It’s like a big spider, with the central hub in the middle and all its terminals sprouting off in all directions. This means that you don't have to get horrible little shuttles between terminals, but there is a bit of walking to do, made a bit easier by the customary moving pavements. It’s KLM's main hub, so it’s a cosmopolitan place, with people connecting here to all parts of the globe. Eating and shopping are quite good considering it’s a big airport.

If Amsterdam is your final destination, then you are likely to leave the airport terminal by train. Their departure platforms are underneath the airport itself, so connecting is quite easy. Tickets are a good value, too, with 5€ getting you a ticket virtually anywhere within a 40-mile radius. One word of warning, however, for those people who are tempted to take a chance and dodge a fare - the conductors do come round regularly. Trains are regular up until 10pm or so, and many are double-decker affairs, so your chances of getting a seat will always be good from Schiplhol at least.

Getting off the train, especially if your journey ends at a smaller town like Gouda, you'll see that it’s no myth that everyone in Holland cycles everywhere. There will be literally hundreds of bikes chained up outside the station. The bikes incidentally do not tend to come in all shapes and sizes, with flashy/sporty/funky efforts quite scarce. Most seem to be of the functional "sit-up-and-beg" variety. So don't be surprised to see a 17-year-old tearaway riding a very similar model to his mum.

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