Actually, the title should be “The Luxembourg Amsterdam trains” since it took us three trains to make the trip. There are quicker ways to get there, but they are more expensive, and we wanted to have a bigger budget for food and fun. So we decided to take advantage of a special rate that got us both there and back for only 172€. The shorter Thalys route would have been 379€ and really it’s only a half hour to an hour shorter. Flying is around 400€ and while the flight itself is only an hour, there’s the time to get to the airport, go through security, etc.
So this special rate seemed like a good deal, even if it meant a 6 hour trip, and changing trains twice. You have to go through Liège and Maastricht to get the special rate, but you can take any of the local trains, just not the Thalys. There seem to be trains every hour along each part of the route, so no stress about one being late and missing the connection. Also, we decided to leave a bit earlier than planned on Monday, and we didn’t need to change our tickets or anything, we just got on the 9:37 instead of the 11:37.
The trip from Luxembourg to Liège was a little over 2 hours, then a half hour train from Liège to Maastricht, then a 2.5 hour ride to Amsterdam. They all had pretty standard commuter-type comfort, however the train from Liège to Maastricht was super disgusting. I wonder if maybe the two countries can’t decide who is in charge of cleaning the trains . . .
But that was the only downside to going by train. I think for the price, and the flexibility, it’s worth it. Since we were both a little sick at the beginning of the trip, a long train ride gave us time to sleep and read and just chill out. The fact that our phones were roaming meant we weren’t on Facebook the entire trip, so it was a nice way to unplug a bit and get into vacation mode. Plus there was the scenery to enjoy: the “wild north” of Luxembourg, and the shift in architecture between Belgium and the Netherlands.
There was passport control on the train once we got into the Netherlands, but there wasn’t on the way back. I take the train so often for shorter trips within France, in addition to my daily train commute into Luxembourg, and I’m not used to taking my passport with me. I set about five alarms on my phone and wrote it down in three different places so I wouldn’t forget. So I’m glad someone actually checked it!
My next post will be more about all the fun stuff we were able to do, thanks to saving money on the train!