Saturday, December 19, 2015

(Europe Sep 2015) Day 1: Singapore to Amsterdam. Stay at Leiden

Day 1 (3 Sep 2015): Singapore to Amsterdam. Stay at Leiden

I'm sorry about the delay in uploading the posts for this particular trip, because I was really REALLY reluctant to go through the photos for this trip. 
This was because I'd feel really sad whenever I come across the photos which we took of my beloved bear which was stolen from us on Day 4 of the trip. (see here on details of how it happened)

Ok, am trying not to dwell on that before I start tearing up again.  Moving on.

And this time, we are all on our own, doing a free and easy trip which I planned.

A tip to note though, train fares in Europe are usually much much cheaper if you booked it way in advanced (usually 3 months ahead, but this varies) and will usually become more expensive as the days draws nearer to the date of the journey.

I spent a REALLY LONG TIME planning this trip. It reminds me of the time when I first started planning my very first Japan trip back in 2010. I was so lost and didn't know where to start my research from.  Thankfully, I found a website with ALOT of informative train infos, which really helped my Europe trip planning.  

Basically, we had quite a number of rainy/gloomy days on this trip.  We thought the weather would be just cooling (about 20 degrees celcius perhaps?), but I totally didn't expect the temperatures to be in the 10s when we arrived. We only brought with us a regular jacket, so on some days (especially at Murren in Switzerland), I was soooo cold that I had to use my gloves (which was literally the last thing I packed into my luggage just 10mins before I left home).

Out of the many places we visited on this trip, I think my favourite day was the leisurely day spent at the little village of Murren at Swiss Alps. 
Nice weather, Superb view, lovely town with not many other tourist groups, and friendly townsfolks. :)


And here we go...Day 1 of this trip...


Day breakdown:
0230-0505 Singapore to Doha via Qatar Airways (7hrs 35mins)
Transit at Doha airport
0825-1400 Doha to Amsterdam via Qatar Airways (6hrs 35mins)
1516-1532 Schiphol Airport to Leiden Centraal via Intercity train (E6.70 per pax)
1550-1650 Checked in hotel (ibis Leiden Centre Hotel, just opposite Leiden station). *We had some issues with our Data-SIM card package delivery, so we spent 1hr at our room trying to contact the Data-SIM card company to sort it out.
1650-1715 Went back to Leiden station to buy food from Smullers for our late lunch (E10.55 fries, kroket, meatball burger, milkshake) 
Started to rain while we were walking back to our hotel room with the food.
Ate in our hotel room since it started to rain pretty heavily.
Due to time-difference, we were sooooo tired by 6pm, so we decided to take a 1hr nap and wake up at 7pm to go out and find dinner.
We slept, and woke up at 01:45am instead (slept for nearly 8hrs!!)
Woke up feeling really hungry, so we ate some cup noodles which we brought with us from Singapore.
Then finally went back to sleep, again.


 Our in-flight food for the Singapore to Qatar flight:
Porridge

Potatoes, beans, sausage, omelette (I think)

Our plane docking at Doha airport


We had a few hours of transit at Doha airport. We totally forgot to bring USD with us, so the hubby had to use credit card to buy food at Burger Kings :)



Camel soft toys 

More camels :)



This is something like a food court. Has a few stalls + a burger kings. 





Chicken fries + mozzarella cheese sticks + coke

a children's playground inside Doha airport 








After a long journey from Singapore, we finally arrived at Netherland Amsterdam's Schiphol airport!! 

Next up, taking an Intercity train from Schiphol Airport to Leiden Centraal. 

train ticket. Our fare was E5.70 + E1 charge for the ticket.
If I'm not wrong, Intercity trains usually have toilets, and the Sprinter trains usually doesn't. 

After a short ride, we arrived at Leiden Centraal station.  Back in 2007, I believe a couple of us also took the train from Amsterdam to this Leiden Centraal station to take a bus to Keukenhof to see tulips. 8 years later, and here I am again.



Shops at Leiden Centraal station
 Our hotel for the night is ibis Leiden Centre Hotel, located just opposite Leiden Centraal station. Nice location, reasonable rates, clean and air-conditioned room (during this trip, I realised that not all hotels have air-conditioning in Europe). 


View from our room window. I can actually see a windmill from the window.

photo taken from our room window, zoomed in on the windmill. If I'm not wrong, this windmill is a museum which we'd be visiting the following day.

Since we had some issues with the delivery of our Data-SIM card, so we spent awhile at our hotel room using the hotel's WiFi to resolve the issue with the Data-SIM card company. 
Afterwhich, we headed out to the train station to buy some late lunch.
Leiden Centraal train station.
 During our previous trip to Amsterdam, we loved the fries from shops like these...and therefore, we couldn't resist ordering from this particular shop (Smullers, I think) at the trains station.
 You basically just insert coins, then open a window, and remove the food, and you can start eating :)

It started to rain while we were walking back to our hotel room with our food...
E10.55 fries, kroket, meatball burger (sorry, can't remember the name), milkshake. sprite. I LOVE the chocolate milkshake and the fries and the meatball burger thingy.


Due to time-difference, we were sooooo tired by 6pm, so we decided to take a 1hr nap and wake up at 7pm to go out and find dinner.

We slept, and woke up at 01:45am instead (slept for nearly 8hrs!!)

Woke up feeling extremely hungry, so we ate some cup noodles which we brought with us from Singapore. I'm a really fussy eater, and I recalled not eating many things during my previous Europe trip, so I brought 5 cup noodles with me for this trip as a back-up.  
Oh, and if you are a Singaporean and can't do without chilli sauce, please remember to bring lots of packet chilli sauces with you when you go to Europe (I brought 20 little packets with me for this trip and used up ALL of them),

After having our cup noodles, we went back to sleep, again.


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