This high-speed train, called the “Thalys”, between Amsterdam, Holland and Paris, France, is a successful undertaking.
Over the last years frequently this train service has been used and always all seats are booked.
This is understandable because it is a well-organized train service, modern trains, at high speed and it is relatively inexpensive: 34,50 Euros (46 $) one-way.
The trip takes 4 hours from the city centre of Amsterdam to the city centre of Paris.
In the future it will be even less travelling time because from Belgium to Amsterdam the special high speed tracks are completed but not being used yet.
From Belgium to Amsterdam the train goes at a shameful 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour.
The reason for this is that the Government of the Netherlands, the civil servants managing the national railroad system, ordered the wrong security system to control the high speed trains.
Now it will take more than 18 months before a new system is installed.
Meanwhile the sophisticated and brand new railroad tracks in Holland for the “Thalys” are rusting.
In Europe these high-speed trains between big cities are very popular.
Most big cities within France can be reached by high-speed train that go at a speed of 300 kilometres (190 miles) per hour.
In Spain they are working hard to complete their part of the European high-speed railroad network.
Reading the Herald Tribune and having a nap made the time to travel in the “Thalys” go by easy and nice.
Arriving at the Gare du Nord, one of the busy train stations in Paris, a metro was taken to Rome.
The metro is the Paris underground train system: a modern way of public transportation.
Each station where a metro train stops has a name related to its neighbourhood so that an experienced Paris traveller knows that the stop called Rome, is in the neighbourhood where streets are called after European cities.
A booking was made to stay in the three star hotel Cervantes in the Rue de Berne.
For booking hotels a service is used called www.hotelclub.com
On their website a selection of hotels is presented in the town and price range desired.
Usually this is good but recently, with a hotel in Los Angeles, www.hotelclub.com turned out to be unreliable.
Nowadays first a website is consulted called www.tripadvisor.com
This website has the advantage that they have recent comments of users of hotels, something which www.hotelclub.com doesn’t have.
And it has the option to check up to 4 different websites selling hotel rooms.
Sometimes a same hotel has different prices on different websites.
Hotel Cervantes is a nice hotel.
In a 19th century building but very nicely modernised and equipped.
A single room goes for 128 Euros ( 173 $ ) plus taxes, minibar consumption and use of telephone.
The staff is bilingual and very helpful.
Asking for a Japanese restaurant nearby, the friendly receptionist went on the Internet right away and found Restaurant Yamamoto quickly.
Hotel Cervantes is a three star hotel.
This is the minimum for a guest to accept when staying in Paris.
A three star hotel has air conditioning and that is vital.
Because Paris is such a busy metropolis where day and night cars and trucks and motorbikes race loudly through the streets.
When staying in a hotel without air conditioning the windows of the room need to be open making sleeping impossible because of noise and pollution.
The other vital aspect of a hotel is to have WIFI in the room.
Hotel Cervantes classified because of those two reasons but it offered something extra.
The room has a large LCD TV with over 40 channels included CNN, BBC and soft porno.
Special is a wall mounted DVD player: at the reception DVD’s can be borrowed or guests bring their own.
For the first time a night of long and good sleep.
Over the last weeks life has been so hectic and intense, that sleeping was limited to only a few hours per night.
This night it was 8 full hours of sleeping dreaming of trains entering tunnels.