From Deutschland to Dutch Land

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Venlo, Limburg, Netherlands
Yesterday (Wednesday. I think I write this not only for you as readers, but for me to keep track of the days!) I bid farewell to Sandra and Salzburg. I woke up early for breakfast and to hightail it to the city center for a few souvenirs, and then went back to the hotel to grab my bag. I took the 5 bus to the train station and then transferred to the 2 bus, which went to the airport. Check-in for my flight to Cologne with Eurowings was fast and easy. The airport at Salzburg is about the size of Green Bay - small, cute and efficient. It was only an hour flight, and I had about an hour to collect my bag, head to the train station in the airport, purchase my ticket to Venlo, and board. 

It was kind of a long haul to the train terminal, and luckily, the Cologne/Bonn airport has excellent signage . Also fortunate is that the machines to buy tickets can be translated to English. There was a young, female backpacker who spoke English and was asking someone for help. I mentioned the machines have an English option and are pretty straight-forward. She was looking to get to the main station in Cologne, which was a 15-minute ride. She was watching me purchase my ticket, so I could kind of show her that it is pretty simple. She went to the machine next to me to purchase her ticket. The problem was that she had a 50-euro bill and the machines only accepted as high as 10, and she didn't have coins. I didn't have change for her (only 40 in cash). I use my credit cards on these machines, as I find that the easiest. I asked if she had coins, and even fished in my bag for some to lend her (I didn't have enough), and she said, "No, I just arrived here from my home country. I don't have coins." 

 She said it with the tone of annoyance, like, duh, why would I have coins? Yes, I do understand it's hard to arrive with coins, but it's also pretty typical that train station machines only take coins and small bills . If you're lucky they take credit card. Worst-case scenario, go back up to the departures area and buy a soda so you have some small change. Stop acting helpless and use your brain, I wanted to tell her. I felt for her, because she was young and alone, but I also found her attitude irritating, because she wasn't really trying. At this point, I was done with being nice and helping. When someone is trying to help me and asks a question, I don't act annoyed. I'm just grateful for the help. A pilot showed up and she asked him if he had change. He started to check, and I slipped away. I'm guessing he could help her, because I didn't see her after that.  

I got on the train at 3:08 to Monchengladbach, and then had a quick connection to Venlo, Netherlands. My connection was across the track, which was great because I only had a 5-minute transfer, and we were about 2 minutes late. I'm guessing trains sort of wait for these other trains to arrive. They have this all timed down to a science.  

I arrived in Venlo, went to the hotel, and then took a walk. I wasn't expecting it to be so cute, but it is! It definitely feels Dutch, even though we are on the border with Germany. People are biking everywhere, and the houses are narrow like in Amsterdam.  

Things are continuing to go great - no complaints! (knock on wood). 
Thanks for reading.