I liked Amsterdam. It is clean and organized, from the ticket lines at the museums to the signage at the train station. It’s easy to get around and everyone speaks English. As our Heineken cruise guide said “There’s more to Amsterdam than prostitutes and coffee shops.”
It was an easy walk from our B&B to the train station, where we boarded the Thalys high speed train to Pairs. The ride was smooth, comfortable and fast, reaching a maximum speed of 300 km/hr, or 186 mph. It felt like we were rolling right along as the countryside sped by.
From the Gare du Nord train station in Paris it was a short 10 minute walk to the apartment at 74 rue Dunkerque. We rented the apartment through VRBO.com, and it was perfect; two bedrooms and roomy. We have found that apartment rentals beat hotels every time, and if you split the cost, it is more economical too.
A market is one block away, and a pastry shop is in the same block. We are also one block from the Anvers metro station stop.
After unpacking and grocery shopping (food in the market was reasonably priced, a bottle of wine around 5 euros), we took a walk up to Sacre-Coeur to get our bearings. It had clouded over and there was a cold wind, still, the streets were full. There is no end to the tacky souvenir shops and even in February there were many tourists. We made an initial reconnaissance of the area for future lunch spots and found a money changing shop. All essential.
Back at the apartment it was heaven to relax in a toasty warm roomy place of our own with a kitchen.