I got a good night of sleep and had a terrific breakfast. Wow! I mean, if this is the way the Dutch to breakfast, then I may never go home!
Yes, that's a chocolate croissant, lox, poached tomatoes, bacon, and creamy eggs. Yes, that's a latte, beet juice (!), and fresh yogurt in a glass jar.
You may have also spotted a slice of brown bread. I covered that in a pat of butter that was a cross between butter and brie, and probably from the happiest cow on Earth.
Once checked out I went back to the airport to catch a train into town. A rail attendant kindly showed me how to use the automated kiosk to purchase a train ticket. My journey went just fine... until I arrived at Amsterdam Centraal.
Google Maps didn't seem sure of the whole train/tram/bus situation, so I referred to the group hotel's website. It indicated two trams. Trams? Did I just get off a train or a tram? I was pretty sure it was a train, so where are the trams? And does my train ticket include passage on the tram?
I eventually asked a station attendant if my ticket was good on trams and was told no, and that I needed to stand in a long line of confused newly-arrived visitors to use a kiosk to obtain the necessary ticket.
15 minutes later I had a ticket and then it was a matter of finding the appropriate tram. Where were the trams? Were they contained inside the station? Were they outside?
The latter, I discovered, and so I went outside and saw several zones marked by letter. So which letter should I stand by? Referring again to the hotel site, I read that I should catch "tram 16 or 24 starting from the Central Railway Station." It was great to have choices, but only the 24 was listed on any signs I could find.
Having found my way to zone A and the requisite tram 24, I moved to the next part of the travel instructions, "get out at the 8th stop which is called 'Albert Cuyp Market'." This might have gone fine if 1) the driver didn't bypass a couple of stops (I couldn't be sure) and, 2) if I understood the Dutch readouts on the display in the tram.
I ended up jumping out several stops too early but as soon as I saw a mention of "Albert Cuyp." I arrived at the Bicycle Hotel 20 minutes later, grateful to drop my luggage and start meeting my classmates.