On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Girl About Town

I finally had the time and a reason to leave the neighborhood the past couple of mornings. It's not that I didn't want to venture out into the wide Dutch world, but mostly I had other stuff to do. Tomorrow morning, I'm going down to Rotterdam - now that's European living!

It might not seem like much, but Rotterdam is two towns away and only 15 minutes by Sneltrein, or fast train. This is another 'cool thing about the Netherlands' - the place is so small and the transport efficient enough that you can live and work in entirely different cities. The commute for B- is no worse than when we lived inside the beltway.

Travel within a city is accomplished by tram (looks a bit like San Francisco's MUNI) or bus. To pay for your ride, you use these cards called strippen kaarts. You fold the card over to a blank 'strip' and stick it in a stamp machine. I have no idea what the stamp says, but occasionally a guy will come around and see that you used the right number of strips for your trip.

This is where it gets a little complicated. Travel within one zone costs two strips, and then goes up for each zone you cross. You "just have to know" if you'll cross zones.

You take the train to travel between cities, and it's reasonably cheap and fast. Living in Den Haag puts us about 40 minutes to Amsterdam and 20 minutes to Rotterdam. Very easy day trips! Don't let the word Sneltrein fool you, though. It's not really fast, as in bullet train fast, it just doesn't stop as much. Still, it beats sitting in traffic... Or living in Rotterdam.



Blogger Reid said...

"You 'just have to know' if you'll cross zones", eh? Sounds like DC cabs, but with the convenience of knowing for sure that they're not totally ripping you off.

4:09 PM GMT+1


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