444.The Man in Blue – Amersfoort 24 September & conclusion

This is the last of the illustrated articles on my September visit to the Netherlands. I used my time well and managed to do all I wanted to do. My last excursion from Den Haag was to Amersfoort where I visited a friend of very long-standing, Yvo Meihuizen and his wife Petie van Santen.

I went by single-decker intercity from Den Haag CS via Utrecht to Amersfoort. The service pattern is typical for services from the west of the Netherlands to the east and north-east. The train serves both Leeuwarden and Groningen in the north and in Utrecht the train from Den Haag is joined with a train from Rotterdam. Amersfoort offers a cross-platform connection to the east of the country.

In Zwolle the train is split, one part goes to Groningen, one part to Leeuwarden. This system of joining and splitting trains and cross-platform connections is wonderful as long as trains run more or less on time. My train was a little delayed, but I still had time in Amersfoort to take a few pictures of the bus stand outside the railway station. Bus 4 took me to very near my friends’ house.

I met with Yvo and his cats, we had a good chat and went for a walk in the neighbourhood. We talked about our shared interest in public transport, town planning and conservation of historical buildings.

When his wife came home we talked even more and then walked to a local restaurant. I had a nice vegetarian meal and enjoyed the informal atmosphere of the place. After the meal I walked back to the station along a small river and via an old city gate (Koppelpoort) and past the old station building.

At the station I had a look at a local train operated by the Connexxion bus company and went back to Den Haag in a delayed intercity train. I had a pleasant talk with an intelligent young man. On arrival in Den Haag it was raining hard and I had to run for cover. Once I was under cover I walked to the high-level stop of tram 6 without getting wet.

These excursions to the Netherlands are important to me. It is not just about seeing old friends and family members, although I do value those contacts. But I am a Netherlander and even if I never go back to live there, I have been formed by the culture and the history of that country and it is good to keep in touch.

Going to Zeeland where my father’s family comes from felt very good. Travelling and walking about in Amsterdam was great, Amsterdam still feels very good, even without bars and ‘coffee shops’. Being in Belgium Limburg reminds me of my youth in Dutch Limburg but it is not the same.

I am a Sikh, my fatherland is God’s wide world, but it does you no good to deny your background. A Sikh, a world citizen and a Netherlander is how I see myself. Being part of the one human race is very important to me.

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