Zutphen, Zaandijk Zaanse Schans and Zaandam

To finish the challenge of visiting stations starting with every letter of the alphabet I visited not one but three stations starting with Z, all in Netherlands.

First off was the well-heeled town of Zutphen. It’s always a great feeling to be finishing off a challenge and standing in front of the sign on Zutphen station, our first stop of the day, was no exception. Our trip to Aberdare in January 2019 seems a long time ago now.

Zutphen had the poshest street market I’ve ever seen. There was no bric-a-brac on sale here. The town was a pleasure to amble slowly around. 

Next up was Zaandijk Zaanse Schans with its chocolate shops and windmill-centred folk-museum on the side of the river. Even at this time of year there were plenty of tourists around so in the summer the place must get packed.  We got there after having changed trains at Apeldoorn and Amsterdam Central.

Last stop of the day was Zaandam which was full of modern and sometimes whacky architecture. We had a funny moment when leaving town. The station had electronic barriers and no staff on duty.  Passengers were getting in and out using an Oyster card type system but all we had was our paper Interrail tickets. We pressed the intercom and the person on the other end told us to scan the QR code on the back.  Turns out that there was a QR code, not on the back of the ticket but on the back of the paper wallet that the ticket came in.  We’d been travelling for five days and not noticed it till out last journey.

Many thanks to my friend Ian for planning this trip so well, booking the accommodation, working out the train routes and for helping us escape Namur in the train strike. We travelled a total of 714 miles on 23 different trains over the five days. we only got disciplined once by a guard for talking who told us we were in a silent carriage.


Getting there

Our trip from Namur to the Z’s of the Netherlands was interesting.  We arrived at Namur station early in the morning to be told by a cleaner that there was a flash strike taking place. No wonder the station had few people around. the enquiries desk was however helpful and sent us to the bus company office who was equally helpful, one we found it.  They advised us to take two local busses, a journey of over three hours, to Liege where we would be able to get a German train out of the country.  They even printed off a timetable for us.  It all went smoothly and we were by lunchtime wading past the smoke from the flares being ignited by striking workers outside Liege station and heading back to Aachen. Lunch was had in Aachen and then it was onto Maastricht where we stayed the night.  A lovely city.