IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m jinxed. Whenever I travel to The Netherlands, things always go wrong. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sat writing this on the slowest train IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been on for quite a few years. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the small local service between Maastricht and LiÃƒÂ¨ge, via VisÃƒÂ©.
Somehow the points were wrong upon departure from Maastricht, so the train has been running along the right hand track rather than the left. The consequence has been that none of the automatic barriers on the level crossings (passages ÃƒÂ niveau in French!) have been engaging themselves. The train has had to inch forward, covering the 8km from Maastricht to Eijsden in more than 30 minutes.
Dusk is presently falling; I hope weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll manage to get to the border before the driver stops being able to see what crosses the level crossings in front of him. I havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been able to take photos of it, but we have had a couple of close encounters Ã¢â‚¬â€œ one with a car and another with a moped.
This is the third time IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had problems with the trains in The Netherlands in the last 3 times I have been here! A couple of years ago I managed to get stranded at Oudenbosch, on the way from Belgium to Rotterdam, and just a few months ago was turfed off the train between Amsterdam and Rotterdam due to engineering work.
Beyond that, I can never manage to get my hotel bookings right here either Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the Hotel Beaumont in Maastricht managed to mess up my booking due to a misunderstanding, and this follows a mess with hotel reservations in Amsterdam in the summer.
I like The Netherlands, but I am damned unlucky whenever I travel here!