Breakfast at the Hotel Jan Brito is better than ok but they have not found a way to keep the eggs and bacon warm which is a shame.In all other respects however it deserves it's 4/5 start ranking.
The hotel lets straight onto the sidewalk/pavement outside so we have to get our bikes and park on the sidewalk while we load up.
Collecting the bikes we get to the exit at the nearby underground car park where the attendant leaps out of his booth and astoundingly suggests that "he is here to help", Auckland Council take note, and he sorts out the ticket machine, which he says can be unwilling. We are both very impressed.
Doreen, our faithful GPS, again takes a route less travelled to 's Hertosenbosch, starting with a couple of single carrageway country tracks. When we cross the border into Holland is not apparent to us but there is a dramatic downturn in the standard of driving with tailgating, nearside passing, weaving and general loony behavior apparently the norm.
From the main roads what we see is not very exciting, not that we have time to sightsee as we are too busy avoiding the nutters. Lots of graffiti seems to be the norm however.
's Hertogenbosch station is something of an experience and despite the signage we struggle to get into the Autoslaaptrein area. Loading is a fascinating experience with no shortage of staff who appear to have nothing much to do and others with more work than they can handle. A late change and they decide to load the Spyder as a car and we are able to wander off into s Hertogenbosch for a coffee.
Bike luggage is apparently the target of late night thieves who are (apparently) able to access the train when it stops for engine changes in Switzerland and Italy. They suggest we should take it all with us but that's three panniers each plus helmets and gear. Defeated we will have to take our chances and hope that the thieves are asleep tonight.
The sleeper compartment is more than adequate and we have the later dinner sitting at 8:30 which gives us which gives us time to catch a movie on the iPad before dinner.
The restaurant car has been set up to a first rate standard and traveling up the Rhine valley with a few glasses of wine enjoying a candle lit dinner is quite magic. We loved it and the meal was surprisingly good too. (this was not a uniform experience - our neighbors were unimpressed with the pinkness of the pork)
The stewardess in the restaurant car is a mine of information (studying to be a kindergarten teacher, this is a weekend job) and we chat for a while before finally leaving at about 11:30
Our steward (Raoul) has our bunks (yes, sheets and duvets) ready in a trice and they are surprisingly comfortable. Certainly the best train ride we have ever had.