Friday, July 10th ~ Amsterdam
Well, I guess the travel gods got a good laugh this time. Tim and I have boasted for the past several years that we can travel with carry-on luggage only. And we do, or at least DID, until this trip.
I packed the same way, with one of those small black roller board “carry on” size suitcases for each of us as well as a small back pack style (rucksack) to carry our electronic gear, toiletries and a few small items we want to keep with us on the airplane.
Checking in at LAX with Air New Zealand, I found out that they have a quite small (in my humble opinion anyway) limit on the weight for carry on luggage and informed us that our very well packed (read that to mean crammed) suitcases would need to be checked.
Oh well, I thought. It would make it easier for our transfer time in London. Checked through to Amsterdam, off we went…
The first long flight was relatively uneventful other than a family seated opposite us who decided to argue periodically throughout the night which limited any sleep most of us were trying to get.
We had two hours for our connection at the London Airport which would normally be quite adequate, however it seemed like barely enough with the long distances we had to navigate through the various terminals, including a bus transfer. British Airlines also required us to further check in with them to get our boarding pass, and an additional security check point quickly ate up the minutes.
We soon recognized that we were once again with the Brits when on board flight #2, they offered us crisps (potato chips) or a biscuit (cookie) and then came through the cabin to collect the rubbish (trash).
As you probably figured out from my blog title, and not so subtle lead-in, when Tim and I arrived in Amsterdam, sadly our luggage had decided not to join us.
After waiting a reasonable length of time, we visited the baggage office and filed a missing luggage report. Since it was both pieces, I am guessing that the bags simply did not make the connection in London and should show up soon. The airlines will deliver them to our hotel eventually. In the meantime, my (always prepared) hubby thankfully packed two spare t-shirts in his back pack so I have some (not very sexy) sleepwear.
To get to the main part of Amsterdam, you can take a taxi that will run 40-50 Euros, or you can take the train to Amsterdam Central. The train station is right there at the Schiphol airport, so for just over 10 Euros for the pair of us, we chose the quicker and less expensive option. The train is non-stop, and about 15 minutes later we were standing right in the center of Amsterdam.
Our hotel (Die Port van Cleve Hotel) was only a 10 minute walk from there and with no luggage, I simply enjoyed snapping a couple of pictures along the way.
I was told that Amsterdam is a safe city (at least the area where we are staying), and that we could walk without any problems. There needs to be a HUGE warning however for any first time visitors to this city – WATCH OUT FOR BICYCLES!!!!
I almost got myself run over on several occasions in the first five minutes.
Our hotel is comfortable and traditional European style with a huge bathtub, firm beds with big fluffy down comforters, a small balcony which overlooks the main street, and thankfully a strong no smoking policy.
Speaking of smoking – the smell of cannabis is common as you walk by sidewalk restaurants, shops or people on the street. The Netherlands has a very liberal attitude about what they consider “soft” drugs and prostitution, with both being legal.
With our internal time clock upside down, Tim woke up around midnight and was starving (and yes we had eaten dinner just 4 hours earlier). So he got dressed and went out walking in search of some nutrition. The good news is that with pot being legal here, it was not difficult to find many food options, even in the middle of the night.
He almost further complicated his hunger problem quite innocently when he wandered past a pastry shop that looked good, only to find that the offerings were “laced” with weed. Ever the conservative, he passed, found a place to get falafels, fries, a salad and to satisfy that now raging sweet tooth, a Snickers candy bar.
He did bring me back some water…
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for safe travels and that we have our sense of humor with us, even if we don’t have a change of underwear.
Thank you for joining us. I promise more pictures and stories soon, but for now I’m going to try to get a few more hours of sleep.