Even though I took steps to make our journey to Amsterdam as easy as possible (direct flight, checked bags, upgraded to economy plus), it was still kind of a grind. Any time you spend ten hours on a plane going to Europe from the west coast, you’re going to feel it.
One thing we did differently this time was to take a daytime flight. I actually kind of liked it. In the past, we’ve always taken evening flights to Europe and put a lot of pressure on ourselves — and the kids — to sleep on the plane. Nothing like knowing you have to sleep to make you completely unsleepy. Am I right? This time we snacked, watched movies, and played video poker instead.
Not to brag, but I also taught myself to speak Dutch on the flight over. The KLM personal interactive entertainment systems were pretty standard, but the Berlitz language learning apps were awesome.
But frankly, I couldn’t see the point in learning to count to 30 and recite the months of the year in Dutch, so I skipped to the important stuff.
The flight was direct and uneventful. For us fearful flyers, that’s a good thing. In a burst of post-landing euphoria, my kids claimed that they “felt great” and “weren’t tired at all!”. This lasted about 30 minutes. It was 9am in Amsterdam and our apartment wouldn’t be ready for us until 4pm.
Luckily I had booked a family-sized room at the Schiphol Airport Yotel. Do you know about Yotel? It’s a cool airport capsule hotel where jet lagged travelers can nap, shower, relax, snack, use the internet and watch TV on long layovers.
We almost had a disaster because Yotel isn’t set up for people who need to deplane, collect their luggage, clear immigration, and THEN take a long nap. Yotel is located in the departures area, and we had exited into the arrivals area. A passport control agent gave us a stern lecture, but eventually made an exception and let us back in. And I didn’t even have to cry! We checked in and settled in for a 4-hour power nap.
Everything looked brighter after our long nap. Even my daughter, who had been lobbying hard for a taxi to the apartment (like the princess that she is), was willing to take the train from the airport to Amsterdam’s Central Station. It was a pleasant 10-minute ride, or would have been if we hadn’t chosen backward-facing seats.
From the train station, it was a 10-minute walk to our apartment. Or it would have been if I hadn’t taken a long detour that was mostly about not wanting to walk the kids through the Red Light district (at least on our first day), and being too lazy/arrogant to pull out a map. I managed to turn our 10-minute walk into a 25-minute walk. Over cobblestones. With rolling suitcases.
The kids almost suffered a sense of humor failure, but my son rallied and speculated that I had taken this route to get more steps on my Fitbit (a super-addictive online socially competitive pedometer, for the uninitiated). I hadn’t, but I would like to point out that the detour did help me totally crush it that day: 17,000 steps FTW!
In my next Amsterdam installment, I’ll tell you all about our apartment in the picturesque, canal-filled Jordaan, and the mystery of the giant pink penis lamp.
All posts in this series: