Getting to Amsterdam. Even the easy way was kind of hard.

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.

Traveling to Amsterdam with kids

After all these years, I still don’t understand why we have to get to the airport three hours early.  Why?  WHY?!

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.

Visiting Amsterdam with kids

Other passengers watched American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street or popped sleeping pills. Slackers.

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.

Dutch phrases for travelers

Don’t judge.

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.

Hotel airport Amsterdam

When you need a real airport nap, you can’t beat a capsule hotel.  Especially if it’s mildly spaceship-themed.

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.

Hotel airport Amsterdam

Home Sweet Yotel.

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:

Why not Amsterdam
Getting to Amsterdam: Even the easy way was kind of hard
The Mystery of the Giant Pink Penis Lamp
Wait.  How long is a kilometer again?

June 4th, 2014 | by Jamie Pearson

3 Responses to “Getting to Amsterdam. Even the easy way was kind of hard.”

1. Jenny Jensen on June 5th, 2014

Cute! I slept in that yotel once and had the same luggage issue. I didn’t sleep much as I was worried I wouldn’t wake up for my 5 am flight but it was pretty comfy and the 1 person rooms are crazy compact. I’d stay there again- good idea to use it for a nap!

2. Rachel on June 5th, 2014

You are hilarious, and your kids are awesome. I’m curious if it’s you and the kids, or if your husband is along, too? If you’re doing this solo, you just became my Mom Hero (#gomom!) because, obviously.

3. Jamie Pearson on June 5th, 2014

Rachel: We are actually without my husband on this trip (though he coincidentally has to speak at a conference in Amsterdam tomorrow, and is going to spend a few days with us). I can’t be your hero for this, because this is fun. It’s staying home all summer with kids that’s heroic. Actually, it’s martyrdom.

Leave a Comment