Once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, there is no antidote. Wanderlust will course through your veins for the rest of your life.
Travel, for me, has always been an addiction. I can never get enough of it, despite having been forced to slow down a bit recently. An irritating combination of having a compromised immune system and my sportaholic youth coming back to haunt me. I have no cartilage left in either of my knees, so I’m walking bone on bone. Unfortunately, a concrete date for my first replacement knee has not been set but, in the meantime, my spirit is ever willing.
With the threat of COVID-2019 hanging in the air, it probably wasn’t the best time for me to think about hobbling off to Holland. Still, Amsterdam was calling, and for a special occasion.
The only negative about going on holiday for me is leaving the family members who, through no fault of their own, have to stay at home. I hate leaving Cassie the Blog Dog and Ollie the Cat, and they hate being left. They refuse to make eye contact with me, once they’ve clocked the suitcase. But, we are very fortunate to have a friend who moves in to look after them when we are away. Someone who seems to have the canine/feline-Mary Poppins-effect on them both.
Booked with BA, Jersey through to Amsterdam, our flight was late arriving into Jersey, due to strong winds. Fortunately, we arrived in Gatwick with plenty of time to catch our connecting flight to Schiphol and get into the holiday spirit at ‘Spoons’.
Unfortunately, as with all delays, they have a knock-on effect. Our Amsterdam flight was delayed a little, but once we were all boarded, our captain then decided to break the news that Dutch Air Traffic Control had put back our landing time back by about three hours, because of the wind.
We spent the first hour on board parked by the finger, before being moved to ‘a quieter part of the airport’ to enjoy the view, for another two hours before taking off.
As we discovered, the earlier EasyJet flight to Amsterdam had been cancelled. Apparently, as Holland is mostly flat, the Arctic winds roll in from the north which can make for some exciting sideways landings, and, more disappointingly, cancellations. Fortunately, that didn’t happen to us. Once on our way, it was only a wind-assisted 45-minute flight before we started enjoying our Amsterdam experience.
Arriving at Schiphol in the dark is an interesting experience. If you think Gatwick is a large airport, it is dwarfed by Amsterdam, but as a city that attracts 40,000 visitors a day, it is not too surprising. It is the fifth busiest airport in the world and covers 27.87km² and has six runways, compared with Gatwick’s two.
TRAVELLER TIP: We took a rank taxi from the airport €85 for 6 of us. A one-way train ticket into Amsterdam City Centre is €5.30. Interestingly, we got a Uber back to the airport for €55.
After we checked in to The Eden Hotel, our home for the next three nights, we headed straight out to The Old Bell in Rembrandtplein, a one minute walk from the hotel. Strangely, The Old Bell, is a typically English pub, stocking a wide range of beer, as well as being about the only hostelry selling my favourite tipple, Pinot Gigio, for a reasonable price. The buzzy atmosphere at The Old Bell, their very friendly staff and excellent pub grub, was an excellent way to kick off our Amsterdam experience.
To be continued…