Friday, May 11, 2012

Amsterdam Adventure

Last evening  I left for Amsterdam, as the first leg of a trip to Barlad, Romania. The flight left at 7:30 PM in daylight, but we soon flew into the darkness. After about 3 hours I happened to notice the moon outside the window.
We don't often see the moon from an airplane -- probably for two reasons -- most flights are in day hours and often there is cloud cover. The picture got a bit funny because the slow exposure time needed and the fact that the plane was moving.

Here is the location of the flight at the time I was admiring the moon.

In about an hour we began to fly into early dawn, and the view changed.

The flight was uneventful, my luggage arrived without any difficulty and soon I was on my way to the hotel, Citizen M.

I've never stayed here before, but have been looking the web page for months. Curious to see how reality matches the web pages and the travel reviews. First I can say it is true that everyone here is very helpful. Check in is done on a kiosk and there was someone to help me immediately.

The hallway looks a bit austere.

But the room is quite comfortable, particularly for a single traveler.

As one views this photo, the shower is on the right, the toilet is out of view on the left, the sink is on the left and the rest of the room is the bed -- very comfortable.

This is the view through the blind -- and all I can do since the blind is enclosed in a double pane of glass. I can use a remote control to open and close the blink and also to lower a night shade if I want the room darkened.

A nice feature is a place to plug in devices that use US or UK electrical ends.
My Kindle is charging after its hard work overnight. I do have convertor plugs with me, but it's very nice not to have to dig those out, and leave most everything packed until my final destination.

After a nap I walked back to the airport to get a bit oriented. This is the first time in years and years that I've done anything here but transfer from one flight to another.

When packing I found I had some Euros tucked away, but figured I would certainly need more, so I found an ATM.

It popped out Euros without any difficulty -- but one thing I always do it let my credit union know when I'm going to be traveling, so that if there are transactions coming from a foreign country, they know I planned to be there and it's probably me!

I wandered around and finally picked out a the Juggle Juice Bar for a bite to eat. I ordered a strawberry smoothie and a toasted cheese sandwich. The smoothie arrived very quickly, the waitress said the sandwich would be along in a minute, and she settled the bill with me right then -- don't know if this quick collection of the bill is a Dutch thing or perhaps an airport thing where people may be very time-limited. Well, when the sandwich didn't arrive in about 15 minutes and got the attention of the wait staff. My waitress quickly discovered the cook got distracted. He started making it, and then never finished it. So the order was starting over -- she said, commenting on the cook's error:  "He's going to have to wash your car." I thought that was a charming idiom! Have never heard it before.

So these first steps are going well. Tomorrow it's Paris, then Bucharest, then Barlad.

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