Thursday, March 7, 2013

From Minnesota to Amsterdam

Yesterday, March 6, I began a journey from Saint Paul to Barlad, Romania.

As  noted in my previous blog we had received a dump of snow. I called for a shuttle ride, a service provided by my building management, and found that I had to leave at 2:30 PM rather than 4:00 as I desired. The shuttle van had been involved in an accident and so a small car was being used for transportation which lessened the amount of riders for each trip. So I was all checked in for my 7:35 PM flight by 3 PM. This included a review of my passport both by TSA and the Delta staff person who checked in my luggage. I had more than enough time to wander around the airport!

I went in to the G concourse all the way down to about gate 30 for I have discovered the wonderful Mill City cafe from other trips through the airport. I had a very nice turkey sandwich there. Then I walked a bit into the sky way that connects the two long wings of the airport. I got this beautiful view out the window there.

 Finally it was time for the flight to begin organizing and boarding. I was surprised to be paged. The Delta staff wanted to check my passport. I'd never had that happen before. But then as I waited I noticed about 40 people got paged. I surely couldn't figure out what we all might had in common that called for this extra check of a passport.

It was an uneventful flight, and that's certainly the best kind. The only surprise was how good the food was. For "dinner" I chose the cold salad. it came with grilled chicken which was very good and the salad greens and dressing were very good.  For breakfast we had a breakfast sandwich and a banana.

Passport control  in Amsterdam was a bit more stringent than I've encountered before. I had to answer some detailed questions about where I was going, did a I have a ticket back to the states, and also did I have enough money to support myself. This, plus the extra passport check, made me wonder if there is a security warning of some kind quietly in place.

I checked into the Citizen M hotel at Schiphol and elected to pay for an early check in for I didn't want to add another 3 hours of sitting around to this trip. Took a 2 hour nap and then opened up the Internet to deal with things rolling in now from North America.

Wandered back to Shiphol Plaza to look for a couple things I had forgotten to pack. I went into a supermarket. Enjoyed seeing the products there. Two things took my eye in particular.

I thought these guys were cute. The containers are for cheese spread. I was amazed at the idea of "cheese spread" in a country noted for production of fabulous cheeses. I tried to read the packaging and I'm guessing this product comes from Germany.

The shop was full of Easter chocolates, something I may pick up on my way home. However, I was surprised to find Christmas chocolates on a shelf.

The Christmas chocolates were not even on sale! In the United States this would have been on a clearance sale on December 26 and two days later the shelf would have been full of things for Valentine's Day.

I went to my favorite restaurant in Schiphol Plaza -- and I am really lucky to be able to travel so much to have a favorite restaurant here! I ordered the burger special.

 Oh, yes, the wonderful French Fries here come in a paper cone. The burger includes sliced cucumbers. We often use pickles, but I'd never thought before about using raw cucumbers. It is very good!

I was really thinking about lingering longer over a coffee, but couldn't see my waitress. Suddenly there she was saying, "How about a coffee?"

A very nice evening getting onto Europe time. 

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