Friday, June 7, 2013

Goodbye, Amsterdam...

Our last day in! I had such a good time on the trip that I didn't want to leave, but I guess I had to go home and go back to work eventually. We grabbed breakfast in the hotel, enjoyed the canal view while we ate, then finally grabbed our bags and checked out. Since our flight left around noon we didn't really have any time to wander around the city, so I tried to enjoy the scenery as much as I could during the walk to the tram stop. We hopped on the tram (with all of our bags - that was fun), picked up our car, and headed toward the airport.

Goodbye, A10! (That's the ring road that circles Amsterdam.)

We made it to the airport and to our gate with no problems. Rather than have one huge security checkpoint, at Schiphol, each gate has its own security screening. It makes it a LOT easier since there's basically no waiting - each security point is only screening the people for that individual flight, rather than screening people for dozens of flights. There was a little waiting area with chairs and vending machines and bathrooms, so Mark and I hung out there and played cards until it was time to get on the plane.

Usually at this point on a trip I'm ready to just get the heck out of there. The fun part is over...let's get home already!

Goodbye, Netherlands! I'll be back someday, for sure.

And goodbye, tulips. I loved how you could still see them from the air, even from the jet.

KLM is a pretty nice airline to fly, especially long-haul, so we spent most of the flight watching movies and playing games on our individual screens and eating all the tasty food they kept putting in front of us. They even had a pilot view camera that faced out of the front of the plane, so you could pull that up on the screen and watch the clouds roll by underneath.

What is with us getting passed in the middle of the ocean by A380s?! This happened on the way back from Ireland last year, too.

The flight was really good until the very end. The weather at home wasn't very nice, and as we got closer to Dulles we started to get bumped around as we descended into the clouds. Even with a window seat I was starting to feel pretty rough, despite my attempts to plaster my face against the glass and try to keep sight of some sort of horizon. We got kicked around quite a bit, then finally popped out of the muck and landed.

Why'd we come home again? Yuck!

I wobbled off the plane and we made our way over to customs, which took a full hour to clear for no apparent reason. Lucky me, I got the customs agent who wanted to play twenty questions and was asking me about everything under the sun - where I went, what I did, what I bought, why did I go, how long was I there, where do I work, what do I do, where do I live. The whole time I was standing there thinking, dude, you've got most of these answers on the form sitting in front of you, everything is still moving around because I felt so disoriented on the plane, I just got off a 7+ hour flight, and you're expecting me to form coherent sentences? Definitely not one of my favorite customs experiences, though they have the chance to redeem themselves in July because I have another short foreign adventure coming up (yay!). At any rate, thanks to the long wait at customs we finally got out of the airport just in time to hit rush hour on 66, in the rain. Awesome.

Overall, our trip was fantastic! I definitely want to go back to the Netherlands again; there's so much we didn't get to see (and so much I'd like to see again). Though we only saw a little bit of Belgium, I certainly wouldn't mind spending more time there, too...everything we ate was fantastic, the people were really nice, and the cities were really cool. We're just starting to put together ideas for next year's trip(s), and while it doesn't look like Europe is going to be a likely destination (though if we go with what we've been talking about, it should be pretty spectacular), who knows...maybe I could sneak in a long weekend somewhere!

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