In about… 14 hours I will be landing at YYZ Toronto… bah humbug! 😉
Hello once again in what will be the last or one of my last blog entries from this particular trip. I tried to write an entry last night but my eyes didn’t agree with that particular idea, quickly closing on me, so I gave up on that one.
It’s been a fun couple of days – I think I left you in Marrakech… I absolutely hated the airport there. I didn’t really experience it much on the way in, I caught the very start of the line for passport control so that was speedy, baggage was fine and my ride was waiting for me, so I really didn’t suspect it would be that bad. It was. Arrived and that was fine – big spacious checkin area, changed my money over (you can’t leave with their money, it’s a closed currency), checked in – all good.
Friends from the Riad told me it would take a long time going through passport control, but I didn’t really believe them. I did make my way over pretty quickly though, just in case.
It was terrible. BLAH. I have NO idea what these guards were doing. It’s LEAVING the country. Just check and make sure there’s a stamp coming in, whatever, and stamp out. It took FOREVER. I had to leave the line I was in – people were jumping over the railing to get out and into another line. It took about 30 mins to get through there, longest I’ve ever had to wait to get stamped OUT of a country. I would hhhhaaaatttteeee to be in a lineup like that coming it – it must take forever. And I just cannot imagine what would possibly take them so long. He was quick with mine.
So already not exactly a happy camper. Get into the terminal and it’s just like.. cramped.. and tiny. Low ceilings, tons of people – everywhere. Food isn’t great, loud, just… blah. Was very unimpressed. No free wifi. Like… blah. Just was super unimpressed. On what was an otherwise enjoyable trip, this was an annoying way to leave.
Did finally make it on to the flight, which was fine. Nothing to write home about. Charged for the food and drinks, so blah to that, and the seats were pretty old (as was the plane), but whatever, it was fine.
Landed in Schiphol – breath of fresh air. Literally. Felt great. Breeze getting off, I stood in the line for EU passports, whoops, but otherwise no line whatsoever, it was dead. Got my bag nice and quick, got out, wandered around a bit – it was about 1am now. A little after. I went to the burger king there which is open 24 hours (thankfully) and gratefully bit into some meat that I was pretty sure wasn’t hanging on a hook somewhere with flies flying around a few hours before. It was quite nice.
After that I loaded up my travel pass with some money in prep for the morning, found a locker for my big bag, wandered around the airport a bit scouting out locations for a nap, found a bathroom to brush my teeth in, and finally – settled into a little four seat thing that stretched out and allowed me to catch a few hours sleep. Yep, I slept on a row of chairs in an airport, overnight. First time that’s ever happened – probably the last, but hey it was an experience. I did actually sleep too – put in my headphones which shut out some of the noise, and though I wouldn’t call it the most comfortable place, and it was obviously bright and whatever, I slept. I woke up every hour or so, but it was still some level of sleep.
I was prodded awake at 5:15am, which I knew would happen as the shops were opening soon. They were quite nice about it – “good morning!”, not rude at all which I thought they might be. They seem quite fine with you sleeping in the airport, as long as you’re up and out in the morning. Brushed my teeth then grabbed a train into the city.
I love Amsterdam.
It was dead. No one there. I got in around 5:30am, and I’ve never seen the area just outside the train station empty – always crowds of people, so that was just so nice and peaceful.
It was a little funny, I was walking along and a guy came up to me and was like “hey…” and was starting to ask me something, and my Marrakech instinct kicked in, so my immediate response was “no no no no”. He kind of stared at me blankly and said “no what” lol, whoopsie! Forgot that people weren’t trying to sell me something every 15 steps. Anyyyyway. He was probably going to ask me for money or something anyway, so I didn’t feel too terrible.
I had an absolutely lovely walk around Amsterdam. Visited the I AMsterdam sign, saw the outdoor stage/screen they had setup for the matches, went to a park I haven’t been before – just lovely. Walked around for about 3 hours, found a pancake place for breakfast, thoroughly enjoyed my morning, though it was a bit tiring, and I was already tired.
I returned to the station and then the airport, grabbed my bag from the locker and caught a train to The Hague (Den Haag). Nice little 30 minute trip, I fell asleep but still wokeup in time, all good.
Caught a tram from there to Laura and Matteo’s place, great to be back – and nice to have the tram working this time! Love their house, it’s such a cool place – used to be a garage, someone turned it into this modern house. Very kind of them to allow me to stay for a couple nights – unfortunately Matteo is away, but it was great to hang out with Laura. We ran some errands and biked around town which was really nice, great to see The Hague again. I remembered a lot of it, though it was much colder when I was last here, so I was quite happy with the weather.
Got back to the house for a bit before heading out to an Irish bar to meet up with a friend of Laura’s and watch the Dutch game – they won! The bar was super packed, lots of orange shirts… I was gonna grab one but they were stupid expensive, so too bad. It was a bit of a boring match, everything interesting happened in the last 20 mins or so. We had a friendly bet between the 3 of us, I said it would be 1-0 Dutch, I lost at the last minute with it ending up 2-0.
The Irish place didn’t have great food so we set off for a great Chinese place not far away – soooo good. I tried a few new things, had some great noodles and chicken as well. Actually enjoyed the Tofu they served there which was surprising. It was well marinated or whatever. We were probably there for an hour or so chatting and eating, great service as well.
Wrapped up the night, returned to the house, Laura made a cake, we hung out a bit before my body eventually decided it was time for a little snooze, so I went upstairs and fell asleep quite quickly (after my blog attempt).
Woke up briefly to a rooster :p that lives next door or something. It was funny, happened last time too. That was about 7:30am, easily fell back asleep… I obviously really needed sleep, I slept in until about 10am which was fantastic. Laura had some appointments so she had left early on, so I got myself together before heading out around 11:30am to meet up with a friend of mine, Kristen, who I met with iRYLA, saw again in Toronto… and maybe one other place? I can’t remember now.
Anyway we had a great time – went down to a spot on the beach, she had lived in The Hague for a year and knew all the great places. It was funny, I saw on Facebook that she was here a few days ago (for just a few days), totally random, so we messaged and arranged to meet up. Great to chat travel and catch up on life – I think we were there for almost three hours. Great lunch, had a nice brownie thing for dessert before packing it in and biking back to Laura’s.
Had a chilled out afternoon, watched the match with Laura, we made (well, she made lol) a great chicken dish and rice for dinner – great to chat and catch up, didn’t really have much time to talk at the wedding :p watched the second match, and then we both got tired and went to bed!
And that’s been my last couple of days! Winding down, so nice to be back here, really enjoying it, but also taking it pretty easy. Not at all excited to go home, to be perfectly honest with you, but it is time. I’m catching a 6pm flight tomorrow, I think I’ll go for a really nice bike ride through The Hague, maybe the Dunes, tomorrow before getting myself ready. Will probably catch a 3:30pm train out, get in around 4pm to the airport and get myself setup and ready to go. Looking forward to flying KLM, I’ve heard good things.
And then I’ll be home! Some stuff planned for this weekend, my sister is getting laser eye surgery so she’s pretty psyched – she’ll be #3 in our immediate family, #who knows what amongst the extended family. It’s quite popular with us lol, we should get a referral fee or a discount! And that’s that. Trip done. Over. Blah. And no next trip planned!!!! (YET)
I think an African Safari might have to be next. Or maybe a trip to South America. I only have two continents left to check off – South America and Antarctica (and I was actually looking at Antarctic cruises today…. :P). Kristen suggested doing a flight there from South America though…… sooooo two birds, one stone? Hmmmmmmmmm.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you for now. Like this isn’t long enough. 1695 words (so far). So I’ll leave you with that and not drive you too much crazier with my random thoughts. Thanks for reading, if you’ve been reading. It’s been nice for me to get all this out and recorded, and I hope you may have enjoyed reading some piece of this as well. Maybe it’ll help you want to travel too? I hope so.