Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 11 & 12 – In Which we Leave the UK and Arrive in Amsterdam


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It’s like they’ve never seen us before

Friday was one of those days I would like to forget, which is a good thing as I was so tired by the end of it that I think I have forgotten most of it anyway. How would I know anyway? We left the cottage at 8, were on a train by 9:15, then another by 10:15, then back in London battling the underground to get across town, lugging bags up and down flights of stairs, and on and off trains, then into another train to get to Gatwick. The whole time I was dreading Gatwick as my last memory of it from a few years ago was a two hour wait just to drop off out bags as the conveyor belt that received luggage had completely broken down. All we could see was a red-faced, sweaty, swearing man half-buried by all the suitcases that had literally piled up. Plus the ceilings there seemed to be better suited to Frodo and Yoda than anyone else, even me.

So it was a great relief to arrive at the new North Terminal with its sky-high ceilings and airy whiteness. We breezed through the whole tiresome process and soon found ourselves on our British Airways flight to Amsterdam. What a great flight! With the exception of the flight attendant’s outrageous makeup which appeared to have been applied much as one would apply grout or spackle, and probably with the same tools, the whole experience was exceptional.

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And HEY AIR CAN’TADA, they served drinks, including beer, wine and spirits, AND handed out snacks, by which I mean handed us a basket of chips, cookies, and other snacks and let us take what we wanted, all for free.

No mean flight attendant with her tiny little glass of tap water in a rat sauce and a sneer here. And before you go off about it being an expensive flight, it was $99 to fly from London to Amsterdam TAXES IN. So take that and smoke it, Air Can’tada.

To top it off, the flight actually left early and arrived early so I really was amazed. And they didn’t lose my luggage!

Maybe they could start up a service between Victoria and Vancouver.

We navigated our way through more trains to get to the Central station, contemplated a tram or walking or something silly like that for about 1.4 seconds then jumped in a cab to our hotel, the oddly named Owl Hotel. One never knows what one is in for when booking an unknown hotel, but this place turned out to be a little gem with a bar and lounge, breakfast included, free wifi, and very comfortable beds.

I’m still not sure why it is called the Owl Hotel, although it is giving Zoe an opportunity to practice her owl call that she has been working on since learning it a week ago. Excellent.  For her.

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At some point, we realized we hadn’t eaten in about 7 hours so we left the hotel at 9pm looking for food and finding instead a supermarket where we wandered around for a while in a total daze, and ended up coming away with a couple of bottle of orangina, some water, and a packet of sweet buns. Why the buns, I have no idea.

After wandering the lovely neighborhoods for some time, we tried to convince ourselves that really, the buns were fine and we were so tired anyway we should just go home when we suddenly came across the most divine-smelling hole-in-the-wall Indian Curry house. Jacob looked at me with his 6’3” I’M STARVING face and in we went. Several plates of dirt-cheap and delicious rice, lamb and chicken curry, a few samosas, and cups of delicious chai later, and all was well with the world. Maybe they could cater for Air Canada. Or at least give them some recipe suggestions.

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At one point a couple walked in and sat down at a table and I just about fell out of my chair. WHAT THE HELL IS MY FRIEND SIOBHAN DOING HERE? This is a crappy picture as I was trying not to be obvious about it, but believe me, for those of you who know Siobhan, this woman is her twin. Weird.

It was after 11 when we finally left. Fortunately the restaurant was only a block from the Owl, so it was a short trudge dragging our tired selves back through the beautiful streets to bed.

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Hmmm. Apparently, I have remembered exactly what happened on Friday…

More tomorrow on our first day in Amsterdam, in which there are A LOT of bikes.

Thanks for reading-



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