We’ve arrived!

So we have arrived in Amsterdam..

To back track a bit: The past week was non-stop for me, with the combined stresses of packing, cleaning (in anticipation of my friend staying at my condo to watch Buster) and prepping stuff at work (as I’d never really taken much time off before). I of course left so many things until the last minute, though as my dad reminded me, even if I had the extra week I was whining for on Friday, I still would’ve been running around just as much! Thankfully, though, our flight out of Sea-Tac wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. Saturday, so we didn’t have to do the frantic early-morning scramble like on many international trips. That said, I got to my parents’ 45 minutes late, but we’d built in a buffer in anticipation of this, so we still made it to Sea-Tac about two hours before our flight.

The Seattle-Reykjavik leg of our trip, which took seven hours, was thankfully on a barely half-full 757, so Anuja and I had a three-seat row to ourselves. I made some headway in the new Ed Viesturs book (“K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain”), and tried unsuccessfully to get some shut eye. For dinner, A and I split a turkey/spinach roll thing we’d bought in the airport (Icelandair charges for all food).

We had barely an hour in Keflavik airport in Reykjavik, and then we hopped our next plane to Amsterdam. The flight time was about three hours, and this time the plane was nearly full. There were a lot of student-age travelers, surprise…

Once we got to Schiphol in Amsterdam, we had some stress when we tried to buy train tickets and couldn’t get any of our bank cards to work (and yes, we’d let the bank/credit companies know beforehand that we’d be using our cards overseas). Thankfully, Dad had sent A and me off with some cash, so we exchanged it for Euros and used cash to buy our tickets to Utrecht, which is where our cousin U lives. The next stress came when trying to call U to let her know when we’d be rolling in to Utrecht. She’d given us her number, but though I dialed it twice (and wasted several cents, not knowing that those phone machines don’t give you change!!), I kept getting sent to some modem-sounding device (the phone would ring twice, and then I’d hear a loud, long beep). I asked a lady at an Information booth, and it turned out U’s number was a mobile number, which needed a zero in front of it. Who knew! Then we wasted more money, as we didn’t have the 20 cents in exact change (and would’ve had to go downstairs to get change) and the first time I got connected to U, our line was disconnected before I could give her all our info. Lovely..

Anyway, we finally lugged our bags onto the train and sat through the 35-minute ride to Utrecht. U met us at the train station, and we cabbed to her apartment. Crashed for a couple hours, and then spent the evening eating, watching some Dutch TV (“Australian Border Patrol” — love it!) and starting to plan what we’ll do (and where) while we’re in town. Unfortunately, U’s WiFi is down, and the netbook I borrowed from my boss doesn’t have an ethernet port, so my Internet access will be limited during the day. But I may cart the netbook around with me while we’re out and about, in case we step into a cafe/whatever with WiFi. Was hoping to upload some pics from today as well, but the USB ports on U’s computer don’t work correctly, so that’s a fail as well.

It’s been a rather frustrating day, obviously, but at least we made it here. Now I’m going to head offline to see if I can get someone on the phone to sort out our credit/debit-card situation. Here’s hoping for a smoother road for the rest of our stay!

3 Responses to “We’ve arrived!”

  1. Just remember the last thing I told you about travel… always anticipate several things going wrong (no matter how well-prepared and planned out things are), and you'll be alright. :)

  2. hey, you didn't lose your bags or each other so that's a plus. :-) Can't wait to see pictures.

  3. Indeed, Johanna! I guess I was spoiled by my 2002 adventures in the U.K. and Sweden, as everything went without a hitch.. And you're right, Jen, all in all, we shouldn't be complaining too much!!Despite a frustrating nearly two hours spent on the phone trying to get help from Chase last night (my cousin's two Internet-phone programs kept disconnecting, so we had to start over, and then the Chase folks couldn't get a grasp on our issues — one of them told my sister she should go to the Kenmore Chase tomorrow ["They open at 9 a.m."]!!). But thankfully, as I explained in the post I just wrote, I think the problem was specific to the machines at the train station (we were able to successfully get Euros from an ATM this afternoon). Hopefully I'll finally give my Visa credit card a try sometime in the next couple days.Still unable to upload any pics, unfortunately, but hopefully I'll be able to get on WiFi somewhere soon.

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