BootsnAll Travel Network

Josh’s European Adventure: Day 8 – London, England to Amsterdam, The Nederlands

I got up around 9AM just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything in my room or in the house.  Today Harriet and I were flying from London’s Gatwick Airport in the south of London via EasyJet.  So from Harriet’s place we took old reliable bus 91 to Kings Cross, then walked a long way with all my crap to St. Pancras International train station (where you can get the Eurostar from), and then got our tickets for the train to the airport.  The train was meant to leave at 1024AM and we got there with about 20 minutes to spare, plenty of time if you ask me.  Once we got down to the tracks we dumped our stuff down and waited, and once the train came we were lucky enough to get a set of 4 seats so I could make sure all my stuff was coming along for the journey as well.  Actually I chained my backpack to the place where luggage was supposed to go but since I had some much other crap, we needed a set of 4 seats.

When we got on the train I put my headphones on and listened to some music, and before I did I begged my pardon to Harriet in case she thought that was rude, which she didn’t.  For the first 20 minutes or more the train went really slow, but once we outside the main parts of the city and got into more of the countryside it picked up and before I knew it we were at the airport.  From the train station at the airport to the check-in counter was a little difficult.  Up stairs, elevators and down halls with all my crap, by the time I got to the check-in counter I plopped all my stuff down and quickly put the cover over my backpack as I did before every flight with my backpack to ensure the straps are not ripped off (which happens all too often).

Checking in was a little interesting as well.  When it was finally my turn to approach the check-in lady (and let me tell you EasyJet sure takes that damn sweet time checking people in), the lady told me to put my bag on the scale.  I was 5 kilos under, phew, so I decided to throw my heavy winter jacket in my bag as well which ended up weighing over 2 kilos, holy crap.  After though she asked me about my hand luggage.  Now EasyJet has a simply policy:  no weight limit for carry on hand luggage but it MUST fit in this metal box.  So she asks me about my hand luggage and I immediately say “it fit I tried before (which was a lie that she did not buy), and so smartly she responds “OK well show me.”  At that point I was thinking to myself, “oh boy,” because EasyJet also has another strict policy:  for every kilo over the weight limit you pay big bucks, especially for a second checked piece of luggage.  So I slowly turned and put my backpack into the metal box.  At first it didn’t go in but after another second it slipped right in “like a gloooooveeee,” and the lady then goes “sorry I have been corrected.”  Now she said that because she initially said to me that my backpack was too big to be a carry on and needed to be checked, which sparked the response from me “I already tried and it fit (that’s what she said, haha).  The funny part was that I couldn’t get the bag out of the open metal container, and after like 5 seconds of struggle I turn to her and go “the straps are caught,” and she smiles and says “don’t worry take your time,” which made me feel relieved considering that she could have been like “well your bag really doesn’t fit, blah blah,” but she didn’t and I was all good.

After Harriet checked in, it was time for security.  After I deposited all of my belongings in the box, when I went through the security thing beeped.  Now when I was younger I always tried to have it set off by hiding coins in my pocket but today it isn’t so cool.  So when it set off they asked me to dump everything out of my pockets, which I did and take a step forward.  From there I was given a pretty good pat down by some guy.  I mean he was feeling pretty firmly down my legs, across my back and chest, etc, normally you pay for that kind of service (see Bangkok Summer 2008), and after the pat down I got the wand.  I had to undue the buckle of my belt and apparently what set it off was my watch, necklace and belt.  Jesus the British are crazy with their security.

From security we went to get something to eat and eventually made our way to the departure gate (which by the way took forever to walk too, so as a heads up when it says leave 40 minutes from the check-in counter to departure gates they mean it).

The plane took off about 5 minutes late, but the flight was only supposed to take roughly 35 minutes.  Now when I took easy jet from Amsterdam to London back in 2004 I could have sworn it took like an hour and thirty minutes, but maybe the wind really helps going towards Amsterdam as opposed to the other way.  Since EasyJet was a first come first serve type seating like Southwest somehow I ended up pulling the first window seat on the whole plane.  Now normally I hate the window seats but when there is nothing in front of you, I don’t mind it at all.  Only drawback was that all of my stuff was about 5 rows back in the overhead since all the space above me was full.

Once we landed I had to wait until someone was nice enough to let me get my stuff, which eventually happened.  I got off the plane, walked down the steps on to the tarmac, got a quick photo and made my way into the airport in Amsterdam called Schippol.  I waited for Harriet to get off the plane and then we made our way to the baggage claim.  Now for those of your who have never been to the airport in Amsterdam, don’t know when I mean that you have to walk and I mean walk far to get to anything.  And getting to the baggage claim was no exception.  But naturally before getting luggage we made our friendly stop at customs.  I went through really quick which was different than the guy before me who clearly got ridiculed by the customs lady for whatever reason.  I got stamped and then went to the baggage claim and picked up a trolley along the way.

Our baggage came really quick and then it was time to exit arrivals and as soon as I pushed the door open I saw someone I recognized, it was Sarah and then I turn my head and see Linda and run up to them and give them both a big hug.  What a surprise!  Harriet and I would have never guessed that they would have come to meet us at the airport, it was so nice to see them both.

After taking the train to Amsterdam Central Station, we walked to the hostel (which is in the red light district, but seemed completely fine), checked in after being hassled by this old grizzly dude with no front teeth, dropped our stuff off in our room and then started to chat and catch up.  When I got down to the bar area I saw another friendly face, Carolina from Columbia who was doing an internship in Germany for the next few months.  After we chatted a while got some drinks we went out for dinner, then came back for some more drinks and then went to a bar for a nightcap.  All in all it was an extremely long day and it was good to finally get into bed, now if the damn Aussie kids would shut up maybe I could get some sleep.


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