An hour is not enough time in Amsterdam

Well, I am back from my travels to the land of clogs and windmills. All I can say is British Airways are better than I thought and high streets are being cloned all over the world.

Yesterday the alarm went off at 5.45am, much the PM's disgust. I had already moved everything I needed into the living room so I could get ready without making too much noise. However I hadn't factored in the fact that it is dark at that time in the morning and so things were knocked over and I stumbled around a fair bit. But I managed to get ready and make myself look half respectable (smart black jeans, new shirt I bought last week and the nice and comfortable cowboy boots), I put my hair up and left for the station, wearily walking in the half light of early morning.

My timing was impeccable as I walked onto the station platform and the train arrived. Not bad going. The train to East Croydon was relatively quick and I only had to wait 10 minutes before my connection to Gatwick. That was a fast train so I was at Gatwick at twenty past 7.

Myself and my work colleagues tried to book in using the self service check in posts as we didn't have any luggage but it didn't work. We then asked someone where we needed to go and they directed us to a big queue which was worrying as we only had 10 minutes left to check in. After queuing for 5 minutes, we asked a guy who was standing around directing people if there was somewhere we could check in quicker. He said we were in the wrong queue and that we could go to customer services to check in. Slightly annoying.

We went through security and had the usual frisking. Claire was a little disappointed at having to give up her lip gloss as you are not allowed to take gels and bottle through although you can buy them on the other side. We had breakfast in Lloyds (they do a mean bacon bagette). By this point I had managed to break the cheap plastic cuff links on my shirt and continued breaking them all day.

The flight was short lived - 40 minutes in total. Nice comfy seats although the continental breakfast did not look that appetising. I just had a cup of tea. We touched down at Schipol Airport and then had a 15 minute, yes 15 MINUTE, taxi to the terminal. Driving around in a plane is odd. Going across the motoway on a road with no barriers was incredible surreal (although I later concluded that it wouldn't really matter if there were barriers as I doubt they would stop a plane veering off onto the motorway!).

It was a quick journey into Amsterdam. I love the fact that there are so many bikes everywhere. We managed to negotiate the trams and arrived at the hotel where the meeting was taking place. We had lunch, talked business and a few other things with our Dutch colleague. Stuart had to go to another meeting so me and Claire wandered back to Amsterdam Central station via the shops. I was looking forward to looking into the Dutch shops but all the shops we walked past were no different to a high street in the UK. H&M, Body Shop, Foot Locker, River Island, etc, etc.

We had already checked in at Gatwick so we didn't have to worry about checking in at Schipol. We did some shopping in the terminal and grabbed a drink before boarding the plane. I had to down a magners as the plane wasn't there when we looked so we went back to the pub. When I went through security the alarms went mad (forgot about the metal clips in my hair). I was frisked even more than when I went through at Gatwick and they made me take my boots off any put them on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed.

On the plane I was almost knocked out by the bloke sitting next to me who didn't think I was sorting my bag out to put it in the overhead locker as I was bent over the seat putting my passport away. He put his bag in the space where mine would fit and then I couldn't get mine in. He then moved it and said he had made room like he was doing me a favour. Cheeky git.

They gave us free wine on the way back which was great. The angry little man got offended when Claire asked if he was an accountant too. He really wasn't a happy chappy. We got off the plane at 6.20pm and I was home within an hour. PM had cooked me dinner (pork in black bean sauce), he also sorted the broadband out and then I went to bed watching CSI. All in all an eventful day.

I want to go back sometime next year for a long weekend with the Pocket Monster so I can do some of the more touristy things. Go to the museums, check out the coffee shops and have some fun. If anyone else fancies going, let me know!!

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