As agreed upon, we slept in to take the later flight back to Amsterdam. My body had other plans. It was up ready to go by 7 per usual. I did my best to stay quiet and let Alex sleep. By 8am, I realized this muddy be what my dog feels like when she wakes up at 5:30 or 6 and I don't get out of bed until 6:40. I lost my patience at 8 so got up to get ready and pack for the day. Of course that woke Alex up, so we for to go down for breakfast earlier than planned. Part of the reason that I was okay pushing back the flight was my excitement to eat breakfast at the hotel again. There were some options that I was not hungry enough to try last time so I did a little happy dance inside at the idea of enjoying them this morning. We ate on the back patio again. While eating I observed that the section of the hotel where the elevator was housed is actually an addition to the building. Interesting to see the difference of keeping up old buildings and architecture while modernizing the city. Meanwhile
a still awaking Alex mused more on the lack of air conditioning so requiring an open window to keep cool at night which probably requires some time to grow accustomed to the sound and light that then filters in. During this time of summer, Denmark only receives about 6 hours of darkness. The sun greets the day at 4:30 and doesn't dissipate until 10:30. For a person who needs more than 6 hours, like Alex, that is less than ideal sleeping conditions.
After our morning start, we took the metro back to the airport to check in for our flight to Amsterdam. Of course, like American, KLM repressed the ability to check in without seeing an agent first due to the Covid requirements enforced by different countries. This meant we were welcomed by a very long line. Alex's eyes about jumped out of his head. Used to it from my own experience helping American Airlines work through this challenge, I settled him in line to wait while I went to collect some local snacks to bring back to my team. This included the ever popular Nordic treat - salty black licorice. When Reimerh had Alex taste it on the
Tivoli visit, his facial expression was priceless. Apparently that is a pretty common reaction from our very sweets based food tolerance Americans. I like to think I controlled my reaction a bit better, though I'm sure I did not. Returning to line Alex haff moved about 3 feet in the 20 minutes I was away. This set us up for failure to make the flight on time. The fact that they held the plane for connecting passengers last times around made me hopefully they would do the same this time. As the lines for flights around us dwindled, a surprise to us was the support from other airline agents. Soon the queue was moving much more quickly as passengers were pulled for checkin by Air France and Cathay agents. Youth would not likely see that same support back home. My guess was either the same vender supported all those airlines so could access the system to support despite the uniform differences or roles in Denmark were a bit different around air travel companies. I didn't question it too much, just enjoyed the fact we made our through away a much quicker pace now.
If only that was the last
line we had to wait in. Next came security where Alex and I experienced what it was like to not have TSA precheck for the first time in years. I was impressed by the advanced technology at this airport though. Instead of an agent checking your passport and boarding pass, you scanned your active boarding pass at self service gates not much different than a ticket to the subway. Then the lines were managed by automatic gates expanding and collapsing the queue. At the end of the queue, a screen paused and distributed passengers from the line into each scanning machine queue. My guess is there were sensors to tell queue length, but it could have been manually run by a controller though I didn't observe one. Similarly the scanning machines had automated tray dispensers with lighter indicators on open ones keeping that line moving. The trip was less painful than back home especially not having a precheck option. I was itching to take pictures to being back to work, but didn't want to risk getting detained in a foreign country. I shouldn't have sweated as I did about getting to the gate and on the plane, because the inbound
flight had just stated deplaning as we arrived at the gate. After collecting our seats from the agent there was time to cool down and use the restroom. Since the tap water in Denmark is clean enough to drink (add the kind note in our hotel bathroom informed us of), there weren't any water fountains in the airport, but the nation's had a 'cold water' faucet labeled to allow people to fill a water bottle. Luckily I had brought one with us.
A quick uneventful flight with another tasty sandwich brought us back to AMS. Our walk out of the airport and to the trains was significantly shorter than our last adventure in that airport. It was easy to find the ticket machines for the train, not stop easy to pay for said tickets. I went through 3 different cards trying to pay before giving up and going to the person at the counter up pay. At least I took advantage of that and had her prepare our return tickets for the next day as well. We're also locked our that our train was scheduled at the closest platform and pulling up just as we walked down. A short
20 minutes later, we spilled out with the others on our train to Amsterdam Central station.
Before leaving this weekend, the weather outlook for both countries was rainy. We lucked out in Denmark by being able to duck into the Churro and ice cream shop to avoid it, but it caught up to us here. Despite not seeing a drop on the train ride in, as soon as we stepped foot out of the station, it began to pour. I threw on my rain jacket and we set off for the hotel. Amsterdam central entrance is under construction so it was a bit further than planned but not too bad so our backpacks protected our items well enough. For some unknown reason, the hotel upgraded us so our room was slightly bigger and gave us a view of the canal. Fun introduction to Holland!
After a brief reprieve to dry off, Alex and I set out for local cuisine. I found us an empty pub (no surprise at 2pm on a Monday) for some hot sandwiches and soup. Of course we had to pair it with some local beers too. Our table gave Alex a great view of
a canal so our trend of people watching began. Filled with warm food on a chilly cloudy day, we hit the streets to find the one thing I asked we do while here - eat poffertjies. They are tiny fluffy Dutch pancakes that I was able to eat only at the yearly tulip celebration the town I attended elementary school celebrated. If you ever want a taste of what traditional Netherlands is like, visit Pella, Iowa for their Tulip Time festival. You get to see what downtown Amsterdam looks like, view traditional clothing and food, enjoy many tulips, and see traditional shows. I am more informed about Dutch heritage than I am my own German or Norwegian roots. I did have fun sharing all that knowledge worth Alex in our afternoon in Amsterdam though. I shouldn't have worried, the streets had crepe/ pancake shops every 20 feet. I found one with good reviews online to try. I collected my plate of poffertjies while Alex enjoyed a Belgian waffle. While I wanted to stick to just my powdered sugar of my memories, the Dutch syrup was enticing especially since I enjoy Stroopwaffle snacks so much, so we did a small sampling
of the 2 kinds they had on the table. Tasty but I finished my last one pure with only powdered sugar.
By now we were very full so decided to walk around and explore a bit. I did very little research for what to do here, but what I did find was mostly closed on Mondays. Instead we took to the streets to see the sights and people watch. With the large range of tourists throughout the city it was quite interesting to see that all in one place. While exploring were happened upon a square with an elaborate obelisk, a flower seed / bulb vender, the red light district, Chinatown, a large shopping area, and many canals. Eventual the toll from the day before caught up with Alex's feet, so we went back to the hotel to rest. It was perfect timing for him top join a work call that they wanted his support on. I played games while he did that. When he finished up, we didn't want to waste our short time here, so set out again to explore.
This time I pointed out the NEMO science museum I would have dragged him to had it been open plus the Maritime museum. This walk led us back down a street we had been before to a bubble tea shop that was packed earlier in the day. Not one to pass up the fun drink, we stopped for one. Then all the Chinatown signs called to Alex who was hoping the good would be more traditional than in the US. We enjoyed sharing some dim sum and a fried rice fish with duck and pork. It seemed to have met Alex's expectations. Full and hitting 20k steps for the day, we called it a night so we could pack and clean up for a long flight and day home tomorrow.
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