I’m afraid I was very dull at Amsterdam, and checked in to the nearest hotel, in this case the Sheraton. I considered getting a train into town to find one there, but I didn’t know how the trains worked, and I had all my bags with me, so the Airport Sheraton it was. Very nice too – best of all it meant I could dump my bags in my room, and decide what to do unfettered. In any case, there is something very civilized about getting up, packing a few bits and pieces, and then strolling down the corridor to check-in for a flight. An 11am flight amounts to being a lie-in under these conditions – I think I got up at 8.30 or something!

Anyway, getting ahead of myself. I had to change some of my US money into Euro (I hadn’t planned a stop in Europe), then jumped on the train to Amsterdam central, stopping only to buy a little pocket-map.

I was very tempted to get the train to Rotterdam instead, but I didn’t have a clue how long the journey was or what the trains were like – and was nervous about getting stranded a long way from my flight again, so plumped for Amsterdam central. Only about 20 minutes on the train, so no worries.

I wasn’t actually very taken with Amsterdam. It was a miserable day, and I wasn’t there under the best of circumstances, but it was all really busy and really seedy. Perhaps just a reflection of where I was wandering – but it seemed to me the shops were all either sex shops – sorry ‘souvenir shops’ – or drug shops – sorry ‘cafe’s. In some cases both at the same time. To be fair I noticed only a couple of real sex shops, but the souvenir shops sell what I would classify as hard-core pornography alongside the clogs and fridge magnets. I suspect it’s a much nicer place to visit in the spring or summer, but in winter I couldn’t say it had much going for it…

I found a reasonable looking restaurant for lunch, but it was full of Americans. Nothing against our trans-Altantic cousins, just you can’t help but be aware of them if they’re nearby, especially in a food establishment. The waitress also got my order wrong (although what arrived was quite nice), so I pretty much gave up and went back to my room to watch a flick. (POTC: Dead Man’s Chest, in case you’re wondering), and get pizza on room service. Hey, I told you I was dull!

Actually I did a couple of hours work in the hotel room, and had a Skype home too, and a good soak in the tub. The life of an international jet setter, eh? 🙂

Nice slow start in the morning, 5 minutes stroll to check-in, then an hour or so to grab breakfast at the airport and do some e-mails and some gift shopping – then off to gate H2 (or whatever it was) for the long haul over to JFK international airport….