Hello and welcome to my 9th trip report. This time I'll be covering my most recent trip to Holland. Where I visited a friend of mine, who also happened to be a well known trip reporter on this forum
After a rather unsuccessful trip to Copenhagen, that I did all by myself, I didn't feel like taking my next trip to Berlin, that I was booked on 10 days later. I decided to cancel my flights on Ryanair (which by the way only cost me €10), and my hotel booking that wasn't even paid for.
Instead I decided to go to Amsterdam to visit my friend Eric (also known here as Airbuseric
), during my next school break in October. Since the accommodation turned out to be a little issue I decided that it was best to to take in on a hotel in Amsterdam, and since I was on a limited budget, I asked my friend Farid to come with me (and he gladly did), so at least we could split on the hotel cost.
There aren't many airlines flying to Amsterdam from Stockholm, only KLM and SAS. And since I would never ever consider flying SAS on intra Europe flights, KLM was the obvious choice.
The flight on KLM cost €120 r/t, which was their lowest fare, but sadly there were only late afternoon flights available on the outbound leg, at this fare, so I decided to stick with that. The return flight was an evening flight.
When it came to finding a hotel, things got a bit more difficult for me, since all hotels in my budget were only 1-star budget hotels, located near motorways, or shabby hostels in the city centre. But as I was about to give up hope in searching for a hotel, I found a 4-star designer's hotel, located 4,5 kilometers (3 miles) from the city centre, for only €59 per night/room. It was a bargain, so I booked it in a split second.
The total cost for the trip, with flights and 3 hotel nights was €210 per person. Which was €130 cheaper than if I would have booked in through a travel arranger (they would have offered a 2-star hotel, 2 nights and flights on SAS. During school season, and not holiday).
Since I normally don't like to take the bus from my home outside Vasteras to Arlanda, I decided to go there by train. And lyckily they were operating the X2000 high speed train on Saturdays, so I booked myself a First Class ticket including breakfast for €16, which was also a bargain
It was Saturday, October 24th 2009. After two months of intensive studying it was finally time for some well needed rest.
I woke up at 7am to catch my 8.14 connecting train to Sala, from where I would take the X2000 to Arlanda. I decided to be at the train station at 8.00, just to make sure on being there in good time. But as the clock turned 8.15, my train still hadn't showed up, and two minutes later it was announced that the train would depart at 8.22 instead. The time for my connection would only be two minutes. A couple of minutes later at 8.30, the train still didn't show up, and a further delay was announced, this time to 8.35.
By now, It would be impossible for me to make it to my X2000 connection, and I was getting really furious. Since I was really looking forward to it, and since I wanted to try their new Breakfast offerings in First Class.
After a while, the train still hadn't showed up, and a new time was announced to 8.55, and then 9.10, then 9.15, untilö the train finally showed up at 9.26, more than one hour late. And the train's final destination was Vasteras, not Sala as it was supposed to be.
As I took a seat for the 9 minute ride to Vasteras, I was cold, furious, and I wanted to speak to the train conductour. But she didn't show up... When I disembarked in Vasteras, I found the conductour on the platform, so I asked her where I should seek for help.
For a second she looked at me, blew cigarette smoke in my face and told me to go inside to the ticket sales counter. And she said it in a very rude way... I was on the edge of bursting out in anger, but I took a deep breath, and went inside to the ticket sales.
As I went to the ticket sales counter, I explained to the agent about the dealy and if the could re-book me on the next train. Since I had missed the breakfast onboard the X2000, I asked her if she could give me a meal voucher.
She booked me on to the next inter-city train to Arlanda, and that I would have to take the same connecting train to Sala. This was quite a disapointment since I don't like the F class on the Inter-City, and neither did she want to compensate me for the missed breakfast, because it was included in the X2000 F-ticket price.
As my train to Arlanda would depart in one hour, I decided to get some over priced breakfast from a nearby café. As I finished my breakfast I went out on the platform my train was departing from, only to find out that it was 45 minutes late, so I went back to the ticket sales and literally yelled at the agent that I would now risk missing my flight to Amsterdam, because of this. So the only option left for me now was to get a refund on my train ticket, and take the bus instead.
My bus was scheduled to depart at 11.30 from Vasteras, and since my friend Farid had also missed his train to Stockholm, where he would have been driven by his dad to ARN
we took the bus together.
We arrived to Arlanda at 13.00, two hours pripr to our 15.00 flight to Amsterdam. We had checkad in online the day before, so dropping of luggage and clear security would be done in a quick and efficent manner... But we were completely wrong. Instead we found a line stretching through the entire departures hall at Arlanda, and appearently the line was from the Air France - KLM counters. So it took us more than one hour to get our bags checked in, BP
's printed, and my camera tripod dropped off at the special luggage counter.
The security check was also a disaster, in fact more than the check-in. The line to the security stretched all the way to Sky City, and it took us more than 20 minutes to clear security. Lyckily we passed it with no hazzle.
General Flight info
Flight: KL1114 Stockholm Arlanda (ARN
) to Amsterdam Schipol (AMS
Date: October 24th 2009
Duration. 2h 5m
Aircraft & Reg: B737-800 PH
-BXB (changed from B737-700)
Seat & Class: 21F Economy Class
We made it into the gates area at 14.20, which was about 10 minutes before boarding, so Farid and I decided to do some last minute shopping.
View of the airside at ARN, with all the shops, etc
Today's flight was operated by a B737-800
The flight today was originally supposed to be operated by a B73G, but it was then changed to a B738, then B734 and finnaly to a B738. Eric told me the day before that KLM is a flexible airline, that change the aircraft type depending on the demand, and a change can be done in the last minute.
Still It I was pretty lycky to get the 738 instead of the 734, since I've had some bad experiences on KLM's 734's in the past.
The newly re-furnished gate "lounge" at Arlanda
The boarding of today's flight started at 14.32, and considering how congested the gate lounge was, the load was nearly 100%. This was in fact announced only a minute after the boarding had started.
Farid and I decided to wait until everyone had boarded. First Business Class pax and Flying Blue-Elite members were allowed to board, followed by families with children, and finally the rest of all Y pax. Though no one seemed to care, and everyone boarded at the same time.
Walking down the jetway
As we made our way to the aircraft, there was still a line at the door, and when we boarded we were greeted by a very friendly purser. As we were still standing at the entrance of the aircraft, I had a little chat with the purser, when he noticed the camera around my neck. I offered to take him a picture, but he claimed that he never look good on pics.
As we walked down to our seats in row 21, we found the row empty, and hoped for the middle seat to remain empty since we had booked seats 21D and 21F. Unfortunatley our luck was short lived, soon a man in his fourties, wearing a suit and he was more than 2 meters tall showed up. We asked him if it was ok for Farid to take the middle seat, next to me i.e, and give the man the ailse seat. The man was more than happy with it
View of the Recaro slimline seat (pic taken upon arrival in AMS)
The legroom was rather OK, and I was able to stretch out my legs, but still it felt a bit cramped
Soon it was time to push back, and the aircraft left the gate at 15.03
The aircraft taxied to ARN
Runway two, it was a 10 minute taxi. And the takeoff was long and it felt quite heavy, mainly due to the 100% load factor.
The aircraft the climbed quickly, and we went through a thick layer of clouds, around 15s after the wheels leaving the ground.
Here are some pics from the take off and climbout. My window was a bit dirty, so the quality of the pics may not be good.
Take off roll begins
Bye bye Sweden!
Going through a thick layer of clouds
Soon after breaking through the cloud layer, the seat belt sign was turned off, and shortly afterwards the flight attendants sprung into action.
My IFE consisted of my cheap iPhone ripoff phone (which works great for me) and my pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 3, noise cancelling head phones. They came in very handy today
The in-flight magazine and safety card
After around 20 minutes we reached cruising altitude
Soon the flight attendants began the snack service, and it took us quite some time to get served.
The snack today consisted of a Dutch triangle sandwich called Trattoria. There were two kinds, one consisting of rye bread with cheese, and the other one consisted of wheat bread with some sort of lamb and mayonaise.
Afterwards a Dutch cookie, along with coffee or tea was served, a nice touch in my opinion.
The Trattoria sandwiches, along with a nice bottle of white wine, and some coke
Followed by a bland cup of tea, and a cookie
The sandwiches tasted good, but they didn't fill me up very well, since I didn't have a proper breakfast or lunch. Or maybe because they're just a snack. The wine tasted very well, and the coke was perfectly chilled. The only bad thing was that they didn't give the whole can.
The cookie was a nice little touch, they tasted very good. I decided to take two of them, and I was lucky enough to find another one in my camera bag, as it must have slipped off the table and into the bag
After the snack, I listened to some music on my phone, before heading to the lavatory to take my customary pic.
The lavatory was nothing special this time either
As I was making my way out of the lav, I decided to hang around in the galley for a while, chatting with the crew, they were very friendly. Before going back to my seat, I asked for a tonic, and they gave me the whole can this time
The rest of the flight went by pretty uneventful
Soon we began our descend into Amsterdam Schipol
During the descend I fell asleep, and woke up around 5 minutes before touch down.
Some condensation starting to form on the wing as we are on the final.
The touch down was very smooth
The taxi to the terminal took around 10 minutes, and we takied by this JAL 77W (I think).
Dedicated to Airbuseric, of course
Soon we parked at the gate, right on time. Me and Farid decided to wait until everybody was off the aircraft. So we left as the last two pax.
Cabin while de-boarding
View of the terminal as we made our way to the luggage reclaim
As we arrived at the luggage reclaim, we found our bags already coming out on the belt, now that's some good timing.
When we came out to the arrivals hall, we were greeted by Eric and his partner. And shortly afterwards we went to the observations deck, before taking the bus to our hotel.
View from the observations deck
The bus ride to the hotel wasn't very comfortable, but at least we made it there in good time to check in.
Considering the low price we payed for our hotel stay, we feared that it wouldn't be as nice as on the pics. But we were proven to be wrong... It was much nicer than we had expected.
Here are some pics of the hotel
Exterior of the Dutch Design Hotel Artemis Amsterdam
View from the hotel lobby
The check in went smoothly, and as me and Farid were putting in our stuff, and checking out the room. Eric and his partner went for a coffee in the bar.
Here are some pics of the room
Despite the beds being two single beds, they were big enough for two. And by judging the pic, they were comfy as well
The bathroom was surprisingly clean, spotless in fact!
Soon, it was time for us to leave the room, and to go down to the lobby where Eric and his partner were waiting. Afterwards we took the tram to the central parts of Amsterdam, where we had dinner, a short visit to the red-light district, and then some drinks, before heading back to the hotel, where we slept good for about ten hours.
We woke up at 8.00 the following morning, after a good night's sleep. This was followed by a nice and refreshing shower before heading down to the lobby, where Eric would pick us up. Since breakfast wasn't included in our room rate, and we hadn't had any time to get something from a grocery shop, Eric invited us over for breakfast at his house, outside Amsterdam.
The plans for today was to visit the cities of Rotterdam, and Den Haag. So after our traditional Dutch breakfast, we took the car to the train station, from where we catched a Sprinter train, to a town that I can't remember the name of, before taking the Inter-City train to Rotterdam.
The newest generation of Inter-City train
View of the First Class cabin
But we were seated in Second Class, and Farid didn't seem to happy about that
Soon we arrived in the city of Rotterdam, which is the largest city in Holland.
Here are some pics from the city.
The skyscapers of Rotterdam...
Food from the wall, yaay! This was one of the main resaons to visit Holland
Frankly, my choice, the Gulash roll turned out to be quite disgusting...
Soon we took the metro to the harbour.
Farid inside the Metro...
Hotel New York. A five star hotel near the ferry terminal.
The city had some very nice architecture, and there would be more to come!
And the city also had its own walk of fame. That's Jackie Chan by the way
I don't remember the name of this place, sorry...
And of course some people have to catch up with the pace
The rather famous Cubic houses
After a couple of hours of sightseeing it was time for lunch. So Eric suggested that we should try something typhically Dutch... French fries with mayonaise and curry. Plus we could also feed the birds with our leftovers
After our lunch we took a walk through the shopping district, and then we had a nice cup of coffee on the roof terrace of a warehouse. After that we began our walk back to the train station, where we would catch the Inter-City to Den Haag.
A nice view from the roof terrace.
The Bank District seen from a polarizer's point of view.
Cabin view of the Inter-City's main deck
Soon we arrived to the city of Den Haag, which is the "real" capital of Holland, as it was getting dark, we didn't have much time to see the city. But here are some pics from the city.
A seagull who enjoyed being in the center of all attention.
[img]The sun starting the set.[/img]
We passed this mall on our way to the train station
Soon we arrived at the train station, and we were all very tired, so we took the Inter-City and the Sprinter train back home to Eric's house.
We spent the rest of the evening at Eric's house, having dinner. His partner cooked us the best Nasi Goreng we've (me and Farid) ever had. It was in fact the best meal of the entire trip to Holland
At 23.00 Eric dropped us off at the hotel, thanking him for such a good day. And as soon as we made it up to our room, we passed out on our beds, and slept like children, the whole night
We woke up at 9.00 after another good night's sleep, followed by an ice cold shower, and a rather decadent breakfast consisting of decaffinated coffee, oreo's and raisin bread, which tasted more like a raisin sponge cake. I was not feeling very well after having eaten so much sugar that morning.
At 10.00 Eric and his partner picked us up at out hotel. Today's plans were to visit the windmills and the fisherman's village.
During the 30 minute long ride to the windmills, I was feeling a bit sick from consuming that big amound of sugar earlier that morning, and to make things worse, when we arrived we parked next to a chocolate factory. Luckily, by the time we had reached the windmills I started to feel a bit better.
Me and Farid, posing at the "entrance", as you might see I'm not a big fan of being on pics, but I guess Eric insisted.
Here are some pics from the Windmills...
Could it be anymore Dutch than this?
The Cheese Factory
Dutch cookies, the same as we had on the plane, only that this is the real deal!
It was also possible to taste the cheese, to I did that. In fact I tried all kinds of cheese on offer, though the staff didn't seem too happy about it.
This is where all the Clogs are made, and sold
And what can I say... They weren't as uncomfortable as I had thought they would be.
After the windmills, we went to the fisherman's village, where we had some lunch.
After our visit to the Fisherman's village, we went back to Amsterdam. But since the parking fees in the city were too high, Eric decided to park the car at Schipol, so that we would then take the train to Amsterdam. And while Eric was parking the car, Farid and I, along with Eric's partner went to Starbucks to get some coffee.
Me and Farid decided to go for a Mocca Frappuchino
Soon Eric returned, and we all went down to the train station to take the train to Amsterdam Centraal.
And of course a some trainspotting. The ICE leaving for Frankfurt Hbf.
Soon we walked to the central parts of Amsterdam, and this time we got some better opportunities to explore the city. Here are some pics from Amsterdam.
The flower market
One of the many canals...
Let this picture speak for itself
By judging the sign, I guess this is one of those shops where you can buy some "mushrooms".
A tram in action. Pic taken by Eric.
We also visited the Heineken shop... or was it a museum?
World's largest refrigerator?
We spend the rest of the evening in Amsterdam, having a rather decadent dinner at Burger King, and going to bars... Before taking the tram back to the hotel.
Today was our last day in Amsterdam, and it was also our only day to explore the city on our own, since Eric and his partner had some things to do. This was no problem for me and Farid, since we had been given suggestions on what to do that day.
This morning I woke up at 9.30, after a not so good night's sleep, caused by having a bit too many drinks the night before. Anyway, this was followed by shower, and an even more decadent breakfast than the day before. It consisted of cup noodles and our last packs of Oreo's, with some instant coffee/tea, yuck!
Our decadent hotel breakfast... We really didn't feel like paying €20 for the breakfast buffet.
Soon it was time for us to say goodbye to our room, and went down to the lobby to check out. Since we had some trouble with the computerized minibar the night before, it took a while to explain for them that we didn't use anything, and luckily we weren't charged this time. Since we were planning on going out in the city for a while before leaving for Schipol, we left our luggage in the luggage deposit, before taking the tram to Amsterdam.
Today turned out to be the best day when it came to the weather.
Shortly after taking this picture, I accidentaly dropped my polarizer on the tarmac. Lyckily it didn't break, but it got quite damaged, since it is now a bit more difficult to rotate it.
A beautiful last day in Amsterdam
[img]There were millions of bikes in this city, and we were almost hit by them several times.[/img]
The night before, Eric gave me a discount ticket for the boat tour around Amsterdam. Farid, who didn't want to take the tour decided to come with me in the last minute, though he didn't enjoy it...
Here are some pics from the boat tour.
Boarding the boat.
Interior of the Boat.
The Amsterdam harbour, I think...
Going through the canals of Amsterdam.
And decided to use the GPS on my phone, which was a bad idea, since it ended up costing me €5, for only using it less than two minutes.
Does anyone know the name of this church?
Soon the boat tour was over, after only one hour. Farid on the other hand who had slept for the entire tour was more than happy to get off the boat.
As the boat returned to Amsterdam Centraal, Farid and I decided to have some lunch, and since we were both very hungry we went to the first fast food joint we could fint. Which turned out to be some sort of turkish kebab resturant. We ended up ordering some sort of turkish pizza roll, which turned out to be a bad choice. The roll was made by an intern who didn't know what he was doing, so he skipped the kebab, filled the roll woth red cabbage and soaking it down in too much of that hot sauce. In the beginning we liked it, but after a while it started to taste really bad, so we didn't finish our lunch. After a while we started to feel a bit sick from all the hot sauce. Thankfully we didn't feel sick too long. So we got ourselves some food of the wall.
Since we still had a couple of hours left in the city, we decided to buy some souvenires, before taking the tram to our hotel to pick up our luggage. And the head for Schipol.
Bye bye Amsterdam!
After having picked up our luggage from the hotel, we took the bus to the Airport.
We arrived at Schipol 3 hours before our flight was scheduled to leave.
Since Eric had already checked us in online the night before, we only had to drop off our luggage at one of the counters.
The check in area.
After we had dropped off our luggage, Eric came to meet us at the terminal, and we headed for Starbucks to get some more Mocca Frappuchino's.
Farid didn't like his Frappuchino, and he liked the one we had the day before, much better.
We sat at Starbucks until it was 19.20, then we realized that we had to hurry up to make it to the gate in time, since our flight was departing from gate D73. We said goodbye to Eric, and rushed to the security check. This time, the security was a breeze, and we made it through in less than 5 minutes. On our way to the gate we stopped by a tax-free shop to spend our last €, so we ended up buying us each one perfume for the reasonable price of €25.
General Flight Info
Flight: KL1121 Amsterdam Schipol (AMS
) to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN
Date: October 27th 2009
Duration. 2h 0m
Aircraft & Reg: B737-800 PH
(changed from a B739)
Seat & Class: 04A Economy Class
As we made it to the gate, there was still some time before the aircraft would board. In fact the flight crew hadn't even arrived yet.
Soon it was time for boarding, and just like on the outbound flight, Farid and I decided to board last. The load on today's flight was around 65%.
As always, the boarding was a bit of a mess, with all passengers boarding at the same time.
The aircraft today was PH-BGZ, one of the newer B738's in the KLM fleet
Walking down the crowded jetway...
As I entered the aircraft I was greeted by the captain, and when he saw the camera hanging around my neck, he invited me in to the cockpit, which I gladly accepted. As I entered the cockpit, Faird made his way to our seats, 04A and 04B.
The flight deck of the B737-800
The seats were exactly the same as on the outbound flights, but the since we were seated right behind Business Class, the legroom was a bit better this time.
My seat for this flight
The legroom was great this time!
Soon we began our pushback, and it was right on time!
Soon we began our take off. It was a bit more powerful this time, due to the lighter load.
The climbout was also quite spectacular as I was able to see the whole city of Amsterdam by night.
Soon the seatbelt sign was turned off, and the flight attendants began serving sandwiches. And since we were at the first row of Y, we were served first.
The snack consisted of two rectangular Trattoria sandwiches, one with fig chutney and Gouda cheese, the other was lamb and mayonaise. It was then followed by coffee/tea and a cookie.
I decided to have another bottle of their white wine, and a some tonic this time. Followed by some more wine, red this time.
The sandwich and wine
As Farid and I were in mood of having some more wine, we decided to order some more red wine. But they didn't have it in the front galley, to the purser told us that they would come with it soon. It took them a while, but when they came around with the coffee/tea and cookies, we were served the wine we ordered ten minutes earlier, instead of the tea, which was a bit bad actually.
Me and Farid had a bit too much wine during that flight, we drank three bottles each, so we were a little bit drunk when we got off the plane.. But it wasn't so bad.
Soon we began our descend into Arlanda, and during the descend we overlfew my hometown Vasteras. The touch down at ARN
was smooth, and just like on the outbound flight, we decided to wait until everyone was off the plane.
As we disembarked, we thanked the captain for a good flight and made our way up the jetway.
It's always a bit sad to walk up the jetway a ARN knowing that all the fun is over by now
When we arrived at the luggage reclaim, our bags showed up in perfect timing, this time again. Since there are no busses to Vasteras this late, we decided to spend the night at Farid's Dad's house. So we were picked up by Farid's uncle, since his Dad was still working.
When we arrived at their house, I passed out on Farid's bed and slept like a child until I the early afternoon.
And that will mark the end of this trip
The in-flight experience on KLM was exactly the same as last time I flew with them, back in 2002. It's good compared to Lufthansa, but in my opinion Air France is much better when it comes to the meal offerings and drinks selections.
The crew were very friendly and acted professional, and they did all the tasks they were given.
Last of all I would like to thank Eric, aka Airbuseric
for his kindness and hospitality, without him this trip wouldn't have been possible
[Edited 2009-10-30 19:00:23]