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Thursday, June 18, 2015

" 5 Hours in AMSTERDAM - The Layover " { What to see in Amsterdam } , { Traveling to Amsterdam }



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Ah!...
Amsterdam, the hip and bustling city famous for its artsy Van Gogh and Vermeer paintings,
the scenic Windmill, the loud night clubs and of course, the holy Cannabis.

But we always end up at Schiphol airport and have just enough time to catch a connecting flight back home to Manila.
And really, after a few KLM's to and fro, the Schiphol is beginning to sound too repetitive and inane.

[ Fact: like clockwork, every December, the Sale items that were on display on their duty free shops are ALWAYS the same!! ]
so don't be fooled by their 3 for 10 euros fridge magnets or 3 euros mint candies, they Sell those all year round. ^0^

Anyway, I'm getting off topic again.
We finally got a 5 hour layover last 2013, * sorry for the long overdue *
and that was right before new year's eve, so what a great way to see Amsterdam right?
can we make it in 5 hours? what can you anticipate in such a short time? was it worth it?

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When we knew we had a longer *5 hour* wait for our Connecting flight from Amsterdam to Manila.

We made sure we had to:
1. get out of Schiphol Airport this time, by hook or by crook.
2. take the Inter City Yellow train to Centraal Station.
3. and the least we could, take in a bit of this city even for just a few hours.

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THE CENTRAAL STATION - Stunner!

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The minute we had our passports stamped by the immigration officers, we can't wait to buy train tickets to the city.
It took as quite awhile, most of the machines only accept credit cards with a chip card, and while some machines do
accept cash, they were out-of-order. :(

I think the most efficient way for a first time traveler is to always find the Information Centre.
They can book you return tickets but with an added extra fee. I think it was 50 cent euro or 1 euro plus.
We don't mind though, we're in a hurry...
03a

Remember that you have to Validate your tickets before boarding.
But I doubt any random officer would come and check your tickets especially in a crowded station.

03b

Understanding the screen was a challenge,
we're not used to looking at train schedules and
It took us awhile to comprehend where we're headed. *ignorance isn't bliss*

You have to look for the word AMSTERDAM CENTRAAL - which is usually the INTERCITY yellow train.
The word SPOOR - means Platform Number, you have to alight at the Correct platform, otherwise, you won't be able to catch the train.

But It is best to ask the roving officer near the platform and around the area,
they'll be glad to help but don't expect them to be friendly.

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Most of the ticket machines don't accept cash, only credit cards with chip cards. *noted*
03c

The Yellow Inter city trains -
Remember : to ask before you alight the train, the boarding screens are confusing.
We asked a travelling Indian couple if this train leaves to Centraal, the girl said: "Yes."
So, we were complacent for a few seconds until she asked her husband and he said: "No, this isn't a direct train. You need to take train #2"
We quickly got out just as the train doors were about to close! .

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When the second train arrived, we sure we got it right.
But by then, we wasted an hour of precious time already.

The seats inside were comfy and spacious.
05a

Bikes are allowed inside the train. * cool *
05b

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The ride from Schiphol to Centraal took 30 mintues more or less.
During winter, as the days got shorter, we arrived in a city that was sort of in a gloomy state, not sunny, almost grey skies
and then, it drizzled and it suddenly got very windy...
Great timing as always!

So, I hope you don't mind me bombarding you with photos and more photos... here they are:

08k

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We only got this far, this main monument, which I don't remember the name,
I think this is an important lion sculpture, right in the busy intersection.
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Even the bikes couldn't take it anymore... the wind I mean...
08a

DE BJENKORF * POSh high-end store * - no time to window shop even...
08b

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You think this picture was taken during 7-ish in the evening?
Nope, It was only 5 in the afternoon.
09c

You can feel the Christmas vibe all over the city.
08c

This is a close shot, the incoming tram could've almost hit me- - literally.
I actually heard incessant honking within earshot but thought that the tram was far from me.
It was only when my sister was in her panic mode and shouting at me, did I realize that the incoming train was right behind my back! ^0^
08d

08e

more bikes ahead...
08f

08g

With just 3 hours left,
We didn't try any boat/bike rides anymore,
all we did was walk, and yes, it was time consuming, but from point A to point B, you don't really need a map,
we just wandered around, no right or left turns so we don't get lost.

08h

08i

08j

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Back at Centraal station, courtesy of my Samsung note8, hence the grainy photos.
09a
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* lol cute right?! * that could be me in berserk mode. ^0^
08m

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This is what I love about Amsterdam actually, these chock a bloc Delft houses. ♥ ♥
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and now, on to a wide array of food festive fried galore!
but prepare yourself for a long queue.

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a vending machine for hotdogs, fries and more.
haven't tried it though...
23a

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WINTERMARKT = a christmas market like the ones in Germany.

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While sister Pepperoni was outside the shop turning the penny machine. * she likes collecting them*
I am busy taking photos of some cute and out-of-this-world souvenirs. ^0^

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23d

23e

this friendly cheese vendor was so happy when we took his photo.
too bad it was a bit blurry...
23f

23g

Pls Omit the guy on the left, look at the kid's expression on the right.... ^-^
23h

The super-dooper crowded hoi-polloi.
23i

a touch of Vermeer on our way home...
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I wish I could mimicked a piece of Anthony Bourdain's Layover in Amsterdam, that would've been inspiring.
Well, at least, we had some sight seeing around the area and bought some trinkets home,
so I guess that was the good part, other than that, we missed out on a lot of things- shopping , food and the night scene.
Better luck next time...
I'll be visiting this city in a heartbeat soon!

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