Japan to Holland – and I love Japan Airlines

After a nice rest I wake up to my day of flight a bit more rejuvenated. I need to go to the post office to drop the box for the girls and it opens at 9am. My train to the airport leaves at 9:38am and takes longer than an hour. My flight is almost at midday.

A bit of a tight fit, but I just have to make it.

I checked out and left my big bag at reception for quick access. I grabbed a cup of coffee and a sandwich at the local Excelsior Coffee, which are everywhere or I just have hallucinations about them every few minutes. That and Starbucks.

Carry my box to the post office and since it a bit early I wait with another guy in front. As soon as they open, right on time thank goodness, we get in and the man from yesterday was there again – welcoming me with a big smile. We do our business and I am off running to the hotel.

Snatch my bag and off with the crowds to the Station. Its like maneuvering through some crazed game and its made that little bit harder with my luggage. I make my way to  the ticket buying outlet and line up to wait my turn. Its not moving…I am very worried I wont make my train…I had two people in front of me and it took more than 10 minutes for my turn to come, I about exploded in my skin.

Buy my ticket and off to find the train platform. I walk, and walk, and walk. Turn here right, here left….ahead…walk…I sweat by now. Where is the darn place?! Then I am in a tunnel thing that keeps on showing meters to platforms. That seems to go forever. Finally I see the escalator and I am pretty sure I have made it.

The train feels goooood. Half the cart faces the front and the other half faces the back of it. In the middle are four seats on each side, which face each other with a ‘table’ between them. I am in one of those. I think that is just wonderful, as I can plop my feet up on the seat ahead of me. Ooooooh! That is heaven and the seats are even more comfortable than I remember. Whip out the laptop and start writing the story of the last day in Tokyo. See, that is why it was so long ;)

Make my way to the Japan Airways check in. The lady at the counter looks lovely and welcoming. She goes something like:

“You are pregnant, yes?”
“Yes and I would appreciate if you can give me a seat with some extra room. If the flight is not full, a free space next to mine would be fantastic”
“The flight is full…” she says slowly while typing something.
“Oh…”
“The flight is full, but I will upgrade you to business class. The seats there have more room and you should be more comfortable there” – she says with a big warm smile.

I want to hug and name all my children after her. Oh, thank you my lucky stars! Thank you lovely lady behind the counter! I feel like a new person already. This will be amazing for the 12 hour flight.

I still have a few yen, so off to see what the food is like. I spot a place that is making something that I have not seen around before. Looks interesting. I should try it.

Sit down and order.

Here is what I am waiting on. Appetizing? I am not sure, but wait in anticipation.

The food arrives. I ordered a little soup, just in case the takoyaki was not that great.

They balls are quite soft and squishy. Some of them have chunky pieces of octopus. The whole thing tastes somewhat bland, compared to what I was imagining. Its not doing it for me really. Thank goodness for the green spicy paste and some mayo. I eat a few to not offend the chef, sip my soup and I leave.

The flight is amazing.

You get no pictures, as my backpack had to go up in the storage area, as they dont have space under the seats for them here. That is where you legs go when your automated seat is all spread out (big huge grin).

We get menu for the flight with the choice for the main meal and then the options for additional meals for the rest of the flight. The seats are quite comfortable and you can be as upright as you wish, or have your feet up or whatever. I have my own TV and options of movies and programs.

That is how a person should fly!

I enjoy my Japanese dinner meal with a bit of Japanese white wine and then have a quick sleep. The morning had exhausted me enough. I arrive in Amsterdam at 6pm, so really I was under no pressure to sleep. After that I watched 4 movies, drank coffee, had some japanese veggie curry and salad..walked around and stretched at the little area in front, which had some cookies and nibbles for us.

The flight went so fast, I remember feeling quite surprised when it was time for landing.

Immigration and customs was quick and painless.

I grabbed my bag and off to find my way to the hotel. Bought a map and a ticket for the train.
It feels so good to be back to Europe. It is so much different than Tokyo – the variety of people, the chaos, the mess. The airport is nice once you are out of the passenger area.

The train arrives and I have to drag my bag through some narrow stairs, as its a two level one. One up and one down from street level. The train is older and less maintained compared to those in Tokyo. Typical European stuff.

At Centraal Station I am hit with the whole difference again – different people, more ‘seedy’ looking characters, rubbish on the ground. Strangely I feel back home somehow ;)

After some asking I find the right exit. There is some kind of construction going on in this area and it is a bit of a mess. I start heading to the hotel. It is frustrating to try and make my way through the small free areas on the street, the rest is filled with parked bikes or bikes swooshing around me. People are fast and pushy. Once I make it out of that area its better.

I am really looking forward to dropping the bags now. Thankfully the hotel is not far from the station. I check in and oh the relief when I get in the room!

My view:

Its almost 7pm now. I freshen up and leave for a quick walk around and to grab a dinner.

It took my awhile to adjust to the European surroundings and people. Felt a bit less safe straight away, but that subsided quickly. The place looks amazing. I didnt have a long walk around, but I knew I would love it in no time.

And I did, the next day!

Cheers from Amsterdam!