This morning was the hardest I’ve had in Lund, more difficult that when I had my digital communications final. This morning I had to say goodbye to my corridor mates, who have ascended to my dearest and closest circle of friends over the past five months. This was a morning where I could feel the seconds ticking away. Christian and Frieder saw me to the bus station and Pablo, Marion, and Helene gave me a wonderful sendoff from the balcony. My mind is not ready to let go yet, so I will have more to write later.
After a mad dash to the 7-Eleven to buy pepparkakor and julmust for my sisters to try, I boarded the train to Copenhagen. The airport is a good airport – airy, clean. It was extremely busy when I arrived, with a very long line stretching out from the SAS check-in desks. This was the first airport I’ve seen were they show you which ticket counters you can go to for your particular flight. After trying one of the computer kiosks, I was resigned to wait in line, but it was surprisingly efficient. After only 30 or 35 minutes I was at the front and the check-in went smoothly with no problems. After security, one fines many many shops and tax-free shopping. They had a lego store too which I thought was a nice touch for the kids. As I boarded the plane I picked up a complimentary copy of the International Herald Tribune to complement the latest issue of The Economist that I had bought back in Lund. Flight was fine, with a group of middle school girls cheering when the plane touched down to the amusement of the adults and more seasoned travelers in the front. If I thought CPH was nice, the Schipol Amsterdam airport is quite a sight to see. It is easily the best airport I have been to in Europe. There are enormous, easy to read instruction signs everywhere with English as the primary language. The airport is never feels crowded, looks sleek and clean, and offers well laid out and spacious shops. The area above the trains is enormous…difficult to describe. There is also a full fledged grocery store there too. I checked up on which receiving area my sister’s EasyJet flight would be arriving so I camped out near the entrance.
Sachi and Sapana’s plane arrived a bit earlier and I finally met up with them right as they were coming out of the doors clearing customs. It was nice to finally see them again. Sapana’s bag was ridiculously heavy and unlike Sachi’s, did not roll. I hoisted it on my shoulder while Sapana took my rolling back. We talked about their morning at London and Luton and how Sapana’s first impression of the residence hall was. While Amsterdam’s Schipol airport is spectacular, it’s city train system definitely leaves something to be desired. I found it a bit confusing and not as well run as the airport is. Kind of curious. We got off at the Centraal Station and first located a map of the city. We quickly saw that the metro doesn’t serve our part of town, which would have to be only accessed by trams. We walked over and after some hunting around find the right tram number. The trams here at 1.60 euros and they are valid for 1 hour. So you can go someplace, check it out, then take another tram ride in under an hour. We got to the Leidseplein, a big, bright, active square with lots of restaurants and shops. The nice tram driver repeatedly said ‘Vondelpark’ for us to inform us that it our stop. Oh yes, while we were looking around for the trams a lady saw us and asked if we needed any help, then she did. It was kind of weird to see that. The optimist in me was happy to see such a nice person, the cynic in me thought she was a distraction for some pickpocketers. Anyway, we made it to the hotel fine. We checked in and went up to the room. The room is kind of small but entirely functional. It’s better than a hostel room, let’s put it that way. We did some unpacking and I had some debhra that Mom packed with Sapana and they had some pepparkakor and julmust. They realized what I meant when I said how pepparkakor goes by really really quickly. They also couldn’t wait to see Klovvika so I showed them the movie too. Great reactions, especially to the DVD. Sachi loved Yuko’s screaming after she got possessed. We then watched the outtakes, and they had a good laugh. We wanted to do something so we got dressed and walked over to the Leisdseplein. We decided to have a bite of falafel so we walked down this street (a little shady, yes) and went into this store. A nice looking cat sitting on the stool and an elderly person took our order. They had their own system and manner of doing it. He carefully cut the tomatoes, lettuce, and onions, then slowly made each falafel. They weren’t the ‘burrito’ style you find in Lund, but they were filling. We got them to go and went back to the hotel to eat. As we got into the lounge, they were showing the Indianapolis Colts vs. the San Diego Chargers on TV. I was excited cause it was the first time I got to see NFL football live since leaving the US and it was the Colts at that, who are undefeated. And guess what. They LOST. Poor Peyton Manning. Anyway, we finished the falafel and went to bed. I forgot my pajama pants in Lund on accident so I will have to go buy some here or in Brussels. I haven’t find a suitable store yet. Maybe on Tuesday.