Hello from Dublin, Ireland. Yesterday, we left the 75 degree weather of sunny central coast California on a KLM flight out of San Francisco for the sunny winter climate of Amsterdam.
Kelley and I know Amsterdam almost as well as San Francisco. Despite nine years since our last visit to Amsterdam, everything seemed so familiar. We walked through Schiphol Airport, made our way through passport control, purchased our train tickets and hopped on the train to Amsterdam Centraal.
At the Amsterdam Centraal train station we made our way to the luggage lockers, stored our luggage, and set out for a day trip sightseeing around Amsterdam before flying out to Dublin, Ireland for the night. The most noticeable change for us since our last time in Amsterdam was the discontinuation of strippenkaart time-stamp tickets for the city trams.
Lost in Amsterdam, unLucky stolen wallet too
Our asses were sore from 10.5 hours in the back of the plane on an A330-200 economy class seat from SFO to AMS. We decided to walk across town to the Leideseplein and Vondelpark in an effort to revive our sore muscles with exercise. We had been out of the train station for about 20 minutes when Kelley went to change her sunglasses to her regular glasses to find the small purse around her neck unzipped. Her prescription eye glasses and wallet were gone. Kelley’s field of vision is a blur without her eyeglasses.
I have packed a pair of spare prescription glasses ever since going to the Radisson Hotels America conference in Chicago in 2012 without reading glasses. I can get by with a pair of $10 Costco eyeglasses when necessary. Kelley can barely see without her eyeglasses.
If this was our first trip to Amsterdam or Europe, we might totally have freaked out and swear to never leave American soil again. But this is not our first trip. For several years we lived in Amsterdam four to six weeks a year. We never had a problem with theft here before. For that matter, we have never had anything stolen in more than 25 years during our travels. We have lost some items over the years, mostly leaving coats or umbrellas on airplanes, but this is the first time we have lost something to theft since the 1980s.
Amsterdam Centraal train station was packed on a Sunday morning at 11am when we arrived with hundreds of people coming to Amsterdam on the Schiphol train. We were walking body to body in the thick crowd as we fed into the line on the train platform for the escalator down into the station. Kelley was directly behind me at the top of the escalator. At the bottom of the escalator I waited for Kelley as several people passed by me. I asked her how she ended up so far behind me with several people between her and me? She commented how a group of guys cut in front of her on the escalator and forced her back in line away from me.
Those might have been the moves that cost her wallet and glasses. We are savvy travelers and when we are in transit, typically each person is responsible for their own stuff. Kelley was mad at herself for not having her small purse under her overcoat, rather than on the outside of her overcoat.
Kelley did well not to freak out in the middle of Amsterdam. This is not the way any traveler wants to start the first day of a vacation.
After a police report and a couple of international collect phone calls, the damage was mitigated with a couple of closed credit card accounts and no fraudulent transactions on her credit cards. Fortunately, while she lost her California drivers license in her wallet, her U.S. passport was not taken from her purse. That would have truly been a headache as we were only transiting through Amsterdam for the day before flying on to our flight destination of Dublin, Ireland. At least we know where the U.S. Embassy is located in Amsterdam, if it had been necessary. We went there a decade ago one time to add extra pages to Kelley’s previous U.S. passport. I wonder if they are closed for President’s Day? Not that it matters since she still has her passport.
We are flying back to Amsterdam for the week. Our crazy itinerary is flying SFO-AMS-DUB-AMS-DUB-AMS-SFO on tickets purchased in early January for KLM SFO-Dublin round trip at $449 and Dublin-Amsterdam on Aer Lingus for $125 round trip. The combined cost for two tickets was about $300 less per person than flying directly to Amsterdam round trip.
Our plan was to spend the week in Amsterdam museums and re-educate ourselves on Rembrandt and Van Gogh, while I also check out several of the new hotels in town since our last visit like Hyatt Andaz, Waldorf Astoria and DoubleTree and W Amsterdam. The problem for Kelley now is her very poor eyesight means she is going to have a blurred visual image and memory of Amsterdam.
I’ll have to take lots of good photos so she can see what we saw at some later date with more visual clarity.
Can anyone recommend a good optometrist in Amsterdam?