Seven Hour Layover in Amsterdam


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On our recent Med cruise, we flew from Atlanta to Venice via Amsterdam. We arrived at 8:00 am, but our flight to Venice didn't leave until 3:00. We had never been to Amsterdam so we decided to go into the city for a few hours. Upon arrival in AMS, we stored our bags in one of the self-service luggage lockers, using the Barclays Arrival chip and pin card for access.

The train station is right in the AMS airport. We queued at a kiosk to buy tickets into the city, and again used the Arrival chip and pin card. The ride to the Centraal Station takes about 15 min, and when you walk out of the station, you are right in the middle of town. Right in front of the station is a large basin where the canal tour boats are docked. These tours take about an hour and are priced from 9-16€. We had read that all the tours were the same, so we looked for the 9€ tour and noticed the next departure times. We had some important business to take care of first!

Many tourists come to Amsterdam to see the historic city center with its historic buildings and canals. They also come to see the red-light district and to visit the coffee bars, where marijuana products are legal. A coffee bar visit is such a typically tourist thing to do in Amsterdam, but we were really curious to see what they were all about. Apparently, a coffee bar (two words) serves coffee, and a coffeebar (one word) is the place to go get stoned. There is a green and white sticker in the window to let you know you are in the right place.

When we entered at about 10:00 am, there was a small group of 20-somethings in there already. It looked like they were just smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. Behind the cash register was a placard showing what was available. We chose Pure Haze, which was the pure product rolled into a cigarette, for 6€. We did not smoke it then and there because we wanted to sight-see and make sure we got back to the airport. I'm glad I waited! If you smoked a lot of dope in the 60's you will be totally unprepared for the potency of these cigs. One toke is sufficient for an "attitude adjustment." and 3-4 will put you in a catatonic coma.

After our purchase we took the canal boat tour. The recorded commentary gave an abbreviated history lesson, and pointed out some of the more historic buildings. As we slowly motored through the canals, I thought how nice it would be to live on one of the cute houseboats in such an interesting and historic city.

We had no problems getting back to the airport and retrieving our luggage. With about an hour to spare before boarding our flight to VCE, we visited the Aspire Lounge with our Priority Pass Cards.