To enjoy a long weekend, I recently embarked on a trip to Amsterdam and Geneva from March 19-March 23. We flew Ryanair from Alicante to Madrid, and connected to an easyJet flight from Madrid to Amsterdam. Recently, I’ve noticed that Ryanair has become VERY strict regarding carry-on baggage. They now thoroughly inspect everyone’s hand luggage to make sure it fits the required dimensions (comfortably) and is not too heavy. We never had problems before, but this time we had to fight to take our bags on-board with us (they fit the dimensions fine, we just had to squish them a bit, although even this caused us trouble!).
The mood in the plane bound for Amsterdam was very energetic. Everyone, it seems, was excited to arrive and continue to fly high. The food of choice in Amsterdam is Steak (bistek) served with fresh fries and beer; all the restaurants offer this as their menu. We couldn’t enter a Coffeeshop our first night because someone forget their ID (although we later discovered that there are some that don’t check). The weather was unfortunately a bit rainy, but we still enjoyed the better part of the next day exploring the city, its canals and the famous Red Light District, which is just as active during the day as it is at night. Amstedam is of course world-famous for legalizing soft drugs and prostitution… it’s quite a different world. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try some cake, from what I hear the one served at Goa is very strong, whereas many others are similar to what you’d find at your local bakery. We were lucky in seeing the tulips beginning to bloom, probably now, as I’m writing this, the city is much more colourful! Another curiosity about Amsterdam is that everyone gets around by bike or public transit. There was a three-storey structure near the central station stuffed with bikes belonging to commuters.
The next day, we woke up, ate breakfast, and left for the airport. A few hours later we landed in Geneva, rented a car, drove to France, and were skiing in the Jura Mountains by noon. After a satisfying day, we drove to Lausanne in Switzerland where I met up with a long-lost second cousin for dinner at his beautiful house. We later returned to Geneva where we were staying with a friend. The next morning we returned the car, only to receive a 280 CHF bill for a one-day rental! Apparently.. the antenna on our car was missing and since we didn’t think to check if the car came with an antenna when we picked it up, we were responsible to replace it. We also paid through the nose for insurance and a barrage of other fees. With gas considered, the one-day rental cost us 308 Swiss Francs (roughly equivalent to Canadian Dollars).
We spent the remainder of the day wondering around the city of Geneva. The downtown area was full of very professionally dressed people as it was a working day. We window-shopped at the many expensive boutiques there are, and had a very expensive, but filling, lunch.
The next morning, our flight back to Alicante was delayed one hour in departure due to the striking French Air Traffic Controllers, and was delayed another hour in landing because of bad visibility in Alicante. In fact, we ended up landing in Valencia instead and had to spend another three hours to get back to Alicante. All things considered, it was an enjoyable trip. I’d like to return to both places to see more of the country-side outside of the cities, but for now my appetite for travelling to Switzerland and Holland has been satisfied.