DM and MM's Europe 2022 Diary

Day 12 - Amsterdam to Singapore

Tuesday, 28 June, 2022

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We woke up a bit before the alarm went off. I got up at 05:30 and did some stretching exercises, then got M. up. I checked our check-in state on the Singapore Airlines app, thinking we’d have to go to a counter to get boarding passes printed. But the app had generated boarding passes that we could load into Apple Wallet! So we did that, thinking how awesome it was that we could have the boarding passes on our phones instead of having to get printed ones that were easy to lose.

We were ready to go just after 06:00. We left the hotel and walked half a block to the nearest tram stop. It only took a few minutes to arrive, and I bought single trip tickets on board. The trip to Centraal took about 10 minutes, taking us past some sights in the centre of the city that we hadn’t had time to see before.

At Centraal, I bought us tickets to Schiphol. We missed one train as we arrived on the platform a couple of minutes before it left, only to find that it left from the other end of the very long platform - it must have been 300 metres or more long. Apparently trains can leave from both ends at the same time. By the time we’d walked halfway to the train we could see waiting, it had begun moving off. Fortunately there was another train leaving for Schiphol on the adjacent platform just a few minutes later. We climbed on board with several other people with luggage, and two Americans behind us asked if this was the right train for the airport.

The trip was just one stop, taking about 20 minutes. We got off and went upstairs to the departure area. It was now 07:00, so 4:15 before our flight. We saw signs saying that you shouldn’t enter the departure hall more than four hours before your flight, but there was nobody there enforcing it, so we wandered in. We skipped the check-in counters since we had no bags to drop off and we had our boarding passes, and we went straight to security. I was expecting huge queues, but it really wasn’t that bad at all. The back of the line had a sign saying expected wait about 15-20 minutes, and the priority boarding line which we could use had no queue at all. So we went through and were done with that very quickly. Then came customs, where we joined a queue that looked long, but it moved very quickly and we were at the front in about 10 minutes. Our passports were scanned automatically, and then a customs officer simply stamped our passports and we were inside the terminal. We’d expected several hours of waiting in queues, but the whole process had taken only about 15 minutes.

Grateful for that, we headed to the Aspire lounge, where Singapore Airlines had a special section roped off just for Singapore customers. We were the first ones there, and had the entire section to ourselves, while other people crammed into the other areas of the lounge. We finally had some breakfast, bowls of muesli with yoghurt, and I added some fresh chopped fruit to mine. It was a nicer and more comfortable breakfast than we would have got outside in the main terminal area.

Here a strange thing happened. My phone rang, and it was a call from a number in the Netherlands. Normally I just decline calls from outside Australia as they are always spam, so I did so. Then it rang again. And then I got another call from another number in the Netherlands. I didn’t want to answer any of these, as that would activate mobile roaming and a high daily charge, and I was absolutely sure that nobody in the Netherlands knew my phone number, so it had to be spam. But it was an odd coincidence that there were several from within the country I was currently in.

We headed to our gate about an hour before, to give us time to walk over there, and to look at some shops on the way. There was also a Rijksmuseum gift shop and behind it was an actual display of paintings from the museum itself! The display was themed as “Woman Power”, and all of the featured paintings were by female artists contemporary with the great (male) Dutch masters. So although we didn’t get to visit the museum itself, this was a nice taste of the collection.

Boarding started at the expected time, half an hour before departure. Although here we had an issue, as they told us that the digital boarding passes on our phones weren’t good enough and we had to get printed ones. And they'd been trying to phone us several times to find out where we were as we hadn’t checked in to get boarding passes as they’d expected!

Once on board the captain announced that we’d have to wait for about an hour before pushing back from the gate, because Schiphol was extremely busy with departures and we were in a long queue to leave. Given we only have 1:20 to make our scheduled connection in Singapore, hopefully we’ll make up time in the air and arrive closer to our scheduled arrival time.

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