Adjusting to the time difference upon landing in Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, I continued with my Great 2012 Mileage Run onward towards my primary destination: Warsaw, Poland. My new friend, Jenny (who I had met on the previous flight from Montreal to here in Amsterdam), and I had a nice little smoke in that still common staple in many European airports, the smoking lounge. The smoking lounge was small and narrow, with a orange-glassed wall framing one of the long sides of it; it felt like we were living displays inside a showcase of some sort.
We left the lounge and came to the fork in the terminal requiring each of us to go our separate ways. We wished each other a safe trip to our relative final destinations. Continuing down Amsterdam Schiphol’s large, lengthy corridors, I noticed signs overhead indicating the walking time estimated that it would require to arrive at the various terminals. It was a relief to find out that I wasn’t headed for the terminal which AMS estimated would take 18-21 minutes of walking!
As I got my bearings straight and started approaching my gate, the sun started to rise, though it seemed to do so much later than it does in New York; I had landed in Amsterdam almost at 8am local time, but it was a bit later before I could see the sky begin to brighten. KLM flight #1363 was due to depart Amsterdam Airport Schiphol at 10:05am, and arrive in Warsaw’s Frédéric Chopin Airport at noon. Boarding time was to be called around 9:35am, which still allowed me almost an hour to get to the gate.
In Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, when making a layover, it is necessary to exit the secured area and go through security once again to get to the connecting flight most of the time. Approaching the customs window after leaving the secured area just to go back in another, I was asked where I was headed.
“Warsaw,” I replied.
“What is the purpose of your trip?” the agent asked.
“I travel and I write,” I shot back, thinking that was sufficient.
The agent didn’t accept this answer, as apparently it was not a legitimate statement as to the purpose of this particular trip. I told him basically that I was going as a journalist (though in my mind that was a stretch), and he was satisfied. The Amsterdam-Schiphol stamp was placed in my passport, and then I was officially traveling in the Schengen Zone. The Schengen Zone is a group of 26 European countries who act as one in regards to borders; there is controlled leaving and entering the Schengen Area’s member countries, but none between borders of two member countries. This was a slight convenience, as I wouldn’t have to talk to a customs agent as I traveled later from Warsaw back to Amsterdam, and then later to Paris, but one of my favorite souvenirs on my travels is the stamp in my passport for each country, so I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get stamped again in Poland and France.
Once through customs, I still had time before needing to be at the gate. I schlepped my backpack and my wheeled carry-on down some stairs to the nearest restroom to freshen up, then I schlepped it back up. Coffee is my greatest vice, and I went to a cafe to purchase a large coffee to satisfy my need for caffeine; after all, I had only slept an hour and a half on my last flight, and had awakened the previous morning at around 5am for my initial departure. It was about 9am in Amsterdam, which meant that it was 3am back in New York City, around the later end of the spectrum of when I would normally go to bed.
I was given an ill-fitting lid, and complained about it to no avail. Taking my coffee, I dragged my belongings to a seat to wait for the boarding announcement. In my sleep-deprived stupor, I put the cup to my lips only to have the lid pop off and the hot content spill onto my shirt. I cursed myself for forgetting the cup’s loose lid, and then schlepped once again down some stairs to a bathroom to salvage what I could of my shirt.
Finally, it became time to board. I boarded immediately after the families with children needing extra time to settle in, as I was the proud, new member of the elite status with Delta Airlines. Though this flight was operated by KLM, they are partnering airlines, and both members of the Skyteam Alliance, allowing me to receive many of my Delta elite benefits with KLM. Settling in my seat, 5D, I knew I was going to be unable to sleep, so I read the magazine in the back of the seat pocket.
Though the trip to Warsaw’s Chopin Airport was to be about an hour and fifty-five minutes, we got completed the trip in just under an hour and a half. My tiredness began to disappear as the plane landed and taxied toward the gate. I had made it to Warsaw!
2/3/12 – Amsterdam to Warsaw
- 1100 km (684 miles)
- KLM Flight 1363 AMS (10:05am) to WAW (12:00pm).
- Warsaw, the main portion of my trip.
- 2 full days in Warsaw, and they were weekend days, Friday through Sunday!