Upon arriving in Serbia, I spent some time trying to sort my ticket back home. The airline said they wouldn’t be able to print or access my ticket, as it was held by a parent airline. When I spoke with the parent airline, they were unable to help either. In the end, I left the airport and explored Belgrade with Brent. Upon returning to the airport to leave, my flight ended up being delayed so much that the inaccessibly of the connecting flights became quite irrelevant. I called Delta and rerouted through Amsterdam and then Atlanta to land a flight back to Gainesville. What a saga of flights! Starting in my travels in the Dominican Republic and continuing on and on for months.
I took the opportunity of the seven hour layover in Amsterdam and headed in to town, remembering the efficiency and accessibility of the Schiphol airport, taking a bus (with WiFi!) in after calling Delta and Schwab. I had two main goals in mind – eat good Lebanese food (I’d sourced a restaurant while on hold with Delta) and see some artwork from the AP Art History Canon.
Unfortunately the first (and more important one) was denied me, as the restaurant, Levant, was closed (despite Google’s assurances to the contrary – a common occurrence, it would seem). Famished, I instead chose the hilariously touristy Hansel & Gretel Restaurant for a surprisingly nice pea soup, quickly sketching the very Dutch looking American couple at the next table.
I decided to go to the Rijksmuseum, as it purportedly housed the most AP Art History artworks. Unfortunately, in this continuing comedy of errors, none were on display. I quite enjoyed my time in the museum nonetheless, brief as it was, with a particular highlight being the dioramas and a shimmering lacquerware rendition of 出島.
Just being in Amsterdam after the Balkans felt truly like a different world. The people everywhere seemed so adjusted, so matter of fact, rich, efficient. Though I’ve spent so little time in the Netherlands, I’ve always been impressed by the Dutch (those I meet, as well). In essence, nice things are nice. I took the expensive bus back to the airport and was quite amazed to see a small exhibit of the Rijksmuseum past security. Even more insane, I never saw anyone else visit. After eating some hilariously kitsch mini-poffertjes, I whiled away the remaining wait until boarding time there.
On my flight back, I interspersed the watching of four movies with bouts of exercise. Though quite flawed, Sonny Boy left quite an impression on me, especially with the context of the sheer niceness of Amsterdam. I finally watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and absolutely despised it – I hated the message and codification of attitudes towards school, learning, teaching, and being cool. Luckily the rest of my journey home went well, and I was able to stay awake until landing in Gainesville around midnight, switching my clock immediately for a full day of work the next day.