Progressive Trip Report - B'day in A'dam '08

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Weldon
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Progressive Trip Report - B'day in A'dam '08

Postby Weldon » Sat Mar 15, 5:26 pm

I'm essentially going for the afternoon. The flight from SF gets in Friday 3/21 at 11. It's a KLM so there will be the good non-American airline service. It will be packed but I got my window seat. I've been tracking it on

http://www.flightstats.com/go/Home/home.do

You can track any flight anywhere anytime on this site; also check airports, amenities, links, etc. Anyway, this flight continuously gets in EARLY, which is a nice surprise when every minute counts. After I get in, my flight on to Copenhagen leaves at 7. So that's a nice chunk of time in Mecca for a smoke, a look around and some shopping...some very selective, limited shopping.

The last trip I made was for the 10th reunion. At the time a euro cost $1.32, which I thought at the time was excessive. At it now approaches $1.60, I long for the good old days of three years ago. Perhaps it's fitting for a 13th anniversary. For many years, a British pound was worth $1.60. Now the pound and the euro are approaching parity.

I am making the trip to see my daughter who is studying in Sweden. The college is closer to Copenhagen than Stockholm so I'm flying in and out of Copenhagen. That means a look at Christiania. "Kate" has already been there and says you can still get stuff. I referred her to posts on this forum, especially by Viking, to know what to get and where to get it. She went, she got but I don't think she made it to the Moonfisher. I have a few places circled in my Copenhagen book. Would anybody know how the Super Super Maroc stacks up next to the Kali Mist Isolator?

Getting back to selective shopping in Amsterdam, it's not like the good 'ol days when I could maybe hit 3-4 places, scoring at each and chucking what's left. I'm good for one well placed selection and I'm torn between the G13 Haze available at Barneys and Amnesia and Blueberry Haze from Noon.

The rest of the time will be reserved to sittin' around and enjoyin' it, and picking up some coffee beans. I heard Wijs and Zonen moved (they were the most expensive anyway) but Geels & Co is in the same place and there's always Perla Mokka at Albert Hijn. On previous trips, I'd fill up a suitcase with coffee mostly because it was excelent (perfect) and half the price, or less, than at home.

The other thing I want to do is update my photo files of Amsterdam. I hope it's a nice day, but even if it isn't I want to make the most of it. A museum isn't in the cards but I may be tempted if there is some sort of special exhibit that appeals to me. Something I've always wanted to do in Amsterdam was get on a tram and ride it to the end of the line. I have rarely gotten out of the Centrum and its immediate vicinity to see what life in the outlying neighborhoods looks like. Maybe there'll be time for that...or maybe a boat ride.

And maybe I can meet some friends along the way! I never had a birthday in Amsterdam AND Copenhagen, let alone Amsterdam. I'm still trying to figure out where the plane will be at midnight.

:^)

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Postby bijdehandje » Sun Mar 16, 5:45 pm

thanks, enjoyed your report, good references. Safe traveling to you, Weldon. Celebrate birthday eve and birthday...two days of partying, hey

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Postby nellie » Sun Mar 16, 6:31 pm

Hi Weldon
Do you arrive on Friday 21 March? If so be aware that is Good Friday and shops and banks will be closed. It is the start of Easter.

Happy Birthday
Nellie

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Postby Weldon » Sun Mar 16, 6:50 pm

I would be arriving on 3/21. Dang! That would mean Geels & Co would be closed. Right? Maybe not Albert Hijn. Still plenty to do.

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Postby Anne » Sun Mar 16, 8:07 pm

AH is open 'till 7 pm on Friday, I checked. :)

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Postby DRRB » Mon Mar 17, 5:10 am

Good Friday takes on a new meaning for Weldon ?
Enjoy,
DR RB

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Postby Weldon » Mon Mar 17, 6:23 am

Thanks Anne! I'll at least get something from there if Geels is closed, which I expectit to be.

What's up, DR?

Today was the Unofficial West Coast Channelites Get Together with me, Otis, Artusamak and BoHannon. Bo made corned beef & cabbage. We had some beers, played guitars and had some of that sugartop with dragon skuff. Good for what ails ya. Mighty fine eatin'. Art just had a birthday so we had a little birthday cake for dessert.

Bo thought most anything would be open on Good Friday. I told him I'd get back to him. Otis' favorite places are downstairs at the Dolphins and upstairs at the Old Church Coffeehouse. I hope to make it to the Noon or wherever there is G13 Haze.

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Postby Anne » Mon Mar 17, 12:14 pm

I think most 'horeca' places (pubs, restaurants, coffeeshops) will be open on Good Friday, as well as at least Easter Monday and perhaps Easter. I suppose most shops in the city center will be open on Friday as well. It's a national holiday so lots of people go to Amsterdam to go shopping.

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Postby Weldon » Mon Mar 17, 3:40 pm

Well, Geels is on the way to a lot of things. I'll be passin' by...
...that is if they don't start charging for walking down Warmoestraat.

Saw in the paper today how the money changers are not taking American cash and converting it. I plan to get all my euros and kroners from ATM's and just keep my bucks for when I get back to US.

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Postby Banks » Tue Mar 18, 8:05 pm

Have a great rip, and travel safe my friend!

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Postby Dogbreath » Wed Mar 19, 10:36 pm

Nice to read your post, Welden. It's been a while.

Looking forward to seeing your trip report...

Dogbreath

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Postby Weldon » Wed Mar 19, 11:56 pm

Nice to hear from you too. Will you be making the 13th Annvy. I'm holding out till the 15th. Hopefully, the dollar will strengthen.

Looks like rain on my afternoon there. The "good news" is that Europe is still on standard time and that plane gets in at 10 instead of the usual 11. I may have to stop by Katsu and check out the Cheese. I wanted to go to Albert Cuypstraat anyway and get a small cheap, durable suitcase on wheels. Still a good deal even w/bad exchange rate. Still using the one I got 5 years ago, but it's battered.

Going to finish packing tonight, then coming to work in the morning, then going directly to the airport for the flight. It all creates an air of anti-excitement because of all the stresses of traveling and getting things done before I go. Kate wantes me to bring a bottle of celery salt (!). Don't they have celery salt in Sweden? Apparently not. I could always get some at De Peperbol. It'd be fresher.

Banks! When ya gonna come out this way? Nice to hear from you.

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Postby hebe » Thu Mar 20, 1:04 pm

atta boy weldon,have a smoke for us ol'timers.that inludes db. have a good trip...

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Postby Weldon » Thu Mar 20, 8:45 pm

Thanks, Hebe! Great to hear from you.

So, I'm all checked in. Was able to do it online. Entered in passport #. Have to scan it at airport, but according to them, I can self-check myself in all the way to Amsterdam. Will see how things go at the airport. Checking one bag. Will be on my way in a few. It's warm and sunny in the Bay Area. Heading back into winter.

When flying KLM, I consider the Dutch experience to begin once I step on the plane. I don't get to hear Dutch spoken with the same frequency as other languages so it fells like I'm already in the Netherlands if I'm in a place where it needs to be spoken. Other than that, their airline coffee is the best!

Still have to run down a few more things.
Into the Happy Vortex!

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Postby Weldon » Fri Mar 21, 2:20 pm

Made it!

It's snowing big fat flakes here in Amsterdam. I'm at Betty Boop's working a one gram joint of Betty Boop's Haze. Got pretty stoned on just a little bit. Of course staying awake for most of the flight helps the high.

All I've really done was walk in the area close to the station; down Warmoestraat, in the Dam Square and now I'm in Betty's. The weather is cold, it rained a little and it took me a long time to get oriented and out of the airport. There also seems to be a lot of people here. Lines everywhere. Big crowds on Damrak. I only have another hour or so before I have to get back to the airport for flight to Copenhagen. Maybe a bit longer.

I made it to Geels & Co but not Albert Hijn. I don;t have an exact spin on what the euro is but I'm guessing #1.56 which is slightly better than it was.

That flight was great. I could even overlook the guy kicking in back and the kid coughing in front. It was early, the crew were great, one of the stewards gave me a hug. We were at the eastern portion of Hudson Bay when it turned midnight. And by ordering kosher, I got great meals. The breakfast was ridiculous. Two big trays piled on top of each other. 4 different rolls. An omelet with a side of stewed veggies and turkey. Yikes. Embarrassing.

Mile to go.

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Postby DRRB » Fri Mar 21, 6:02 pm

Weldon,
Birthday, Amsterdam, Good Friday, Snow in the Dam.....
sounds great. Hope you're enjoying every minute , and that you report
all you can to us envious left-behinds.
DR RB

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Postby Bohannon » Fri Mar 21, 6:12 pm

Bring me back a nice bottle of Aquavit please.

Peace

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Postby Weldon » Fri Mar 21, 7:23 pm

AFTER MY LAST POST, I left Betty's and took a walk in the falling snow and took some pictures. Also wanted to air out because that upstairs was hecka smoky at Betty's. I'm not so sure it worked because I could smell it. I had a paper sack with my Geels coffee, mints from Hema, and a few gifts. I was kinda bummed that I had to mess around with ATM shit and didn't get to do the things I wanted in Amsterdam. I headed back to the airport at 3, in plenty of time for a 6PM flight.

When I got to the airport I ended up going through passport control three times because I checked my carry ons at the airport and not Centraal Station. I was in Amsterdam for a day and have 4 stamps in my new passport to prove it. That's it, I'm profiled.

After the third time, I forgot that paper bag which now contained my belt and left it at security. I was trying to get through to the ATM people to tell them yes, it's really true I AM in Amsterdam when I realized it. They were calling for people to be bumped because the Copenhagen flight was overbooked. I put my name down thinking I needed to hunt that bag down. Was not willing to give up a kilo of Guatamalan Maragogype so easy. I called Kate to let her know but immediately had regrets. I had been travelling a long time. I'm keeping her waiting. I ought to just chalk it up. I also didn't know what the compensation was so that was a big if.

As it turned out, I did get bumped. The good news was that the compensation was a dinner, a phone call, and 250 euros in cash! To make matters better, I went back to security and my bag was still there.

So in the end, I actually made money by stopping off in Amsterdam on my way to Copenhagen! Is this a great birthday, or what? Kate is probably still now in Christiana, checking things out. I told her to meet me at the airport. I'm disoriented enough as it is. Will probably head over to Christiana tomorrow. Kate hates this weather, California girl that she is. But big, fat midwestern snowflakes were cool on the Dam today.

Bo - I'll get you an aquavit at Bev Mo, they got it. I haven't gotten a thing at duty free. Please, no more stuff to keep track of. I have a hard enough time as it is.

:^)

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Postby Bohannon » Fri Mar 21, 8:24 pm

No problemo dude I can get my own but you are where this stuff was invented.. Say hey to "Kate" (wtf?) for me.

Peace

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Postby Weldon » Sat Mar 22, 1:32 am

Who knows what can happen?

So I made it to Copenhagen. It's cold AND windy so far. I detect things to be more expensive. At the sandwich shop at the train station, those premade sandwiches were about $7. Cokes are smaller and $3. The Super Maroc is Tasty and 2g = $40. That's not bad. I'll be checking out Christiania tomorrow. I'm so tired right now, I don't even know it.

True to adventure, the airline lost my bag right after they comped me 250 euros. On the bright side, they gave me a cute little overnight kit with razor, cream, toothpaste and brush, in a lovely little stash...I mean...carrying bag. Also came with an XXL nightshirt which fits me like an M. Ya know, I didn't want to schlep that thing tonight. I'm GLAD they lost it. Now they gotta deliver it to the hotel tomorrow. Good! I had extra sox and underwear anyway.

It's been kind of a wild trip so far but I'm havin' fun. My birthday's officially over (1:23AM has passed) and I covered a lot of ground, been to my favorite place and ended up somewhere new and different. 'salright.

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If it's Tuesday, it must be Växjö

Postby Weldon » Tue Mar 25, 12:11 pm

Sweden is even more expensive than Copenhagen. I was in the grocery store last night and saw that avocados are 7 dollars. whole bean coffee is about 10 a pound. I got some but didin't stock up like I usually do. Kate andI went out for Chinese last night. It cane to 55 dollars. That's two dishes, two spring rolls, tapwater for one and tea for one.

The people are very nice, though, and there is the Swedish Modern design to homes and furnishings, especially homes. Not too many old buildings like one would find in Amsterdam. I'm glad I came here despite the expense, which has restricted my movements somewhat. Just wanted to make sure Kate was doing OK. Students have to really watch their money. A cheap beer is 7 bucks. No such thing as "happy hour".

According to www.webehigh.com, Sweden is very tough when it comes to pot laws. Now that I think of it, I have not seen a policeman or police car since I've been here. Hope I didn't put "the whammy" on it.

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Postby Beer » Tue Mar 25, 12:14 pm

The difference between the Swedes and the Danes is this:

In Denmark you can do anything unless there's a sign saying you can't.
In Sweden you can't do anything unless there's a sign saying you can.

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Postby Weldon » Wed Mar 26, 1:22 am

On Aquavit - Saw a bunch of different brands at the gov't run liquor store called Systembalogadet. Only place you can buy booze in Sweden and it is expensive. Prices started at about 25 dollars. A fifth of Jamesons is over 40 dollars. No such thing as a six pack or a twelve pack of a case of beer. You must buy it by the can. The cheapest brew is this stuff called Kong. It comes in the equivalence of a 24 oz. can and goes for about a buck fifty a can. Very popular with the college crowd. Hi alcohol content.

I thought about bringing back some aquavit but it would probably gather dust with my other obscure alcohol purchases. Perhaps a good bottle of vodka from Duty Free for Russian Easter next week.

CHRISTOS VOS CRESJCUE!

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Postby Bohannon » Wed Mar 26, 2:04 am

Weldon wrote:On Aquavit - Saw a bunch of different brands at the gov't run liquor store called Systembalogadet. Only place you can buy booze in Sweden and it is expensive. Prices started at about 25 dollars. A fifth of Jamesons is over 40 dollars. No such thing as a six pack or a twelve pack of a case of beer. You must buy it by the can. The cheapest brew is this stuff called Kong. It comes in the equivalence of a 24 oz. can and goes for about a buck fifty a can. Very popular with the college crowd. Hi alcohol content.

I thought about bringing back some aquavit but it would probably gather dust with my other obscure alcohol purchases. Perhaps a good bottle of vodka from Duty Free for Russian Easter next week.

CHRISTOS VOS CRESJCUE!


I would not allow it to gather dust. Store it in your freezer, drink with salty preserved fish and smoked oysters/clams, mmmm. (or bring it to me!)


Peace

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Postby Weldon » Wed Mar 26, 2:33 pm

Hej - If I see it at duty free, I might get it, I dunno. Probably a ton cheaper. I never knew that Sweden controlled their liquor the way they do. Doesn't stop people from drinking it, tho. Doesn't stop Kate either.

We made it back to Copenhagen. I checked in for my Copenhagen - Vienna flight and made sure to get a seat up front. I have 45 minutes to make it to the NYC flight. Orbitz never wrote me back in response to my "what if..." question.

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Postby Weldon » Fri Mar 28, 10:44 am

Well, here I am back home. Didn't get anything at the duty free. The prices seem high. Booze I want nearly $40 and over. Had to dash at Vienna Airport but made my connection. Terrible flight! Gnarly kosher food. KLM much better. No Starbucks at United terminal in JKF, but they were prominent at Copenhagen Airport.

Wonder what Kate's up to?

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Postby Weldon » Tue Apr 08, 5:34 pm

I'm almost two and a half weeks removed from my trip.

It could have gone better if for one reason. Because I didn't call my bank and tell them I'd be out of the country, I was somewhat handcuffed during my precious hours in Amsterdam. I couldn't get cash so I couldn't get about as much as I'd hoped. Going to Albert Cuptmarkt was out. Going into any situation where the acceptance of credit cards was questionable was out.

So I was left with the little things that make going to Amsterdam special. Dutch being spoken all around me. Signs that say "Chipknip" (I still don't know what that means). The clicking sounds when you're crossing the streets to hurry you along. Bike paths and numerous riders biking without helmets. The different smells. The cobbled streets. The look of the place and how it is so vastly different than anything else in America. Hema still has cheap writing supplies no matter what happens to the dollar vs. the euro.

I got just enough of a taste to rekindle the desire to return.

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Chip

Postby bijdehandje » Wed Apr 09, 4:55 pm

ChipKnip is a program where cash credit is loaded onto a Dutch bank debit card (through smaller machines located near cash machines outside banks) so that you can pay parking meters, vending machines and sometimes at small stores that are not equipped to PIN, without having to enter a PIN number. The balance of the Chip account is separate from the balance of the debit card.


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