September 29, 2011
We checked our luggage all the way to Amsterdam, so we didn’t have to deal with that but we did, however, have to go through a passport checkpoint. It’s not like the U.S.A. setup, where you stay inside security if you are on a connecting flight. We had to go out through the passport checkpoint and then back through security to get to our next flight from Madrid to Amsterdam.
Note: You KNOW you are a die-hard American when, after landing in Madrid, you spend your first Euros at McDonald’s in the airport for a sausage and egg McMuffin!!! Believe me, after that airline food, McDonald’s was very satisfying!
I don’t remember any of that flight. I slept the entire way. I missed breakfast. I missed coffee. I missed reading more of my Clive Cussler book! And I was STILL sleepy when we got to the barge.
Our flight landed about 2:45 and it was 3:15 pm before the plane got to the gate. There was a Vantage representative waiting for us and, by the time we left the Amsterdam airport, there were 5 of us in the van, plus the Vantage rep and the driver. The only bad thing was that our Canal Tour left the riverbarge at 4 pm without us. This was an optional tour that we had paid for and, even if they refund the money, I really wanted to take that tour. The literature said we were going on a walking tour of the Red Light District but that didn’t happen either. I would hate to think we came all this way and missed these two expeditions. Oh well, that just means another trip to Amsterdam in the future.
We had a “Welcome” meeting onboard and then a wonderful dinner, overlooking the Rhine River and the banks of Amsterdam. It was great fun watching the river traffic as we sat and talked with a couple from New Jersey and a couple from Illinois. Yes, so far, all I’ve met on this riverbarge have been Americans, from either the U.S. or Canada.