zephyr illusions photo by donna October 1992. The view atop Chasseral, Jura Mountains looking across Switzerland to The Alps on the horizon. Fog, intensely thick, rising from Lac Bienne and stretching its fingers high onto the Lignières-Plateau de Diesse after wholly filling the valley below the plateau.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

European Adventure... Departure Day

I arose early so i could finalize my packing and enjoy my last ‘typical Dutch breakfast’ before setting off to find my way to Schiphol Airport. it’s only a 17 kilometre (10.5 miles) drive to Schiphol and i needn’t to be at the airport until noon, but i wanted to give myself plenty of “getting lost” time. :p

Sipping coffee and enjoying the view of VondelPark from the breakfast room, i watched the morning activity of pedestrians and bicyclists moving by on the pathway and thought back to my first day in The Netherlands and how i was nearly trampled by Amsterdam bicyclists at this very spot in VondelPark. heheheee, if I have learned one thing during the last three weeks, it’s to respect and never underestimate the power of the Dutch bicycle!! :D

After breakfast, i studied my map of Amsterdam trying to imprint on my mind the street names of my route to the airport (lol, not sure why because it’s next to impossible to see any street signs anywhere!) and then gathered my bags from my room to take to the car. as I exited the hotel i saw a little slip of paper on the windshield... oh, no, was I ticketed, again??! nope, the nice hotel owners had paid €3 to the parking pass machine and put the pass on my car not knowing that I planned to check out of the hotel by 9AM… very considerate of them to watch out for me :) such nice people!

So, after saying bedankt voor alles, tot ziens, i got behind the wheel of the car, referred once more to my map, took a deep breath wishing myself luck (hahahaa) and began my final drive to the airport… something very cool happened… i drove direct to Schiphol… didn’t make any wrong turns… didn’t find myself in the wrong lane… didn't get lost at all... didn’t encounter any trams… smooth sailing all the way :) :) … i think in large part thanks to 9 AM rush hour traffic... i had time to read signs/think/make the correct decisions… also, once out of the city and on the highways, the signage for the airport is very clear. I even kept up with the speeding mad Dutch drivers :D

I arrived to the car rental garage feeling quite proud of myself and as the attendant checked for any damage to the car (there was none :D) i told him of my impressions of driving in Dutch traffic in the cities. he seemed to be rather impressed that this was the first time i had driven in Amsterdam traffic and was returning the car unscathed. teeheehee, i didn’t tell him that i drove very little and had the car parked most of my trip. lol

Having arrived to Schiphol Airport without getting lost, i was well ahead of schedule so i went outside and watched the planes taking off and landing until it was time that i could check my bags. after checking in my bags, i proceeded through security, was given a very thorough pat-down by the woman security agent and then browsed the Duty-Free shops where i found my favorite French parfums and spent some of my last Euros before making the 15 minute walk through Schiphol Airport to my departure terminal. i still had a couple of hours to burn before my Icelandair flight would begin boarding so i found the lounge nearest my departure gate and settle down with a frothy-headed Heineken (what else? lol), cracked open my PowerBook to see if i could grab some free Wifi… but, no Wifi, so i just made some quick notes about the morning's happenings until a good looking guy sat down next to me and struck up conversation.
‘Rob', a Dutch musician (Jazz trumpet player) on way to Reykjavík, Iceland to play a Jazz festival, bought me beers while he told me about his life as a musician and i told him about my fabulous adventure in his country. it was a very nice send off from the Netherlands.
[btw, i’m still convinced that the government must hide the unattractive Dutchmen! :p ☺]

The flights from Amsterdam to Reykjavík to Baltimore went smoothly, except for an hour delay in Reykjavík and another hour delay in collecting my bags in Baltimore.
So, by 9 PM local time (03:00 CET, the time in which my body was still operating) i found my car still in the long-term parking lot (yay!) of BWI Airport and started the 2-hour drive home, the final leg of my 2005 Adventure.
LMFAO, what should have been a 2 hour drive home became a 3 hour drive when I took the wrong exit off a highway through a construction zone and found myself in heavy fast-moving traffic headed east toward Washington, D.C. instead of north toward my Pennsylvania hometown. Hhahahaaheeeeheee, while very frustrated as i was very tired, i laughed at myself for getting lost so close to home on my last leg of travel…
But, i was able to find my way since i recognized the highways and could use my good sense to make my way back in the right direction.
At midnight (06:00 CET), i finally pulled into the apartment complex where i’m currently living and was welcomed by my three cats who were very pleased to see me.
I made a toast to the wonderful adventure that I wished didn’t have to end with a good Pennsylvania Yuengling Lager then fell into my bed dreaming of returning to Holland…


  1. Welcome home, Donna.

  2. thanks, Andres! :)
    btw, i'm pretty sure that you're familiar with the Baltimore/D.C. area.... it was on the monster of a Beltway 695 where i made the wrong exit. easy to do on that highway, ain't it? (hehee, my excuse for getting lost so near home :p)

  3. Hey! Glad you made it back in one piece. As an American living in The Hague, I enjoyed your observations of the country I'm now living in!

    Be safe...

  4. bedankt voor the comment, Patrick :) i didn't make it to Den Haag this trip (maybe next time), but i envy you... i really enjoyed the whole ambiance, attitude and vibe of The Netherlands. enjoy your life there!