STRANDED...Amsterdam and 3 things I learned trying to get home
Sometimes I feel as if the universe has it out for me. Of all the winters we didn’t have, Winter Storm Stella decided to show her ass right at the brinks of Spring. Who would've thought what started as a little snow would have all of our flights in and out of Newark canceled and us stuck in Amsterdam.
My friend and sister in tow, we set off to conquer Amsterdam in 2 days with a day in Brussels (I’ll
share in a later post cool things to do on a Day Trip to Brussels). A tough feat, but we were up for the challenge and willing to conquer everything on our list of must-see.
We arrived early Saturday morning ready to conquer as many sites as we could. Too early to check in, we freshened up, dropped off our bags, and caught the metro to the museum district. We spent the day at the Infamous Van Gogh museum; where we witnessed our fair share of petty crime as we stole a few seconds of fame on a commercial they were filming for a festival coming in the next few weeks. We indulge in the food and “coffee shops” as we spent the evening in the Red Light District. You can’t come all this way and not experience the Red Light District. Apparently, all the men in the city were plastered to the glass flirting with the women trying to act as if they weren’t interested.
(Petty Crime… yes! A girl dropped her wallet and dude just picked it up and kept moving. Another guy saw, told the girl, and she grabbed museum security. The guy who stole the wallet played dumb and let the girl search him until she found it. Smh)
The second (and what we thought last) day in Amsterdam was jammed packed with excitement! We arrived from Brussels, checked in and headed in town to the Heineken Experience. For what we thought was going to be another brewery tour, THIS was far from it. It was more like an adult interactive brewery experience! We lost track of time and spent hours going from room to room, participating in every experience from videos to pictures to singing along to a Dutch song. I even got to stir the pot during a presentation of the beer making process. This made many bystanders jealous and they begin to ask to stir the pot too. They even hooked us up with double wristbands for free beers, so we left out feeling great!
Next, we caught the Canal Cruise around the city going over the history of Amsterdam. We probably should’ve done that before Heineken because drunk listening leads to nap time. Afterward, we wandered the city as we made our way to the "I Amsterdam" sign before heading back in to change for a night on the town.
Our plans suddenly changed when I received emails of weather advisory and flight cancellation. We couldn’t focus on going out when we had no idea how we were getting home. We spent the night trying to get a hold of the airlines. With no luck, we woke up early in hopes it was all a dream, and we could at least make it to our connection in Iceland. Heading to the airport, we learned three things while being stranded in Amsterdam.
NO ONE CARES You’d think being stranded in another country people would have some level of sympathy for your situation. By far the opposite! Rushing to the airport in hopes to at least fly the first leg of our trip back to Iceland we were denied and forced to call WOW Air by phone. All these able bodied calling themselves representatives of this company and not one have the ability to make a decision. They made us go to a booth and call into the call center. When we finally got a representative we found out the only way to get back to Jersey was to fly out on the 21st. THE 21ST!!! That was a week later!! What kind of option!
We mentioned we didn’t have the money or the time since we all have jobs to stay an additional week… and they didn’t care. After much back and forth and multiple calls, I was able to get us on a flight the next day, but we had to fly to San Francisco. It was the only way to get us back to the states in hopes of getting home.
My sister and I flew United to Newark, and my friend flew Southwest. We thought considering our circumstances of no one having the ability to fly into Newark and the only way to get back into the States was to fly to Cali that just maybe the airlines would show mercy and change our departing city for little to nothing. Negative. They said the most they could do was waive the fee and change our flights… but it would cost us upwards 300 or more to get home. We seriously couldn’t catch a break… or so we thought.
BUDDY PASSES ARE THE DEVIL Trying to be resourceful, I went to Facebook in hopes that one of my airline friends would rescue me with a buddy pass. I’ve heard about them, but never used them. I figured it was just a discounted ticket to fly standby. The part no one explained is where you fall on the standby list.
Touching down in San Francisco that evening, we took a breather and met up with some friends and family. Waiting for our flight we just knew we were on our way home. I even told my boss I was going to be there the next morning and that everything was fine…. Man. Neither my sister nor I made that flight. In fact, we were stuck sleeping in the airport in hopes to catch the early 6 am flight. We finally made the 745am flight to Atlanta which is good for her because she lives there but sucks for me because I still have to make it to Houston. I finally landed with four chances to get home to Houston that day with two airport options AND I STILL didn’t make a flight! Exhausted, I called my mom to pick me up so I could at least shower before heading back to the airport for the next early morning flight. I had to plead with the man to let me on because I refuse to wait for another flight. He must’ve felt my pain (and saw I was looking like I went through a battle and lost) because he made sure I got a seat.
I’ve never been so happy to be home.
That was my one AND only time I'll ever use a buddy pass. I will never use that thing again. I appreciate all my friends who were looking out, but you could’ve given ya girl a warning! DANG!! Crushed ALL my dreams and I wasted two additional PTO days.
SEIZE THE DAY Despite what we were going through we got to spend another day in Amsterdam and it, in fact, ended up being the best part of the trip… well after the Heineken Experience that was fun. With the extra day, we were able to visit Anne Frank House FINALLY. I was super excited because in middle school I was Anne Frank in the school play and I always fascinated by her and her story. I even pretended as if I had an accent. I loved how they restored the house and made you feel as if you were a part of history. I recommend it to anyone who knows her story.
We walked the streets one last time picking up last minute souvenirs and capturing as many moments we could. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at an Argentinian steak house that had the BEST red sangria I’ve ever tasted. We ended the night making new friends and dancing the night away. It was much needed stress reliever from the day we had and what a way to remember Amsterdam.
Three days in Amsterdam is just not enough! It’s sooo much to see and do. Next time, I will stay longer to make sure I can see the other museums and tours. I also want to visit other neighborhoods and nearby cities.
Be on the lookout for a post about my Day Trip to Brussels and my review of WOW Air.
Happy Travels, XOXO