We returned to Xiamen on a KLM flight which had an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam.We had done this trip before,but the previous time had been too tired to make it down town into the city,and had opted instead to crash out on the comfy sofas at Schipol airport.This time,somehow,after leaving Jerusalem at 1am and Tel Aviv at 4.50am,we managed to sleep quite well on the flight,following a wonderful breakfast of vegetable omelette,salad,fruit salad,brown rolls and orange juice (courtesy of KLM) So when we landed at 9am in Schipol we decided we had enough time and energy to make it down town and back before our continuing flight to Xiamen at 16.50.We found the airport train station with the help of lovely Dutch Information desk ladies and got straight on the train which took us to AMsterdam Centraal Station in only 10 minutes.Right opposite the station we found a tour company offering boat tours of the canals of Amsterdam for one or two hours.We took a one hour tour,and it was most pleasant even though it began raining during the tour,the boats are covered and heated (which wasn’t really necessary) and they have a commentary in English,German and French.There were only 4 other passengers on our boat,I think most tourists take the 2 hour tour or the museum tour.But we saw some interesting places including the most beautiful canal in AMsterdam and Anne Frank’s house.
After the boat tour we wandered around a little looking for a nice place to relax.We found many places that looked too dark or too noisy.Finally we settled on Le Grotte,a weird sort of restaurant/cafe, decorated to look like a tropical grotto.We were sure it was going to be interesting as lots of people were sitting and rolling up there.But when we asked the waitress she apologized,saying she didn’t sell any as she sold alcohol,but that the little shop on the corner next to the snack bar could provide what we wanted, So we ordered a salmon sandwich and a waffle with ice cream and some coffee and spent a relaxing couple of hours till we had to return to Schipol Airport at around 3pm for our continuing flight.
Relaxing in Le Grotte
On arrival in Xiamen after a very long flight,which passed well since the KLM food again helped us to sleep (chicken curry/fish and rice,creme bavaria and little chocolate eclairs,wine and beer) we were met by our upstairs neighbour Alex who took us home in his girlfriend’s car,and gave us home made seafood pilaff and left us to rest in our apartment (home made iced tea in fridge on arrival!).
Next morning we had a boring staff meeting and met colleagues old and new and on Monday will begin teaching again. Had to get a new phone number as apparently my number is dead since I didn’t use it for 3 months.It was really nice to run into old friends and to meet some of the new teachers.Next Weekend is already a national holiday for Mid Autumn Festival.Most probably we will stay around here and only go away for National Week in October.
All is well back in Xiamen