Eeeek!

Yesterday, J. and I spend a considerable amount of time staring at different flight options for getting to Amsterdam and back. Boy, the airlines do not make it easy do they? The whole process is a little confusing and frustrating and kind of makes you feel as though you're being taken advantage of. I love going places, but I do not enjoy finding and buying the tickets.

We eventually found some flights that seemed like our best deal even though they were the super economy ones where pretty much they'll give a seat... somewhere on the plane... but don't think you'll get a choice of where it is or very much else for that matter. Since we aren't traveling with young children (because the super economy price does not guarantee you'll be seated together), we decided we could take whichever horrible middle seats they assign us and make due for seven hours. It's not as though it's a 14+ hour flight to Asia. It's also totally worth it to get to meet P. when her ship docks.

Annoyances aside, we're very excited. We'll leave Chicago on May 19 and arrive in London early in the morning on the 20th. We'll have several hours of a layover in Toronto in between. London was by the far the cheapest arrival city of all that we looked at, even factoring in the cost of train tickets to get to Amsterdam. Since we'll be flying into London, we will take a couple of days to do some sight-seeing. We don't have the tickets yet, but I think we'll be taking the train to Amsterdam on the 22nd. The Class Afloat activities start on the 23rd with the ship arriving on the 24th. There are different activities and programs scheduled until the 26th when the students leave the ship. We'll have one more full day in Amsterdam, then on the 28th we'll take the train back to London, and all fly home together on a direct flight on the 29th.

Since we actually bought the non-refundable and non-changeable plane tickets, I guess we are really going. It seems a little unreal. I've always wanted to visit these two cities and now I'm going to. So now, I need your help as we continue to plan for this trip. If you are familiar with these cities, tell me... best (inexpensive!) places to stay, things to do, things we need to know. I can feel myself entering full research mode and just put several books on hold at the library. I also put a beginning Dutch language program on hold because I hate traveling somewhere I don't have any idea about the language.

All ideas and thoughts are welcome!

Comments

Rusulica said…
London has many free museums, I HIGHLY recommend the British museum!
Anonymous said…
Yes to the British Museum. Also, make sure that your hotel offers free breakfast, as that can help with the budget!
Anonymous said…
Try Christian Flatshare
Gretchen said…
We spent a happy day in Haarlem- a very short train ride from Amsterdam. Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place) had a profound effect on me and my growth as a Christian. It was wonderful to visit her house and see where everything happened. Also, the Grote Kerk church one block away houses the famous Müller Organ. They give concerts once or twice a week that are free (or used to be). Such an exciting journey you are getting ready to take!
Annie G said…
National Gallery is free, Victoria and Albert also free, climb to the very top of St Paul's it was awesome, also a lot of stairs. Get the oyster card you can get anywhere by train and bus. We were with a conference and I don't even remember the hotels, only that one was near Pimilco.
Sue said…
Download the Rick Steve’s Europe app (free) on your phone. Within the app download the Amsterdam City Walk and the Amsterdam Jordaan walk before you leave home. We used this app as well as Rick Steve’s guidebooks for several areas in Europe and found them very helpful.

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