THURSDAY - Travel Day, New Delhi to Helsinki to Amsterdam
We wake up before the 6:30 wake up call and get dressed and packed before heading to breakfast. The Oberoi package has been a wonderful experience well worth every penny. Each hotel’s staff has been wonderful, truly a luxury experience at every property. It is amazing that four different hotels would all have such consistent excellent service. We will try to visit more of the Oberoi properties in Asia in the future...they are a destination in themselves!
The hotel car takes us to airport at 8 as the final part of our Oberoi package. It takes about 30 minutes in moderate traffic. We see a lot more of the airport this time and think it is probably one of the nicest we have been in. We like the idea of only allowing people with tickets in.
After all the worry about the carry on limit there is absolutely no issue at check in except that everything has to have a carry on tag including our canes and Carolyn’s passport pouch! Since Carolyn is using her cane, they call for a wheelchair which makes thing simpler and we are off on our all day of flying!
Security is no problem, no line and very fast then we are taken to a nice BC lounge where we wait for about an hour before being taken to the plane. The BC section on the FinnAir is nice and the seats are the lay flat type. About half the BC seats are empty. We can’t see the back of the plane though there didn’t seem to be many people waiting to board. The flight is smooth and uneventful, the service is good though the food choices are not to our liking.
We arrive in Helsinki a little early and are met with a wheelchair for Carolyn thankfully because it is a long walk across the airport to our departure gate. We have to go through immigration since this is our entrance point to the EU and even thought we do not ever leave the secure area we have to go through security again. They do the strip search routine and take the hand luggage apart checking all liquids in the little baggies and all the electronics. This sends Dick in orbit since we have just gotten off a 7 hour FinAir flight, where do they think we could have gotten a bomb!! Oh well, the joys of travel!
There connection time is 55 minutes which is a legal connection, but it is really tight. They are beginning the final boarding call for our flight when we get there. The young man pushing the wheelchair is not concerned and keeps telling us all is well, but we are a bit stressed. This is a commuter flight on a A318 and is the 3-3 configuration with BC having the middle seat free. Fortunately it is only a little over two hours. We could have flown on KLM direct for $2000 more each, but it really wasn’t worth it in Carolyn’s mind since the flight left at 1AM and the total travel time was only 90 minutes less.
We get to Amsterdam about 6 PM. It is cool and very windy. We are very tired and ready to get settled so we head direct to the taxi stand instead of using the much cheaper shuttle that we used last time. There has been to major pile up in two different places on the major ring around Amsterdam so traffic is a mess. The driver winds up giving us a tour of the harbor area before getting us to our hotel, 75e later. We get checked in and are taken to our room on the 4th floor, it is next door to the one we had in the fall, but is a double not the twin Carolyn requested. Back down to the front desk, the lady checks and there are no twins with a canal view open tonight (the draw back of a late arrival), but she can change us tomorrow. For tonight if I want they will make up the day bed in our room. Carolyn agrees to this as there is no way she and Dick will get any sleep on a old fashioned double bed.
We have had a very long day and are really hungry. So we get cleaned up and head to Noock, the Asian restaurant we discovered last fall. We have rally been looking forward to eating here again. It is about three blocks from the hotel and has table available when we arrive. We order a bottle of rose wine, a bowl of Pho Bo and to dim sum sample platters that have the wonderful shrimp spring rolls on them. Heaven!!The wine is cold and the food is fresh and hot! We have a delightful dinner. It is good to be back in Amsterdam!
A bracing walk back to the hotel in the cold night air and we fall into bed and sleep the sleep of the well traveled!