It’s that time again.
I have something to think about for the next five months.
Actually, I have another trip to think about for the coming seven months, too, but I’m setting that one aside for another post.
This one is for that $635 round-trip flight I booked a few weeks ago. From Denver. Destination Amsterdam. Yes, Denver is an eight-plus-hour drive from where I live, but for that price, and with a week off, the way I see it I’d be crazy not to go. So go I shall.
Don’t you get excited when you’re planning a big trip? If you travel as I do (that is, as often as you are able), then you’re familiar with this feeling. It’s opportunity. Other people buy season passes for skiing. Other people buy nice clothes. They buy Christmas gifts. They buy their friends dinner or rounds of drinks. I’m not other people, I suppose.
Finding the right flight is the first step. This time around, I used google flights after receiving a hot tip from a friend that airfares for the coming months were in the toilet (in that feel-good sort of way, you know?). They don’t need the advertising, but there ya go. It’s the first time I’ve used googleflights for a Europe trip, and it worked well for me – directed me straight to the cheapest source. I tried for Salt Lake and Denver departures heading to every European destination. Apparently, I missed the oh-so-low fares departing from my hometown, so I had to settle for the next best thing – Denver – so I went for it.
Last time I was in Amsterdam, it was high tourist season (no pun, honestly), and it was the annual Pride Festival, and it was… well, a bit crowded for my taste. Partly out of consideration of these factors, I stayed outside the city in a lovely little caravan-based hostel called Lucky Lake. (I highly recommend it for someone looking for cheaper options outside the city – the hostel’s shuttle to the commuter rail system was very easy to use and the staff were friendly.) I visited the Riijksmuseum and finished a draft. It was a great visit, but I only had three days. This time it’ll be six – a bit better.
This time, I’m going for it. I’m staying in the neighborhood of the Riijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum. I use Hostelworld, of course – especially when I don’t already know the city very well, and Amsterdam is a place I don’t know well. (Once I get what I consider to be a firm grasp on a city, I’m apt to rent an apartment instead of getting a hostel room.)
The way I travel, especially when it comes to Amsterdam, probably, is different from the way other people travel. I’m on a student’s budget, but not on a student’s schedule of interests – I’m there for museums, coffee-laden workspaces (for writing), historical sites, and self-directed walking tours. I’ve made a few nights’ reservation at Hostel Van Gogh because it has single-person rooms for a reasonable rate and looks to have breakfast available. I’ve also got a hold on a 4-bed dorm for few nights at ClinkNOORD, a free ferry ride across the river from the central part of the city. I have a few goals for the trip: (1) outline a few novels from which I’ll choose one to write over the summer’s trip; (2) see some interesting art and buildings; and (3) feel no pressure whatsoever to do anything else.
Any suggestions about where to work and walk and what to see? (Already on the list are the aforementioned state and Van Gogh museums and the Anne Frank house.)