Out of the Suitcase
A Traveller's Tale by Carol Buxton
Someone said 'It is better to travel than to arrive'. Wrong. Parking the car at the airport at 05.15 (Pre-booked Parking Only Zone) we find that we have accidentally not pre- booked, so they charge us double to let us stay. The shuttle bus to 'Departures' cannot close its doors, so we wait for a man with a wrench, and we wait...
As things tend to go in threes, I dare not anticipate the next one, so I'm almost pleased when they refuse me entry at The Gate as I have a (small) handbag as well as my carry-on suitcase. A man two places in front of me was allowed to have his man bag (which is larger than my handbag) as well as his suitcase, but I am so delighted that this obstacle is Number Three that I smile as I stuff it into my suitcase, and do not even contemplate possible sexism.
Arriving at our destination airport. I am hungry, but my husband wants to get to the hotel before we eat. It is only 08.00 GMT after all, so we go to buy a train ticket. The ticket machine will only take coins, not notes, and we fail to have the €10.80 in coins that it demands (this includes a supplement of €2 as we are buying single tickets).
Who has €10.80 in coins anyway? The machine refuses to accept my Debit Card, and I refuse to give it my Credit Card as it will charge me extra, and I have a mean streak, so we stand in the queue at the Ticket Office, where a nice man smiles, tells me the number of the platform and wishes me a nice day. We get to the Central Station, where I am so hungry that I could eat my suitcase, but my husband wants to get to the hotel. Outside the station there is a ferry, but no taxis, so we walk the length of a (long) concourse to find one. Success.
At the hotel they are so busy selling sightseeing tickets to their visitors that we wait...and wait to be checked in. They invite us to wait in the lounge and offer us complimentary coffee, which we accept, but as they fail to call us when the desk becomes free, we start to queue again. Eventually they welcome us and tell us that breakfast is served until 11am. It is now 11.10 and service has stopped.
Otherwise everything is fine, so 'Hello Amsterdam', you're gorgeous.
About the Author
Carol decided to become a writer at the age of six, but more practical roles took precedence. Taking early retirement from charity administration, she gained a degree in English Studies & Creative Writing at Ruskin College, Oxford, and a Masters in English Literature from King’s College, London, which rekindled this early ambition.
An avid traveller, she likes to combine travelling with her passion for listening to, and performing, classical music.