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Monday, November 10, 2014

Notes and miscellaneous

Thought I'd add a few comments, impressions from along the way. This might not be the best time, sitting on this plane awaiting departure in Germany for the flight home. Another delayed flight. One of many. Arrived to Düsseldorf yesterday afternoon from Turkey. The airport scene in Kayseri, our point of departure in Turkey was a gong show. Shouting, pushy (why bother waiting in line), rude people, tiny, uncomfortable, cold airport, flight delayed. (An announcement just came on that this flight will be delayed getting into Schiphol and it will be iffy getting my flight out. Oh joy.) Had a nice dinner and pleasant evening with Heike. (Now there's a shrieking kid behind me while his mom yells into her cell phone, and she just goes on and on.) Up very early this morning, too anxious to sleep long. Easy U Bahn trip to the train station, found the train to the airport and went to wait for it. It seemed awfully quiet in the station and the information signs were blank. I asked a guy if this was the correct stop for the airport train and he informed me that there was a train strike. What!! Again!! So I grabbed a cab to the airport and got sorted out there and now here I sit on this plane going nowhere. Why the frig did they put us on the plane if they knew it was delayed. This is going to take some years off.

Later...... As it turned out, the flight was delayed an hour and a half. Fog in Amsterdam. No hope to make my connection. Went to the transfer point in the Schiphol airport and, of course, it was a madhouse since I wasn't the only one to miss their connection. I tried the automated service to see if there was a flight I could connect to. It informed me that I'd just missed a flight home via Calgary and that I'd have to go to the counter to rebook. Four hours later I reached a preliminary desk where I was informed that I could have gotten on that Calgary flight. Groan. Another half hour and I was actually at the desk where I was told that were no flights today and I'd have to fly tomorrow. Groan again. They put me up in a swanky Ramada Inn in Amsterdam so here I sit with a nice view over the city having just had a nice buffet dinner, full moon and a nice walk earlier where I again admired the bicycle scene here, all compliments of KLM.

The upside: lovely sunrise this morning viewed from the 17th floor dining room.

Next to the hotel is Rembrandt Park, a large, lovely park with lakes, a children's zoo, crisscrossed with foot and bike paths.

Looking out the window, I'd noticed what looked like a community garden in the park and I went to check it out. It is a School Garden I learned from the teachers, Wiek and his colleague, Pieter.

There are 13 of these School Gardens around Amsterdam with a total enrolment of around 6.5 thousand students between the ages of 9 - 11. The students learn the basics of gardening and life cycles by doing their own plots with a little classroom work when it's winter. From there I continued my walk around the park and came across the zoo where there was a little herd of some sort of pygmy goats, emus and some very unusual pigs.

Turkish cats. Cats are everywhere in turkey, mostly living on the streets. Some people feed them and I understand that some restaurants give them scraps. When dining at outdoor restaurants, they can be very aggressive jumping on the table and constantly lurking around. One place even had a spray bottle to fend them off. They're all over the ruins and swarming around and in dumpsters. (Sorry, no cat videos.)

Men in Turkey love to play games and there are game rooms and sidewalk cafés everywhere where men gather to play okey, a tile game, backgammon, cards, drink copious amounts of tea and smoke cigarettes. No women to be found.

Turkish Airlines is reputed to be the best in Europe. Not so sure about that but it was a far cry from the low fare ones. Here's what we were served:

Looks good on paper. Oh, and we're out of the chicken




























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