The Arrival … Amsterdam

On this day last year … we landed in Amsterdam. I haven’t been to the Schipol Airport since Russell and I had a stopover when we were en route to Prague, meeting Mark who was in the Chech Republic shooting Bad Company, twenty years ago. 
What a difference a couple of decades makes! 

As you can see, the airport is beautiful. Fresh and bright, modern and filled with light and color. 
What you can’t see is the air quality. Twenty years ago, just walking through the terminal, you could taste the cigarette smoke in your own mouth. As an ex-smoker, I was appalled, as I always am, at the stench I happily lived with when I was still hooked! 

This time around, looking at the welcoming seating areas, the painted wooden tulips, the chocolates for sale in the gift shop, we debated trying to enter Amsterdam instead of flying onto Lisbon. We could easily begin our 90 day tour from the north and circle in a southerly direction through Belgium, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. We’d promised each other we would be flexible, open to all possibilities. Mark had made a few reservations, including for our initial stay in Lisbon but everything was
open to change. The Netherlands was not. Even though we were fully vaxxed and had just tested negative for Covid, the Netherlands had put the US on their red list. No entry. Sorry Madam! 
(What a difference a couple of months would make. When we returned to Amsterdam later in our trip, the city was wide open, no masking required except when traveling on public transportation. And the city counts today as one of our favorite places.) 
So we flew onto Lisbon, having no idea really, what to expect. We certainly didn’t expect to fall in love with the place, the famous pasteis pastry or the people. But we did. 


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