We landed at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam at 6am in the morning.
ZE, my niece was grateful and amazed when we walked out from plane, and said “I am here. I can’t believe it. The air ticket is so expensive. I am really, really lucky.”
She is a very-well-brought-up young lady by her parents. Traveling with her brings a whole new experience.
I didn’t know what to expect when we were about to approach Immigration at Passport Control. We were well-prepared with necessary documents, read here if you missed my earlier post.
Despite that, I was still a tiny-miny bit of anxious. ZE perhaps felt my feeling, and she was rather quiet.
The officer questioned whether I am ZE’s mom, and I said “No, I am her aunt.” She asked these questions few times, “Where are her parents? Why are they not here?” I patiently repeated same answers all over again, “They are in Malaysia. I am traveling here, and my niece followed me.”
I was also asked to show our return flight ticket, to show that we do intend to return to Malaysia, and not overstay in the Netherlands, more like it.
I also showed a completed ‘Letter of Consent for Child Traveling Abroad‘ filled by ZE’s parents, even though the immigration officer didn’t ask.
The officer also asked about our travel itinerary, and whether we have our accommodation (s) booked. So, I told her about flying in and out Amsterdam, and we will be covering few countries. I told her that we have booked all accommodations, and whether she wants to see all booking confirmations, but it’s a whole stack of papers, since we’ll be traveling around. She didn’t check it.
That was all about it. The immigration officer didn’t ask to see ZE’s birth certificate, her parents’ passport, etc, etc. Nevertheless, it was good to be prepared. And we still have three more countries to clear Immigration.
As soon as we were cleared, I said to ZE, “I am glad that the officer checked. They are doing their job, unlike immigration in Malaysia and Thailand.” I didn’t want her to start off her trip, feeling that she gives me problem.
Hallelujah. She agreed with me, and we started off well.
We then had to ‘hunt down‘ our baggage claim carousel. We were confused as our flight number indicates origin country as Jakarta, instead of Kuala Lumpur, on the baggage claim carousel information board.
I should be quicker on my feet. Blame it on jetlag .. We finally tracked down our bags, and we were probably the last few bags on the baggage conveyor belt.
Two passengers on our flight told us their luggage were missing. I silently hope that ZE learned something out of it. She initially refused to pack one set of clothes in her hand-carry, like what I advised. She said “the probability is too low for this to happen.”
Our Amazing Race started really slow. And we also took our own sweet time at Schipol airport.
We checked at tourist info, but there is no ‘free map‘ at tourist information at Schipol airport. They sell it at €2.50.
I then bought my Annoymous OV-chipkaart with €7.50 one-time fee and additional €20.00 credit. In hindsight, I should have loaded it with more credit, there is a minimum requirement of €4, €10 or €20 depending on travel mode.
I didn’t get ZE a card, as it doesn’t benefit her.
We kept our eyes opened throughout for Miffy statues at Schipol Plaza. We only found one out of two. ZE spotted it; not me. Read here for more info about Miffy the Nijntje Art Parade.
We then walked out from Schipol Plaza, and it was cold (12°C at that time). ZE said, “now I understand what you meant by it will be cold when the wind blows.”
Initially, she didn’t want to pack thicker jackets, saying that she wasn’t cold in New Zealand during winter season, so autumn in Europe should be okay. So I explained that it is rainy season in Europe, and expect to be really cold, especially when the wind blows.
We spotted I Amsterdam signage and spent a bit time there taking photo.
ZE exclaimed that her little sister would have been crazy with cheerful bright yellow sunflowers near the I Amsterdam signange. The two sisters are really close.
Two hours after we landed at Schipol, we finally walked to bus station, for our bus to Aalsmeer Flower Auction market, which I’ll cover in a separate post.