Over the weekend, I met up with a classmate from law school who had a long layover at Schiphol Airport. With close to 6 hours to spare before her connecting flight and because Amsterdam is an easy 20-minute train ride from the airport,  there was more than enough time for her to have a quick tour around Amsterdam. Here’s a look at how we spent day:

10 – 10:30 – We purchased round-trip train tickets to Amsterdam and took the train into the city.

10:30 – 11:45 – We started off just walking around, giving Monica a chance to stretch her legs as she gets a look at the city. Things are pretty quiet in Amsterdam
until about noon on a Sunday, but things livened up a bit when we got to the Bloemenmarkt
(flower market).   

The floating flower market situated on barges on
the Singel Canal is filled with an impressive array of plants and flowers,
including the famous Dutch tulips. Monica picked up a few tulip bulbs to take home to plant, so that in the spring she’ll have a wonderful reminder of her time in Holland. 

After we finished admiring the flowers
at the Bloemenmarkt, we walked past the Anne Frank House, and though this museum is a
must-see in my opinion
, we didn’t feel we had enough time to really see it and
fully take it in.  However, we did see that the line to get in was snaked around the corner, as it always is. My advise to anyone interested
in visiting the museum should buy tickets online
to avoid that crazy, long

11:45 – 12:40 The loud grumbling in our stomachs indicates that it’s time to find lunch.  Fortunately, we are steps away from the Pancake Bakery. Let me be upfront and say that no, this is not a place where locals go. It’s pretty much tourist central. But the pancakes, or pannekoeken as they are called in Dutch, are tasty, and the restaurant was conveniently located near the canal boat tour, where we were headed next. 

12:45 – 1:45 – Amsterdam is known as the “Venice of the
” because it has so many canals, and a canal boat tour is a great way to
see some of them, including the four main ones –  Singel, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and
Prinsengracht – which are on the UNESCO World
Heritage List

We half-heartedly listened to the audio guide, which gives commentary in English and several other languages, instead making our own commentary, catching up on what’s being going on in each other’s lives since the nearly 2 decades since we’d last seen each other, and just enjoying cruising along the Amstel on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

1:45 – 3:00 – We continued our walk around Amsterdam, admiring the architecture, taking photos, and slowly making our way back toward the train station. 

But not before stopping to indulge in one of Amsterdam’s most popular street food: frites. We stood in line to get a paper cone (we were “good” and shared a small portion) filled with thick, crispy fries, served with a dollop of sauce. The most popular sauce among the Dutch is the mayonnaise-like fritessaus, however, I am having none of that. Instead, we agreed on the tasty sate sauce. Lekker!

3 – 3:30 – Done with the carbo-loading, we take the train back to the airport and arrive in plenty of time for Monica to check-in for her flight. 

I can’t think of a more civilized way to spend a layover, can you?

How long was the longest layover you ever had and where were you? 
What did you do to pass the time?