Alright, well, when I last left off, I was sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting for my delayed flight with an impromptu quick little day trip to Frankfurt on the horizon.

So, let’s see how it all turned out, shall we?

Spoiler alert – it wasn’t smooth!

It’s funny, all the twists and turns that happened today didn’t break me.   Not even close.   I’m so genuinely happy to be out there exploring the world again that the little hiccups don’t faze me one bit.

I’ve always said that the bad experiences and the days where nothing goes right make for some of the best story telling down the road.

The flight to Frankfurt

As I previously wrote, my flight to Amsterdam was actually 2 flights – a 10 hour flight to Frankfurt followed by a short little hour flight to Amsterdam.

The flight to Frankfurt actually was delayed a further 30 minutes from the original 90 minute delay.   I mean, I had already spent hours in the airport anyway, so what was another 30 minutes, right?

Not fazed at all.

I mentioned in my last blog that I had discovered some unexpected problems with traveling with only a carryon backpack.

There was that little fiasco with my toiletries and security control.

Well, found another unexpected problem today as well – boarding at the end now sucks.

I used to always laugh at all the suckers lining up to board the plane while I just sat in the chair waiting til the very end of the line.   I mean, that plane ain’t going anywhere sooner if you’re on it before the rest of us.

I was sooooo smart.

Problem is, when you have a big backpack that needs to go in an overhead compartment, they’re all full by the end.

After I got to my seat near the back of the plane, I had to actually walk all the way back near the front to find a bin that had room for my backpack.   Even then, there was a little tetris action taking place to squeeze it in there.

Yeah, so that was a little adventure.

By the time I got back to my seat, everyone had now boarded.   I had an aisle seat in the center of the plane and the women who was sitting in the middle seat asked the flight attendant if she could move to an open aisle seat in another row.

Since there was no one else boarding, she was given the okay which meant I had an empty seat next to me.


There would be no fighting over the armrest on this flight.   Also, plenty of room to stretch your legs and a convenient place to place your stuff during the flight.

Things were looking up!

Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows…

Naturally the row behind me was occupied by two very annoying kids.   Not just the usual crying but a constant barrage of little feet kicking the back of my chair throughout the flight.

I was annoyed but I WAS NOT FAZED!

In fact, there was a moment there during the flight where I genuinely had tears in my eyes.   I was just so happy to be out there again and just kind of laughed off the little annoying bits going on around me.

Air Canada food

Okay, let’s talk about the food Air Canada gave me…

Yeah, it sucked.

Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to get a gluten-free cookie with my meal but the damn thing was broken in a million pieces.   I mean, that’s just blasphemy!

Okay, in all seriousness though, the breakfast they served us was pathetic.

Yeah, that’s it.   We were given brown paper bags with a fruit cup and a muffin inside.

Not even a normal sized muffin, like a mini muffin.

Oh, and my gluten free muffin was so dry it was inedible.

Come on, Air Canada, do better.   That truely was the worst meal I’ve been served on a flight and I’ve had my fair share over the course of all my trips.

So, yeah, pretty annoyed at Air Canada.

But, you know what?   Not fazed.

Just kept on smiling…

Frankfurt layover

We finally landed in Frankfurt at 10am, a full two hours later than expected.   Of course “landing” doesn’t actually mean the time you step out of the airport.

It took a good half hour to deplane, load up onto buses to drive us from the tarmac to the airport, and then walk (and walk, and walk) to customs.

Seriously, the Frankfurt airport is huge!

The line at customs was reasonable and getting through was ridiculously easy.

By the time I dropped my big backpack off at left-luggage, it was 11am.   So, while we landed at 10am, I didn’t actually leave the airport for another hour, even without any checked bags to pickup.

No worries, though.   My next flight was at 4:30 which meant I didn’t have to be back at the airport for another 3 hours for checkin at 2.

Three hours in Frankfurt.

I now had an opportunity, albeit brief, to go explore a city (and country for that matter) I had never visited before.

What to do?   What to do?

Because I literally had zero time to plan out anything for this city, I decided to just hop on the S Bahn train into the center of the city and see where my feet would take me.

The train system here in Frankfurt is bonkers and, of course, having done zero research, I was doing alot of “excuse me, do you speak English?” along the way.

“Excuse me, do you speak English?   Which train do I catch to get into downtown?”

Yeah, alot of those kind of questions this afternoon.

The train into the city only took 18 minutes and I bought a return ticket for around 10 euros ($15).

A quick walk, a quick lunch

It was a cold and grey day in Frankfurt today but luckily the rain had kept away.

I got off the metro and stepped into my first foreign city in FIVE years.

That alone was the moment.

The moment where everything became real – I was traveling again.   I was on new adventures and I couldn’t stop smiling.

I did a quick little walk around and then decided to search out some German food.

I couldn’t have Schnizel cause, ya know, being celiac and all, but I was on the prowl for another one of Germany’s famous delights – sausage.

I wanted to find a nice little place away from the touristy area I was in where I’d be able to have more of a genuine experience.

After a bit of a search, I finally came across a menu board that had exactly what I was looking for – a plethora of authentic German dishes.

The meal itself wasn’t cheap at 20 euros ($30), but I didn’t care – I was on vacation and money, it seemed, was going to be flowing out of my pockets.


Anyway, I headed back to the airport just before 2pm.

I did have a bit of a scare as a random girl I asked at the train platform sent me on the wrong train line.   Luckily, I noticed it after a couple of stops.   I quickly got off, hopped on the train back in the other direction back to the station.

This time, I decided to walk up the stairs and ask someone official.   The guy was super friendly and even walked me down to which platform I should catch my train.

Soon after I was back at the airport and after a couple of hours of free wifi (thanks Frankfurt airport!), we were boarding the plane.

By the way, did I mention that this airport was huge?

We loaded up on buses to get to our plane camped out on the tarmac and the bus ride was long.   Like, really long.   Ever time we turned a corner and saw a new Lufthansa plane I thought, “oh, here’s our plane” but, nope, we just kept on bussing.

I actually think our plane was a full 5km out of the main terminal.


Anyway, we did eventually get to the plane.   It was a little small one with only 4 seats per row and probably only around 40 rows.   The plane was less than half full so it almost – almost – felt like being in a private plane.

On to Amsterdam

By 5:30 we had landed in Amsterdam.


I finally made it!

By now, it had been almost 24 hours since my friend Andrew had picked me up to take me to the airport.

Yeah, it was a long day.

I took a 30 minute bus ride on the #300 into the city of Haarlem (no, not that Harlem) and by 6:30pm I was walking towards my hostel.

Haarlem is only 20 minutes outside of Amsterdam but so much quieter (and cheaper) than the craziness of the big city.

For those who know me, I’m more about the small towns than the big cities so this works out perfectly.

Before I had left for my trip I had mapped out the walking directions to the hostel and even had taken the time to look at the route on street-view.

It was a bit surreal to be now actually walking on the streets and passing the buildings I had previously only seen on Google maps.

At 7pm, I had reached my hostel and the two front desk people couldn’t have been friendlier.   After a bit of talk about traveling (man, I missed that part about traveling), I was shown to my 6 bed dorm room where I was pleasantly surprised that I would be the only occupied bed for the night.

Sweet!   A dorm room to myself!   I couldn’t think of anything better after a long and grueling commute to get here.

Don’t get me wrong.   One of the reasons I book dorm rooms is because it’s really easy to meet other cool travelers but, for tonight, I was happy to have all this space to myself.

A long day one but I was here and I’m ready to go.

Still can’t believe it’s been five years.

Oh, and that bit about foreshadowing – yeah, you’re gonna have to wait for the next blog.

Okay, well, let’s see what adventures await…

BeNeLux Trip 2023, Trip Journal, On My Way
Benelux 2023
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