Flight to Russia – Layover in Amsterdam

After arriving at the gate, we waited to exit the plane for quite a while due to the fact we were near the back of the plane and several people in front of us had to exit first. Once we exited the plane, we were tired, but really excited for the opportunity to go to downtown Amsterdam.

We strolled through the terminal making our way to Passport Control and to the exit of the airport. We stopped and took a few pictures along the way.

Then waited in line for just a few minutes to have our passports checked and we were able to exit the terminal and make our way to the underground train station.

We waited for the Nederlandse Spoorwegen Train to Amsterdam Central Station, and once the train arrived, we boarded and enjoyed our 20 minute ride into town admiring the views out the train window.

Before we knew it, we arrived at Amsterdam Central Station. We exited the train, walked down the platform, and exited the train station and we found ourselves at the edge of downtown Amsterdam. We were feeling very low on energy, dizzy, but very excited to see the city.

We made our way down Damrak Street to Dam Square, but not without stopping at Vlaamse Frites to pick up some world-famous Dutch Frites (french fries) with mayonnaise, a beef croquette, and some dessert for the girls.

Once we finished our food, we continued down the street to Dam Square. Once we arrived at Dam Square we spent several minutes there taking pictures, enjoying the surrounding plaza and famous buildings, and people watching. There is no shortage of unique people hanging around Dam Square. There are plenty of mimes, musicians, pan-handlers, people dressed in costume, and just about anything else, if you can imagine it, someone is probably doing it as you read at Dam Square in Amsterdam.

 

Once we felt we had enough of Dam Square, we moved a couple streets west and walked back toward the train station down one of the canals. The street we walked down was quiet, and it allowed us to have a more peaceful experience walking through Amsterdam. We made our way toward the train station, but had to take some detours around construction, without our phones, we would have gotten lost. Our Google Maps on our phone served as an excellent Amsterdam Tourist Map.

We finally made it back to the train station, we really wanted to stay longer and see some Amsterdam Attractions, but we were out of time and needed to get back to the airport to catch our next flight. Once inside the train station, we picked up some ice cream and milkshakes.

If you ever heard the rumor that European ice cream is light years better than American ice cream, then I’m here to tell you that it’s no rumor, it’s the truth. I’m lactose intolerant, but not today! We really enjoyed our treats in Amsterdam.

Our train arrived rather quickly and we boarded the train and took another 20 minute ride back to the airport. We arrived back at the same platform we left so it was easy to find our way back to the terminal. We had to go through security, security in Europe is a noticeably better experience than going through security at an American Airport, and you can even keep your shoes on.

Pretty quickly after going through security, we made it to passport control, and we waited in a pretty long line there. Finally we got through passport control and looked up our gate to our plane to Saint Petersburg, Russia. We had to walk a long way through the terminals to get to our gate, but we made some stops along the way.

The Amsterdam airport is unique, one section in the international terminal has a library and a relaxing area with a piano. Since our kids are taking piano lessons, they decided to play a little bit. They were playing some pretty basic music, so we were surprised when many passersby stopped and watched our girls play in amazement.

After hanging out in that section of the airport, we made our way to our gate. Once we arrived, it already felt like we were in Russia. All the people around us sitting in the chairs were speaking Russian, some had their kids and our kids played with them. Since my kids know some Russian, they were able to communicate with the other kids. They ran around, made some noise, but at least they were having fun.

Finally it was time to board our flight to Saint Petersburg. We flew on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines again and this time we flew on a Boeing 737-700. Although the airplane was basic with no IFE or WiFi, the service was still top-notch. We were fed a decent meal, and were treated really well by the flight attendants. We upgraded our seats to Premium Economy and apparently we were the only ones who did. The entire back 2/3 of the plane was completely full, and the premium economy section only had our family and one other couple. We each took a row to ourselves.

We got a nice nap on the flight and after about 3 hours of flying we arrived and touched down in Saint Petersburg about an hour after midnight local time Sunday morning.

We arrived at our gate at Saint Petersburg Pulkovo Airport and exited the plane down some stairs and to the ground. There waiting for us was a terminal bus, which we boarded and it drove us to the passport control building. Upon exiting the bus and entering the building, we noticed that everything seemed run down, in need up serious updates and repairs, I looked at my wife, and she looked at me, and we said to each other…….. Welcome to Russia!

We went through passport control where not only did they look at our passports, they also examined our Russian Tourist Visas, which are required to enter the country from most western countries. After she asked us a few questions, she let us through. We picked up our luggage, which all made it safely from Salt Lake City, through Amsterdam and all the way to Saint Petersburg. Great job KLM!!!

We were beyond exhausted and we were looking forward to going to our Hotel in Saint Petersburg. We booked our Taxi through Pulkovo Taxi service and paid the attendant directly and were able to avoid being scammed by the many fake taxi drivers.

We hopped in the taxi van, our taxi driver Ivan was extremely friendly and professional. He got us to our hotel pretty quickly. It was 2:30am Sunday morning when we arrived. By the way, it was the crack of dawn already. It doesn’t get dark in Saint Petersburg in the month of June.

It felt good to get to sleep and start off the following day in Saint Petersburg, Russia. See Saint Petersburg, Russia Day 1 to see our first day in Saint Petersburg.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Flight to Russia – Layover in Amsterdam

  1. Matt

    It certainly sounds like you had a nice family adventure. I also found your information on passport control informative as I have never been to a foreign country myself. I don’t even own a passport. I certainly would love to visit Amsterdam, but that may have to wait a while. May I ask why you and your family were traveling to Russia, just a vacation or work related?

    • admin

      Thanks for your comment!  We visited Russia to visit my mother-in-law for her birthday and to have a family reunion on my wife’s side, but we took advantage of a trip to Saint Petersburg while there.  I am going to be posting a blog post about our first day in Saint Petersburg tomorrow morning.  

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