Leaving Ibiza and Rotterdam’s Windmills

This article is the eighth in a series on my month long trip to Ibiza for the closing parties and Amsterdam for the Amsterdam Dance Event.

  1. How I am going to the Ibiza closing parties and Amsterdam Dance Event in business class for $239
  2. Ibiza Here I come!
  3. Arrival in Ibiza – SIM cards, hotels and my first night of clubbing
  4. Ibiza Closing Parties: Luciano & Friends, Hot Natured, Marco Carola Music On
  5. Ibiza Closing Parties: Vagabundos at Pacha, Circo Loco at DC-10, Cocoon Heroes Closing at Amnesia
  6. Ibiza Closing Parties: Ovum Closing at Space, Cafe Del Mar, and r:piar:r Closing at Privilege
  7. Ibiza Closing Parties: Space Closing Party and Circo Loco Closing Party
  8. Leaving Ibiza and Rotterdam’s Windmills.

Missing flights has become sort of an epidemic with me, but there is usually a night of fun responsible.  This was no exception.  Crazy Belgians and crazy times.  I knew I had missed my puddle jumper flight on Air Europa (where I was going to credit the flights to Delta since they are part of the SkyTeam alliance), but I headed to the airport anyhow because I had found if you are in person, they sometimes will make accommodations they wouldn’t over the phone.

When I got there, I got the bad news that they only have one flight a day to Barcelona and they could get me on the flight the next day but I would have to buy a ticket for 300€!  Note to self: if you like to miss flights then when you book make sure there is more than one flight a day so you can catch a later flight!  I checked around with other airlines but they either were sold out, or wouldn’t get me to Barcelona in time to catch my connection to Amsterdam via Zurich.  Also since my puddle jumper flight was booked outside of the award ticket with United, I was gonna have to pay a $75 change fee to change my ticket.  It is always good to think outside the box and I looked at a bunch of different variations to try to get off Ibiza but since it was the end of the season, all the flights were packed to mainland Spain.  Since my end destination was Amsterdam (and was planned to be a grueling IBZ-BCN-ZRH-AMS trek) I looked and found a seat on Vueling Airlines on a non stop flight the next day for $238.  I called United and asked about dropping the leg from BCN to AMS on my award ticket and they said they could do it.  I would still have to pay a $75 rebooking fee, but since I would be skipping Barcelona and Zurich, my taxes for the award ticket would go down almost $90. Score!  That took a little of the bite out of making that decision so my night of fun in Ibiza would only cost me an extra $200 or so.

So I get back to my hotel and tell them I need to stay another night and they inform me that the hotel is shutting down for the season that day and so that wouldn’t be possible.  They did refer me onto another hotel close by that was able to accommodate me. I decided to stay in that night to prevent a repeat and left the next day without incident.

Arrival into The Netherlands was uneventful and my first order of business after clearing customs was to get a SIM card for my iPhone.  I had read online that there is an “Airport Telecom Shop” that sells a variety of SIM cards.  It turns out that that is only halfway true.  The small telecom shop does sell SIM cards with voice, data and texts for the iPhone but only on Ortel Mobile which isn’t the best for pricing, but it isn’t the worst either. There was another electronics shop in the terminal that did have more SIM cards but they didn’t have the SIM cutter necessary to fit it into an iPhone 4S.  I probably should invest in a compact SIM cutter to take with me on trips since this isn’t the first time I have had this problem.

My friend Andres is doing a semester abroad in Rotterdam which is about 30 mins by train from Amsterdam so I then had to attempt to use their automated train ticket kiosks.

I quickly tried both my Schwab international debit card and my Chase Sapphire Preferred with no luck.  I then remembered that some parts of Europe now require “Chip” based cards that have a chip embedded into the card itself.  I actually have one of these cards, the Chase British Airways card, but left it at home! I had read that you could get around this problem by going to the ticket counter, but when I got there they informed me that not only could they not accept a card without a chip, but also they were going to charge me an extra €0.5 for using the counter and paying cash! Ugh!  So you will either need a bunch of Euro coins (which is hard since you just arrived in the country) or a chip card to buy train tickets without paying the surcharge. That hurdle out of the way, I headed to Rotterdam in a quick journey and then transferred to the metro to my friends station.  He met me there and we walked to his apartment, in a somewhat dodgy student housing area.

Over the next week, we took things pretty easy hanging out with his friends from college that took me back to my friends at Vanderbilt.  A far cry from Ibiza, the bars we frequented had some of the worst music I have ever heard. They actually played Gangnam Style on several occasions and I caught Andres jamming a time or two.

But I had a great time and we made some good memories.

I went to a street market right near his apartment one day and was impressed with the variety and pricing of all the goodies.

On one of the last days before we went to Amsterdam, I decided to do something culturally significant and saw some of the largest windmills in the world in Schiedam.  While not as well known as the ones in Kinderdijk, they were still quite impressive to me.

Andres and I then went to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen at the Museumpark Metro stop which has a great modern art wing with a nice collection of surrealistic works.

Andres and I even sneaked into this giant tower where I am sure we weren’t supposed to be and got some amazing shots over the city of Rotterdam.

You can see the tower we were in on top of the building behind me, wow!

Rotterdam is a beautiful city even if it is overshadowed by its big brother, Amsterdam.

After getting our cultural fix, it was time to leave for Amsterdam for more great music at the Amsterdam Dance Event!  In my next post I will talk about the fun we had trying to get good hotel rates there and some of the tips and tricks I used along the way.