Backpacking to Europe – Part 3: Biljmer Arena, Amsterdam

Previously

Keluar dari perut kapal terbang, rasa sejuk menujah-nujah badan, macam aku tengah berjalan dalam peti sejuk. “Sayang, ni sejuk aircond ke atau sejuk dari luar?”, aku tanya Mira, isteri aku. Mira pun tak tahu. Ni kali pertama kami ke Eropah dan kali pertama nak merasai musim sejuk. Jadi, mana kami tahu. Aku tak dapat jawapan kepada persoalan tu tapi yang penting, aku rasa sejuk dan aku suka. Dengan sehelai baju dalam disarung dengan sehelai baju fleece sweater, tangan kiri pegang winter jacket yang teramatlah berat (dan sepanjang trip ni, sekali je aku betul-betul pakai. Sekali! Pffttt), aku pun berjalan ikut travelator menuju ke imigresen dengan ikut arah signboard. Dalam perjalanan, sempatlah Mira singgah toilet dulu. Aku kat luar toilet dah teruja tahap maksimum nak cepat-cepat lepas imigresen.

As we exited the aircraft, I could feel the cold temperature blanketing my body, as if I was walking in a fridge. “Honey, is it the air conditioner or is it really cold outside?”, I asked Mira, my wife. She did not know. In fact, both of us did not know since it was our first time in Europe and our first time experiencing winter. I did not get my answer but it did not matter. I loved the cold weather. With 2-layer clothing and my left arms holding my winter jacket, I walked along the travelator heading towards the immigration counter, just following the signboards.

Kami jalan ikut arah papan tanda, masuk dalam autogate, jalan lagi, turun tanga sikit dan akhirnya sampailah ke kaunter imigresen. Panjang kaunter dia. Ada dua bahagian, satu untuk pasport negara-negara EU  dan satu lagi, untuk lain-lain pasport. Kalau rasa acah-acah orang European Union, bolehlah pergi ke bahagian pasport EU. Kalau sedar diri macam kami, ikut lorong pasport lain-lain.

We followed the signboards, went into the autogate, continued walking, went down a few flights of stairs until finally, we reached the immigration counters. The counter was long and there were two sections – one for EU residents and another for other countries.

Kaunter je panjang, tapi yang jaga kaunternya 3 orang je! Kami pun beratur, sabar menunggu giliran. Nasib abang imigresen tu kacak, sejuk jugaklah hati ni kan. Tiba giliran kami, aku ajak Mira jalan sekali dengan aku (Tips: Untuk memudahkan urusan imigresen kalau korang in group, elok pergi untuk cop pasport tu in group. Sekali jalan. Mudah dan cepat) dan aku bagi pasport kami kat abang imigresen tu.

The counter is long but it was only manned by 3 officers! We lined up patiently, waiting for our turn. Thank God the officers were handsome, it soothed our heart. Haha. When it was our turn, I asked Mira to follow behind me and went together (Tips: To ease the immigration process, it is better for those coming in a group to stick to the group when dealing with the immigration officers). I handed over our passports to him.

“Hello”, dia tegur sambil separa senyum. Oklah separa senyum. Kenalah tunjuk garang kan, nama penjaga pintu sempadan. Kalau kat Malaysia, tak senyum langsung! Haha. “Hello, sir” aku jawab balik. “Staying in Amsterdam?”, dia tanya aku pulak. “Yes, staying in Amsterdam”, kata aku. Lepas tu, bermulah sesi Q&A untuk dia nak pastikan yang aku ni memang betul-betul nak travel je, bukan nak jadi PATI kat sana.

“Hello”, he greeted us, half smiling. Better than Malaysian officers who rarely smiled. “Hello, sir” I replied back. “Staying in Amsterdam?”, he asked me further. “Yes, sir. Staying in Amsterdam”, said I. Then, the Q&A session started.

Ni soalan-soalan (bocor) yang ditanya pada aku:

He asked these questions:

  1. Where are you staying in Amsterdam?
  2. Can I see the booking?
  3. What are you doing in Amsterdam?
  4. How many days will you be in Amsterdam?
  5. Then, where are you heading to?
  6. How many days you are travelling in total?
  7. Tell me your travel plan.

Lepas aku berjaya memuaskan hati dia dengan jawapan-jawapan aku dan aku nampak dia angkat cop untuk cop pasport aku, hati aku berbunga-bunga. Rasa macam baru lulus exam PTD yang susah nak lulus tu. “Coppp!” bunyi dia cop pasport aku dan Mira. Alhamdulilah, dengan rasminya kami kini di bumi Belanda.

After I managed to answer the questions with flying colours (hahaha), he raised his stamp and “copppp!” he stamped our passports. “Officially, we are in the Netherlands!”, my heart joyed. 

Lepas keluar dari bahagian imigresen, aku ke tempat ambil luggage. Mira bawa luggage kuning yang kami beli di Bangkok masa honeymoon tahun 2015 dulu. Aku pakai backpack yang aku pakai semenjak aku solo travel tahun 2013 dulu. Angkat beg, jalan cepat-cepat dan kami pun keluar ke balai ketibaan airport Shiphol.

We left the immigration counter and went to the luggage belt. Mira brought the yellow luggage which we bought in Bangkok back in 2015 during our honeymoon trip while I used my red backpack which I used during my solo travel to Thailand and Laos back in 2013. We collected our bags and went to the Schiphol arrival hall.

Schiphol Plaza. This is the ticketing machine to buy train tickets. The arrival hall is the one in front.
Schiphol Plaza. This is the ticketing machine to buy train tickets. The arrival hall is the one in front.

MasyaAllah sisthur, aku kagum sangat dengan balai ketibaan dia. Airport dia takdelah besar mana tapi kedai-kedai dia banyaaak sangat. Lepas tu, dia bersambung terus dengan stesen keretapi dia. Aku pun memang akan naik keretapi untuk ke BnB kami. Kami tak tinggal di Centraal. Kami buat keputusan untuk tinggal di kawasan pinggir bandar sikit.

I was so impressed with the arrival hall. The airport is not that huge but there are a lot of shops in what is called as Schiphol Plaza. It is connected to the railway station too. We would be taking the train to go to our BnB. We chose not to stay in Centraal, instead we were going to stay on the outskirts of the city.

Looking at the board but could not understand a single thing.
Looking at the board but could not understand a single thing.

Aku pun dok tengok keliling, dok godek-godek peta laluan, papan kenyataan, ish… sumpah tak faham macam mana nak naik keretapi sebab semua maklumat dalam bahasa Belanda. “Fushh”, angin bertiup, terus terasa sampai tulang temulang aku. Aku pun terus sarungkan winter jacket yang aku pegang dari tadi. Bajet tahan sejuk tapi lemak aku tak dapat menampung kesejukan yang mana real feelnya lebih kurang -9 darjah celsius.

I looked around, checked the maps, the info board…but gosh! I did not understand a single thing as everything was in Dutch! “Fushhhh”, the wind blew and I could feel the chill straight to the bones. I wore my winter jacket that I held since arrival. The real feel was -9 degree Celsius according to my weather apps.

Lepas aku sarung winter jacket, aku ternampak kiosk AKO dekat tengah-tengah Shiphol Plaza tu. Baru teringat, aku dah siap-siap beli Amsterdam Travel Ticket masa kat Malaysia. Aku pilih yang unlimited travel untuk 3 hari. Kelebihan dia aku boleh travel unlimited naik bas GVB, metro dan tram selama 3 hari dan untuk keretapi NS Sprinter pulak, aku boleh naik dari/ke Airport dari stesen-stesen tertentu. Ikut research, aku akan turun di Biljmer Arena, jadi travel ticket ni cover. Untuk unlimited travel ticket ni, aku bayar  25 Euro (RM 117) . Sampai je kiosk AKO, aku bagi voucher yang aku print dan makcik tu pun bagi aku 2 travel ticket. Sempoooi.

As I was wearing my winter jacket, I saw an AKO kiosk in the middle of the Plaza. I remembered, I have already bought the Amsterdam Travel Ticket back home and according to the voucher, I need to collect them at AKO. I chose the 3 days unlimited travel ticket where I could travel on the GVB buses, metros, trams for 3 days including the NS Sprinter trains for certain stations. According to my research, I need to get off at Biljmer Arena, so this travel ticket includes that journey. I approached the lady manning the kiosk and exchanged my voucher for 2 tickets. (It was 25 Euros (RM 117) per person and can be bought online).

Selesai urusan tiket, aku tak tahan dah nak cepat-cepat ke BnB sebab nak rehat, nak mandi. Aku pun pergi ke kaunter informasi dan tanya cara nak ke stesen Biljmer Arena. Dia kata turun ke platform 3, tren akan sampai dalam 5 minit lagi. Cara dia terangkan dan layan aku, baik sangat. Memang penuh budi bahasa budaya kita. Bahasa Inggeris dia pun bagus, memang senang aku faham.

I was too excited and wanted to reach the BnB as soon as possible. Since I could not understand the signage, I went to the info counter and asked the officer how to go to Biljmer Arena. He asked me to go to platform 3 where the train will arrive in 5 minutes time. He was so friendly and polite. Even the English was very good. Very impeccable. 

Sebelum turun ke platform 3, aku tengok skrin LCD yang ada. Baru aku faham. Nama stesen yang paling besar tu ialah stesen terakhir dia akan berhenti. Yang nama kecil-kecil tu pula nama stesen yang dia akan berhenti dalam perjalanan ke stesen terakhir. Aku tengok, oh ada nama Biljmer Arena. Terus kami tap kad kami (Tips: Di Amsterdam, walau sesetengah tempat tiada palang, tapi tiket wajib di tap in dan tap out setiap masa bila guna pengangkutan awam) dan kami turun guna lif ke Platform 3 untuk menunggu keretapi datang.

Before going down to platform 3, I took a glance at the LCD screen above the platform door. “Oh, now I understand!”, I told my wife. Apparently, the largest name is the final destination of the train. The smaller station names are the stations which the train will call at. I saw Biljmer Arena was displayed. We were going to the correct platform. We tap our travel card (Tips: In Amsterdam, although some stations have no boom gate, it is compulsory for the ticket to be tap in and tap out every time you embark and disembark on the public transport) and we went to the platform via an elevator, waiting for the train to arrive.

Inside the NS Sprinter train to Biljmer Arena.
Inside the NS Sprinter train to Biljmer Arena.

5 minit kemudian, keretapi pun sampai. Bukan calang-calang keretapi ok. Keretapi 2 tingkat yang datang! Masa tu, perasaan aku bercampur baur. Rasa macam dalam mimpi ada, macam tak percaya ada. Sebab tren 2 tingkat ni selalu aku tengok dalam TV, tak sangka harini, aku akan masuk dan naik tren ni.

5 minutes later, the train arrived. It was a 2-level train! I was so happy I felt like I was dreaming. I usually saw this train on the TV but now, I was about to ride on one.

Masuk je dalam tren, kami pergi ke tingkat bawah. Kami duduk sambil tengok kiri kanan macam orang jakun. Memang jakun pun. Hehe. Tapi, panas sangat dalam tren. Rupa-rupanya, bila musim sejuk, dia pasang heater dalam tren. Kalau tak ada heater pun, dia tak hidupkan penghawa dingin. Tapi, aku dengan luggagenya, backpacknya, jadi susah nak gerak. Sudahnya, panas-panas dalam tren tu pun, aku tetap pakai winter jacket.

We entered the train and went to the bottom level. We sat and looked around like cavemen seeing civilisation. It was hot in the train. Turned out, during winter, heater will be switched on and/or the air-conditioning system will be turned off. I was sweating but still wore the winter jacket since it was difficult to move around.

The train that brought us to Biljmer Arena. This was taken at the Biljmer Arena station.
The train that brought us to Biljmer Arena. This was taken at the Biljmer Arena station.

Sepanjang perjalanan, kami tengok je pemandangan kat luar. Amsterdam. Bandar maju dalam negara maju. Tapi, macam di kampung. Tak sibuk. Tak kelam kabut. Karakter tempat tinggal pilihan aku. Sekali sekala, nampak ada putih-putih di atas jalan. Mungkin, itu kesan salji yang dah turun hari-hari sebelum ni. Aku tengok ramalan cuaca, tak ada salji di Amsterdam masa aku di sini. Takpelah, ada rezeki, adalah. Kalau tak ada, tak adalah.

Along the way, we looked outside. Amsterdam, a city in a developed nation but it felt like we were in a rural area. Not busy. No rush. One of the characteristics of a place which I would like to reside in. Once in a while, I saw whiteness on the road. I guessed they were traces of snow. I checked the weather forecast prior to coming here and apparently, there would be no snow.

Very punctual.
Very punctual.

Aku tengok skrin LCD dalam gerabak. Lebih kurang 3 minit lagi, kami akan tiba di Biljmer Arena. Aku dan Mira pun angkat barang kami dan siap-siap tunggu di depan pintu. “Biljmer Arena”, pengumuman nama stesen yang kami akan turun disebut pemandu. Perlahan-lahan, keretapi tu berhenti dan kami pun turun. Sejuk, berangin. Seronoknya! Aku tengok keliling, penuh puntung rokok. Ada seorang gadis duduk atas bangku dan cucuh rokok dia. “Boleh merokok ya di sini”, aku cakap dalam hati. Mungkin sebab sejuk kot.

I looked at the LCD screen in the coach. I would be arriving in 3 minutes time. We picked our bags up and waited in front of the door. “Biljmer Arena”, the driver of the train announced. Slowly, the train stopped at the station. We disembarked from the coach. Wind came gushing and wow, I just loved it. It was a bit dry but so cold. I could see cigarette butts everywhere on the platform floor.

Arrived at Biljmer Arena.
Arrived at Biljmer Arena.

Kami tiba di Biljmer Arena dan dari sini, kami kena naik Metro untuk ke BnB kami.

Finally, we arrived at Biljmer Arena. From here, we need to take the metro to our BnB.

Next: Part 4

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Backpacking to Europe – Part 3: Biljmer Arena, Amsterdam

  1. tak pernah lalu kaunter imigresen kat Malaysia , lalu auto gate .
    maka tak tahu pegawai imigresen kat sini segarang dan tak akan senyum macam kat oversea
    depa in ada kursud kot .. untuk supaya tidak senyum dan tidak kelihatan peramah ..

  2. Apa pasal tanya banyak soalan ni. ;p
    Naik Eurostar dari London ke Paris, kamu dapat cop Perancis di London sebelum kamu sampai Paris.
    Dia orang tak tanya apa-apa pun, buka pasport lepas tu cop. :) Tak payah scan pasport juga.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s