I have amassed a pretty respectable number of frequent flyer miles over the years and decided to take them out of mothballs and use 60,000 in exchange for a ticket to Istanbul. I’ve spent precious little time in Istanbul in the summertime, and by precious little I mean none. This was a wrong that needing righting. The only downside was the only flight available from Delta included a seven-hour layover in Seattle followed by another seven-hour layover in Amsterdam. Still, no reason to sit in an airport when reliable public transportation can provide me all manner of entertainment. I’d start with a Sunday afternoon baseball game, move on to a favorite restaurant and close it out with a visit to an antiquated relic of the 19th century.

Los Angeles to Seattle. The first leg of the journey reinforced the classic British interpretation of travel, that second class is lower class. My stay in the front of the plane included quiche, orange juice and sweet potato fries.
After landing, I dropped off my bags in the airport locker facility alongside giant slabs of beef because the only lockers available also double as food storage, and then picked up the cheap and convenient light rail to downtown. There’s a stop a block away from the baseball stadium, but I had plenty of time before the game started, so I wandered into downtown for a while.
Seattle is a very picturesque city, though much of the ocean is cut off from sight by unsightly construction. Fairly large homeless population as well.
It was an entertaining game, even with the sun beating down on me mercilessly, with Detroit’s Max Sherzer getting hit pretty hard and Seattle emerging victorious.
I didn’t stay for the last out, heading out early to ensure a timely return to the airport for the second leg of the trip.

The flight across the Atlantic was uneventful, which is my favorite sort of flight. The highlight was watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Such a great movie.

Getting from Schiopol Airport to the old town is a breeze, and the city is the epitome of European charm. Stunning architecture, cobblestone streets, canals and so on.
I wandered across this photo shoot. Taking a photo seemed the only logical recourse.
Amsterdam has this amazing restaurant, De Blauwe Hollander, which I have visited twice before on layovers, and once again it did not disappoint. I stretched and ordered something new this time. Well worth it. Tomato soup, followed by Stamppot (Carrot and onion with tender beef) and then that classic Dutch after-dinner drink, a cappuccino.

A return visit to the Princes’ Islands didn’t actually occur immediately after I stepped off the plane in Istanbul, given my level of exhaustion and the late-night arrival. Still, it makes for a pretty picture and it didn’t take me long to get there, so it feels like the appropriate finale for the trip.




I am a hermit living in a cave inside a mountain underneath an abyss. Your comments are the only contact I have with the outside world.

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