Amsterdam’s closeness to London means that it is perfectly possible to have breakfast at home, go to a matinee and be at home again in time for dinner. I took advantage of this to attend a performance at the Concertgebouw. I took BA430 from Heathrow. Terminal 5 at Heathrow is simply vile. There is very little seating and what there is, is around the gate areas. The rest of the terminal feels crowded and uncomfortable, like a badly-planned shopping mall. As I have no status with BA I didn’t visit the lounges. The flight itself was fine. A free beverage was offered along with a choice of two filled croissants – one vegetarian and the other pork. I declined to eat but my neighbour had it and it seemed to contain his entire daily intake of saturated fat.
There was a slight delay but otherwise it was fine. There is a direct bus, the 197, between Schiphol airport and the Concertgebouw. Tickets (today EUR5) are available for the exact change from the driver or there is a ticket stand next to the bus stop if you don’t have change. The bus was empty and journey time was around 20 minutes with buses every 15 minutes. I then enjoyed a very nice lunch at the café of the Stedelijk Museum across the Concertgebouwplein from the hall. By then it was time to go to the concert.
Unfortunately, between making travel reservations and the concert, the running time had gained an hour or so which made making my return flight a little tight. Fortunately there were no issues. I came out of the hall, got back on to the bus, which this time was completely full, and returned to the airport. I chose to return with EasyJet on U22162 into Luton as this offered the best time. They leave from a low-cost section of Schiphol airport. There are long walks involved (as there are everywhere in Schiphol) but there are no moving walkways which means that I would not recommend this particular routing for those with mobility difficulties. The flight itself was fine. It landed on time but Luton Airport itself is awful – lots of stairs and feels like a temporary building being constructed. No lines at passport control. For those taking the train back to London, do ensure you buy your ticket either in advance or from the ticket machines in the baggage claim. There is a bus to the train station but this is charged. If your ticket says Luton Airport (but not Luton Airport Parkway) then this is valid on the bus service. EasyJet sells train tickets on board but these are not valid on all train services.