Here I’m back with a new experience and adventure where I’ve been to Amsterdam for a couple of training courses organized by RIPE NCC and during my stay I made two trips to Berlin and Paris.
Day-1 , one of my worst ever days!
Arrived at Amsterdam Airport after 50-minute layover in Istanbul, I’ve just passed passport control smoothly and I’m waiting my baggage to show up on my flight “baggage belt”, still waiting; nothing showed up yet and I began to worry, however nothing serious; many other passengers are still waiting as well!, 30 minutes later all the baggage has been loaded and mine is not here!! oh my god; where the hell is it? it’s lost 😦 Nooooooooooooooo, the whole trip has been spoiled now! I’m stranded with no single piece of clothes! and don’t know what do to, Sigh; let’s deal with it , I filled a report and left the airport unhappily!.
I took a train from Amsterdam Central station towards Rotterdam where I’m gonna spend my first day and I sat in the First Class by mistake and the train agent slammed me! but he had no idea that I was totally out of my mind and my problem was way bigger than thinking of the right train class -_- .
I arrived my hotel and cancelled my plan to go to Kinderdijk to visit the most famous Windmills in the world as it was too late and I wasn’t in a good mood!, I toured the city and visited some places and at the end of the day I started to accept the loss and absorb the shock of losing my baggage! .
I had a flight from Amsterdam to Berlin and spent one great day there, I checked in my hotel (MEININGER Hotel Berlin Airport: really amazing, stylish and lovely staff!), I started my trip by visiting the Reichstag building which is breathtaking, historical and iconic, unfortunately I wasn’t able to go inside as they had kind of maintenance at that time.
Then walked to Brandenburg gate, which is the icon of Berlin and the most well-known landmark of Germany! I wandered the area for some time then had a break to grab my Hot Chocolate in Starbucks and check my Facebook and email! .
After that, I tried to hire a bike using a self-service machine but failed apparently due to my credit card issuance which is non-Europe, anyway I went through Tiergarten Park and spent several hours there, I always love to go to famous natural parks when travelling abroad; they make me feel better! resting, thinking, relaxing and mediating, By the way; I was wearing “I Love Berlin t shirt” which made some locals commenting positively about or making fun of me sometimes!, While walking in the park area I passed by some cool landmarks such as: Soviet War Memorial and Berlin Victory Column not to mention the surrounding picturesque Nature!.
After that I headed to Alexanderplatz area, bought some clothes, had an Eastern Launch and visited Berlin TV Tower which gives you 360 Degree view of Berlin! .
Back to Amsterdam:
I had a flight back to Amsterdam, and guess what? I collected my ill-fated baggage from the airport! woohooo!, now I’m feeling much better and heading to the hotel to wait my friend Ghassan who will join me!.
After we met; we went out to enjoy Amsterdam!, we started by visiting the “I AMSTERDAM” sign and took our historical pics there! , then we visited many places such as Dam Square and The Jordaan neighborhood.
DNS Security Training Course:
Next day, we attended the “DNS Security” training course at RIPE NCC organization which addresses many topics related to DNS, cryptography, DNS security concepts\configuration\troubleshooting which is very helpful for Network administrators and systems engineers; the instructors Ferenc Csorba, Massimiliano Stucchi and Robert Kisteleki were professional and I was very pleased to see Ferenc again who taught me some courses last year in Russia, moreover the place itself (RIPE NCC HQ) was friendly and comfortable.
Should you want more details you may have a look at the course slides by clicking here.
I arrived the city of lights PARIS in the early morning after taking a high-speed train (Thalys) from Amsterdam, bought a full-day metro ticket and started my trip by visiting the Arc de Triomphe, then I went to Eiffel Tower! which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and its kinda the main purpose of visiting this city! , I spent long hours there, walking, listening to Music, feeding pigeons, taking Selfies and pictures from different angles, my only problem that I was alone or single to be more accurate while the vast majority of people were couples and lovers!, after being done with the Eiffel and buying some gifts from inside I started my tour along the River Seine towards the east which passes through many attractions and cool landmarks such as Concorde Square, Tuileries Gardens, Louvre Museum and Latin quarter.
Early during my walk; I stopped by the “The “Love Lock” bridge! where every couple puts a lock on the fence and throw keys into the river, to lock their love together and forever! , frankly I felt jealous! and decided to take the opportunity and do something even more creative! guess what? I purchased a lock and typed my first name and “Future love” on it, then throw two keys in the river and kept the third remaining one with me! why? someday I’ll come back with my girl to unlock it and write down her name and throw the third key in the river to lock our endless love forever!, you may think I’m a freak or romantic? I don’t know; this is what happened without pre-planning!.
My last station was De Bercy area where I spent sometime before departing on iDBUS (Free Wifi!) at midnight.
Network Measurements Tools Workshop
The second training course was held at Amsterdam Science Park which is the largest hub in Europe for Science & Technology, the workshop deals with some tools and techniques that provide measurements and statistics about Network operators which gives you as a Network administrator great view of what’s going on on your own Network so you can analyze, improve, optimize and develop accordingly, The most interesting part for me was RIPE Atlas tool which measures Internet connectivity and reachability and provides real-time statistics based on probes deployed all over the world!, here I would like to thank the instructors Vesna Manojlovic, Christian Teuschel and Ferenc Csorba for their great efforts in this workshop :), for more details you may refer to this link.
At the end of day, we enjoyed our last moments in Europe, took the last shoots and headed to the airport to catch our late flights!
Finally, here are some remarks and learned-lessons from the trip:
- Always expose big companies to the social media if you have a trouble! when I lost my baggage I exposed the airlines to Facebook/Twitter, they replied immediately on Twitter offering help which might have expedited the process.
- Don’t ever have a transit flight with one hour layover or less, you may catch your flight but you may lose your baggage!.
- Bikes are widely spread in Holland and Germany, especially in Amsterdam, which is very healthy and useful habit.
- No need to hire a car in Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam, Public transportation and metro services are great.
- Amsterdam airport is nice and you can spend several hours without getting bored and it has a Free Wifi service.
- Sabiha Gokcen airport is good as well, but much smaller compared to other International airport and the Wifi is not free.
- If want to tag each of Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris with one word I would say: Fun, History, Romance respectively!.
- I used Sygic as an offline GPS application and it was good, however Google is the best and you can search for your destination while you are connected and continue offline.
- I used Pegasus, Easyjet, Thalys and iDBUS in my international and domestic transportation and all of them were fine.
- You can’t totally rely on Credit Cards in these countries, mine was rejected by some machines, so you should have some cash with you.
- it’s always a good idea to book a hotel a bit far from the city center!, you’d get a great hotel with low price and you may use public transportation to visit the city.
- Dutch people knows English very well.
With kinds regards,
Osama Tamimi, Jerusalem, October 4th, 2014.