Wednesday, January 27, 2010

28 Hours in Amsterdam

This past weekend I decided to take advantage of the off-season low travel fares and take a quick hop over to Amsterdam for a visit. I took this trip for many reasons, but the main reasons were to:
  1. Force myself out of my comfort zone
  2. Rack up an additional 10,000+ frequent flyer miles
  3. Visit the Anne Frank House and Museum
  4. Have some good European food!
So with those goals in mind I set out on my adventure. Since (the new) Delta airlines is consolidating the previous Northwest Airlines hubs around the nation, Bemidji Airport was selected to continue--and expand--operations, so I was able to book a flight from Bemidji to Amsterdam (connecting in Minneapolis, of course) in one ticket, and at a great price. I booked my flight, secured a small room in a cheap Amsterdam hotel online, and packed my backpack. BTW, traveling light is part of my new RRR strategy (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) - another goal of mine for 2010. * Travel Tip: Avoid checking luggage--stick with carry-on bags: you'll save money, learn to pack simply, and bypass the baggage claim!

I flew to Minneapolis, had a short layover, boarded my overnight flight to Amsterdam on the A330 Airbus--one of my favorite jets--and since the flight was only 75% occupied I was able to re-seat myself as soon as the cabin door was closed. (*Hint: I will write another entry about "tips for flying happiness" in a future posting) Naturally, I chose a window seat with an unoccupied seat next to me so I had elbow room. Did you know you can do that? Just ask a flight attendant if you have questions. *Travel Tip: For more information about which seats rock and which do not, visit

The flight to Amsterdam was excellent! Why? Because I chose my aircraft wisely - the A330 Airbus has a personal in-flight video system for every passenger (movies, music, and more!); you get two complimentary meals (dinner and a morning snack on all international overnight flights); and all sodas, wine and beer are free. It's like flying First Class on a Coach ticket. I arrived in Amsterdam the next morning, hopped on a train from the airport to the city center, and then walked to my hotel. * Travel Tip: When possible take trains and walk... much cheaper than driving, plus it's better exercise and more difficult to get lost when you're walking!

When I arrived at my hotel, I checked in, grabbed my camera, and went for a walk. Today I was headed towards my "tourist destination of the day" - the Anne Frank House. Now the Anne Frank House has an amazing history and even though I'd been through Amsterdam 5 or 6 times throughout my travels, I'd never had a chance to visit the house and museum. So this was my day to do it. In addition, I'd promised my friend Shawn and my niece Natalie that I'd get them each a brochure from the tour. Incidentally, Shawn is playing the part of Anne's brother, Peter, in the production of Diary of Anne Frank at Park Square Theater in St. Paul this winter. Go check it out!

The tour of the Anne Frank House was very powerful and moving. I wasn't allowed to take snapshots inside the house so they can preserve the integrity of the original wood, paint and wallpaper. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the self-guided tour, attention to detail in the museum, and all of the informational placards and videos installed throughout the building. It was a very touching experience and it reminding me how important our families and friends are to us... in Anne's case, how friends and family came together to love and support one another in a time of great panic and fear. I left the museum feeling grateful and thankful for my family and the fact that I don't have to live in fear as Anne and her family did during the war. * Travel Tip: Use contrast to instill an attitude of gratitude.

That evening I had a light dinner, did a little more souvenir shopping, and got back to my hotel early to do some writing and listen to music. I'm always stimulated creatively when I travel - it's part of exploring the world! As a traveler, I've often think about the benefits of travel (at least for me), and I imagine that any change of environment is good for anyone - a change in perspective brings insight and introspection. This trip helped me to keep my wheels turning and the gears of my creative spirit from getting rusty. After all, I've gotta keep moving... I'm Michael on the Move :o)

Get on the move and experience the world!

Mr. Michael


  1. Fantastic! Love the spontaneity! Next time you get a wild hair for a weekend getaway and need some company...give me a call!!

  2. Valentina GrzywaczFebruary 4, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    "I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself". - James Baldwin


  3. I like your pictures! I would like to visit the Anne Frank house myself, we learned her story in 8th grade and it has been very interesting to me ever since. Also, I think it is cool that you wanted to go out of your comfort zone and go there.

  4. It's very interesting to learn about your experiences around the world. I also really like your travel tips, they are very useful! Your pictures of Amsterdam are beautiful, too.

  5. Awesome Article!
    When I get older I want to travel too!
    Great tips on how to fly cheap, sense its so expensive not everyone can travel anymore.
    Keep posting blogs so that I can see where your going!!

    -Liz T.

  6. Mr. Sunnarborg,
    I really liked that you went to Amsterdam and enjoyed your time there. I also liked your pictures and your travel tips! I was wondering if you went into the secret annex while you visited the Anne Frank house?

  7. i think this blog is really interesting. im really into it. i dont know if i could do what you did. i would miss minnesota way to much. i have a couple questions..1.) is there culture way different then ours?
    2.) how did you adapt to there hospitality?
    3.) is there such thing as personally space there?

  8. I think it's cool that you get to go around the world and tell the rest of the world what it is like. I also enjoy your pictures.

  9. Hi Michael,
    I enjoyed your pictures and it sounds like a lot of fun to travel around the world. When I grow up I want to travel the world as you do.

  10. i enjoyed looking at your pictures from amsterdam. the article was very interesting and i learned some interesting facts about it. i also thought that the anne frank thing was really cool. i am now learning more about it and i am considering going there in the future

  11. Dear Michael,
    Cool pictures! I think your idea to travel around the world is great and i really like how your sharing your experiences with everybody. Amsterdam looks really beautiful

  12. Those were some great photos and what you wrote under it about the picture. I really liked how you talked about The Airbus A330, My mom's friend is a pilot for the A330. My mom is a Flight Attendant for Delta, I'm into airplanes just to let you know. Anyway, photos were great, I loved the scenery! Great Job!

  13. cool pictures aspecially like the pictures of switzerland