If you’ve ever traveled, I’m sure you have experienced the sensation of not knowing what and when to eat. That sickening feeling when you can’t read the menu, and even if you could, you have no idea what’s actually IN the food. Couple that with the typical quality of airline food, and it’s safe to say that I was a bit anxious over how the first 24 hours were going to go. As an athlete, 4 days before a major race, I need to be careful with my nutrition anyway. But I anticipated a challenge. I was ready!

As a former flight attendant, I pride myself on packing my carry-on with what I need for any situation. I hadn’t thought to ask if there was food on the flight, and no one asked me about allergies, so I just assumed there was no meal service. Not a big deal. I had purchased a cheap economy ticket, had a window seat at the back of the plane, and treated the flight as a means to an end.klm

I stocked my bag with larabars, almonds, pretzels, and vega bars in case I got hungry. I ate a bagel on my layover in Edmonton.  I figured that when I got to Amsterdam, there would have to be SOMETHING I could eat, yes?  I made sure I had small bills of euros so I could purchase a sandwich or something. Sandwiches are universal, right?

So imagine my surprise when 90 minutes into my KLM flight from Edmonton to Amsterdam, I was offered a choice of pasta or beef. Without really thinking, I chose pasta and proceeded to eat a lovely shell pasta marinara with spinach and Parmesan. Couple that with a warm roll with cream cheese, and low and behold – real food! Perhaps not gourmet, but edible, real, recognizable, hot, food!

Props to KLM. They’re doing this flying thing right.

Perfect. I figured I’d sleep until landing, and then find some breakfast in Amsterdam. I tossed and turned, sleeping as much as possible between the screaming toddler beside me and the sunshine streaming though every available crevice (24 hours of sunlight means the cabin is never dark!). But, hey, I slept.

I woke smelling eggs and coffee.


Not only did they feed us dinner, we got breakfast. Hot egg sandwich, fruit salad, yogurt.

With coffee. Good coffee. Beautiful, delicious, strong, coffee.fruit

Hell yes.

I arrive at Schiphol feeling pleasantly full, and proceeded to experience the lovely efficiency of the Dutch. From the clear signage, to the moving sidewalks (a British voice reminds you to “mind your step” while stepping on or off) to the smiling customs agents, Schiphol is one of the easiest airports I’ve ever navigated. Which is good, as it’s a 30 minute walk from my arrival gate to my departure gate. Even at triathlete pace, it’s a hike.

No big deal. I have four hours.

And there’s a juice bar. A real, live, fresh-squeezed juice bar.

In fact, everywhere you look – there’s fruit for sale. Oranges, bananas, melons….

So much for packing my own food.

So, I sit here typing, sipping a delicious apple/carrot/ginger juice and feeling more than a little bit spoiled.juice

Because if the food is good, everything else seems so much more manageable. Let’s face it. No one actually LIKES flying. Or, for that matter, waiting at airports. But if you can do so while drinking delicious coffee or a fresh-squeezed juice, all of a sudden a four hour layover isn’t so bad.