Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport

 On my way home from Greece, I had a 4.5 hour layover at JFK.  As expected, it wasn't the greatest.  I kept thinking back to my 4 hour layover in Amsterdam at the beginning of the trip.  I'd only been to Amsterdam by train before, but after spending time at Schiphol Airport, I can't think of a better place to make a flight connection.  It all started with the shockingly friendly and polite folks at passport control and things went uphill from there.  As we walked the terminal to kill time, I noticed how bright and clean everything looked.  We were hungry and right in front of us stood a beautifully designed cafe with tempting lunch items.  There I enjoyed the best airport sandwich of my life (made-to-order smoked salmon with red onion) and a glass of fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, although there were more interesting combinations as well including kiwi and even sangria.  After a leisurely lunch, we used the free wireless internet and stretched out on recliners facing a floor-to-ceiling window.  Then we wandered up the escalator where we were transported to an airport oasis of green lushness.  There was an indoor park, complete with artificial trees and grass, bird sounds, charging stations of course, and beanbag chairs to boot!  We enjoyed a little pause, taking in the zen atmosphere, before I noticed a sign for hourly/overnight bookings at a hotel-shower space starting at 35 euros. 
I can't think of how many times I've wanted a nap or quick shower during a long layover and if I ever return to Amsterdam in that situation, I would definitely check it out.  We continued on our exploration, this time going outside to an outdoor space where there was a picnic area, more greenery, and a nice view of the airport to watch planes take off and land.  
This was the highlight of the airport for me.  I don't know of another airport where you can go outside to relax once you're past security.  We enjoyed the fresh air and wandered around a bit more until it was time for our next destination: Athens!

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