(Page 1) (Thursday 11th July 2002)

I like to make at least a couple of trips abroad a year to shoot Airliners at Airports where there are reasonable viewing facilities with either a Terrace or some good spots around the perimeter so I thought it would be a good idea to write up how I get on so that maybe it might be of help to anyone going to the same place who hasn't been there before.

One place guaranteed to provide excellent views is Dusseldorf and as I have been there before most recently in March 2002 with 3 friends I thought why not visit again for a bit longer so I decided on a stay there for 4 full days in July going on my own this time.

There isn't an easy direct route from Glasgow to Dusseldorf so I decided on flying to Amsterdam on Easyjet early in the morning which would give me a few hours there and then travel on by train from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf in mid afternoon which is a journey time of just over 2 hours.

My flight to Amsterdam arrived on time and I was through Passport Control and landside for about 10am, my first task was to buy a train ticket for the ICE (Inter City Express) to Cologne which stops at Dusseldorf on the way so I asked at the desk for a schedule and bought my ticket and decided to go for the 3-05pm which would get me in to DUS about 5-20pm and with this accomplished I set off to the mid runway viewing spot at Schipol.

OO-SLR 767-300
(Amsterdam 11-7-02).

KLM 737 & Transavia 757

(Amsterdam 11-7-02).

West Air Cargo
(Amsterdam 11-7-02).

There is an official viewing spot at the mid point of runway and to get there without your own transport it requires a bus and some legwork so after leaving the main Terminal entrance I walked further down to the left and waited for the bus.

There are two buses that are suitable and the ones to look for are the 191 and 193 as these stop at ROZENBERG which is a small housing area along the way, I have done this twice before and it is easy to find so all you need do is say ROZENBERG to the driver and give him 1.7 Euros. It takes about 10 minutes to get there and you will see a big white sign on the left with the name on it and conveniently just past the sign there is a bus stop to get off before a set of traffic lights so you can't go wrong.

After leaving the bus you walk up the road on the left for 15 minutes to the viewing spot but for photographers continue past it to the end of the road where the view is better as usually departing aircraft take off right to left and the further up you are the lower they will be as this is a mid runway spot.

I arrived there at 11am but didn't have any luck with the weather as it had clouded over straight away after I left the Terminal and now thuderstorms were around, the only thing I shot was a Westair ATP parked on the nearside Cargo facility so I headed off earlier that expected at 1-15pm.

I could see another thunderstorm building up and this one was heading right over the field this time but I had packed an umbrella and had it with me which was just as well because the rain was torrential so that was my Amsterdam day, a couple of shots and a soaking from the knees down.

When I first arrived at the Airport I had to leave my carry bag and that was an interesting experience, I followed the LEFT LUGGAGE signs and after going down a flight of stairs I found it situated next to a lift, there are big lockers there with the hire fee on the front so I went for a 4 Euro one.

There wasn't an obvious place to put the coins so I put them in what I thought was the right place but nothing appeared on the meter so I put another one in with the same result, there were 3 Dutch guys in blue KLM uniforms there so I asked one if he could help and told him what I had done.

He said something in Dutch to his friends and they all had a good laugh because I had put the coins where the notes are supposed to go and they wouldn't come out now which of course bunged the thing up so I quickly moved off before anyone else realised it was me who put 6 lockers out of action but at least I got it right on my next try so I headed off with the locker ticket safely tucked away.

When I got back from my fruitless visit to the viewing spot and went to pick up the bag it was a repeat performance, this time I was putting my ticket into the slot that was the same size as it but all I got was a peeping sound no matter what way I put it in and I plugged away at this for about 3 minutes not wanting to look like a diddy again.

No luck then so I went to the desk and said "I've got my ticket for the locker but it doesn't seem to be working" and he said "Ah that will be because you are holding it too close to the red light", when he said that the penny dropped and I realised that you don't put it into the machine as a red laser light scans the ticket instead. I said "Yes that's what I've done I'll hold it further away this time".

If there is a wrong way to do something I will usually find it but anyway now that I had my bag I headed off for the train, it was now 2-45pm and I had 20 minutes before my train but the odd thing was that the details of it were showing on the electronic noticeboard so I made my way to the ticket desk again.

I said "I bought a ticket this morning for the ICE to Dusseldorf (put it on the desk) but I don't see it on the board can you tell me what platform it leaves from?" she replied "Well you don't get that train from here because it leaves from Amsterdam Central, it used to go from here at the Airport but not for a few years now".

That "diddy" feeling came rushing back again because I had no chance of catching it, I had to make my way to the main Railway Station which was 15 minutes travelling time away so that meant now getting the 5-05pm all because the genius in the morning hadn't bothered to tell me that I would have to go to Central when she handed me the ticket, so off I went for the connecting train and got to the main station for a 90 minute wait.

With plenty of time to spare I picked out some coins and went to a phone to call home, in went the coin and nothing happened (here we go again) it was sitting there visible but it wouldn't come out so I walked on to the next phone and in went my next one Euro coin and I couldn't believe it when it happened again.

By this time I was getting the feeling that any machine I went near was thinking "Oh there's Fred I'm going to squeeze my cheeks together and refuse to work", surely it wouldn't happen a third time so I walked on further down to the next telephone and tried again and another coin bit the dust, this time though a coloured guy looking the worse for wear that I had seen when I tried the first phone waved his arms saying "kaput kaput".

It was pretty obvious that he was staking out the phones and hooking out the coins with something when his punters had given up on getting them back.

I made my way to the big noticeboard giving the destination details and my train was to leave from the very end Platform, when I was making my way there I passed someone who was hammering away on one of the phones that I hadn't used. "Phone man" had made his way to the one beside him and when he saw me he picked up his phone and started punching numbers, a nice touch.

Here in the Scotland those who are in need of a few coins sell the "Big Issue" magazine but in Amsterdam visitors can make their donations by using the public telephone system.

I boarded the ICE train to Dusseldorf Central for the 2 hour trip getting me there at 5-25pm so the next step was to go to the Airport and this was done by train from the main station, there are two seperate lines running to the airport with the S7 going to the main Terminal and the S6 that stops at the Dusseldorf Airport Railway Station where the excellent lower viewing deck is.

I got the S7 to the Main Terminal and headed for the taxi rank for my final leg to the ETAP Hotel where I was staying for my 4 days, the taxi driver spoke very little English but when I said Lintorf he made a grunting sound and we headed off. I took this as a good sign because when I get a taxi at Glasgow Airport I get the same sort of noise there too and translated it means that they would like to open the door and put me out again because it isn't going to be a big fare.

We got on to the motorway quickly but we just kept going and going so the fare went up and up eventually stopping about 15 minutes later when the fare was 21 Euros (about 14 in GBP) ouch. I understood it to be 3 1/2 miles from the Aiport but it was actually 9 miles.

When I checked in the African chappie on the desk couldn't have been more helpful and found out all of the bus details for me to get to the main Railway station on the following morning so that was the end of my first eventful day.

Page 2 (Friday 12th & Saturday 13th July Dusseldorf). (10 photos)
Page 3 (Sunday 14th July Dusseldorf).
Page 4 (Monday 15th & Tuesday 16th July Dusseldorf). (8 photos)
Page 5 (Dusseldorf maps & Hotel). (16 photos)

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