I surrender; I quit; I give in. I wave the white flag to travel fatigue. Actually, I waved my blue Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Visa card, and it is to be hoped that this will save me from travel fatigue.
You see, I have booked a room at the Yotel hotel (which is definitely NOT to be confused with no-tell hotels) for my six-hour layover at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport enroute to Italy three weeks from now.
I thought long and hard about this step. In the past, I've always thought it best to meet travel fatigue head-on; never give in, never surrender. Keep moving, was my motto as I dragged my carry-on baggage from sad airport cafes to massage chairs to duty-free shops and back to more airport cafes. It can be agonizing, trying to stay alive during layovers. (I never sleep on flights -- never -- so there is no hope at all that I might rest and awake in Europe, refreshed.)
Last year was especially bad. After a mid-morning landing in Frankfurt, I pushed myself to spend the afternoon in the European Central Bank, meeting potential colleagues, drinking coffee and discussing the brief history of the euro. By 5 p.m. I was severely nauseous from exhaustion and it took a couple of days to really recover.
That was a rather extreme case, of course. Usually, I don't try to tackle too much during layovers but instead, try only to survive until I reach my destination. Then, I go for walks in the sunshine and try to perk up the natural way.
This trip, with 6 hours to kill in Amsterdam between my flight from Canada and my flight to Rome, I had thought I would visit the city -- go for a walk in the sunshine and try to perk up. As usual.
But I've come to admit that to do so would likely have the feel of a forced death march rather than a pleasure stroll along Amsterdam's canals. Exhaustion will do that to a person.
So for $60, I will instead have my own tiny little room in the Yotel hotel, a chain that specializes in offering short-term, very small but private hotel rooms, mostly at airports. For people like me, who have decided to succumb to their slothful natures.
My $60 will buy me a bed in a secure little haven where I can at least lay comfortably in a stupor; a shower, so I can try to refresh myself post-stupor; free Wifi in case I can rouse myself from my stupor long enough to perhaps blog about it; TV in case I can't rouse myself enough to blog, but only to watch cartoons in Dutch.
My greatest hope is that my Yotel experience will not only aide other travellers (I'll report back on the experience) but allow me to arrive in Rome mid-afternoon in half-decent shape. My body will have gone about 30 hours without sleep but with luck, I'll be in decent condition to visit my landlady for a while, shop for a few groceries to stock my apartment, and most importantly, enjoy my first dinner in Rome for 2011.
Wish me luck!