At most of the world’s airports, time before or between flights is spent aimlessly browsing the duty free shops, converting currencies in your head and trying to calculate how much you could save by buying a bottle of whisky or an iPad case you don’t need.
The rule about using up local currency before you fly out is that whatever takes your fancy, be it a camera or a cup of coffee, it will always cost 5 cents more than the amount you still have jingling in your pocket.
Duty free joys are available at Amsterdam’s Schiphol too, but those of us who like the arts have also been catered for.
A small gallery displays changing exhibitions from the fabulous collection of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum.
Schiphol also has a library, for those whose flights are seriously delayed. I was pleased to see they have a little collection of kids books too.
I had about half an hour still to kill, so I was delighted to find a baby grand piano by the toilets. Just the thing I needed.
The sign on it said it was there for our enjoyment and that no degree in music was required. So I sat down and did a little tentative tinkling, earning a modest round of applause from those nearby. Then I started off towards Gate G to board the flight to Singapore with the self-satisfied smile of one who’s spent a worthwhile hour and a half in self-improvement.