Thursday, May 24, 2012

Amsterdam Trip Day 1: Two Americans Trying Not to Get Run Over by Dutch Bicyclists

The night before we were supposed to leave for Amsterdam, I didn't sleep a wink. Not that I didn't try, I really did. But I was just like a little kid the night before Christmas, too excited to sleep. Adam didn't sleep for an entirely different reason. No, he didn't sleep because he was TERRIFIED. Earlier that night, I spent two hours talking him off the ledge, while he was proclaiming that we were most likely going to die because we were flying OVERSEAS. Adam is terrified of flying anyways, but something about the longer flight had him flippin out.

So much so, that I really started feeling guilty for even suggesting the trip in the first place, and thinking that I might just have to go alone! At some point in the conversation, I even said, "Don't you think if we are going to die in a plane crash, it will be good that at least we go together?" But no he totally disagreed, and he said when the plane started to go down, he would definitely turn to me and mouth that, "This is all you fault." And yes, he was kidding.

I finally settled him down somewhat, and he calmed the rest of his nerves by sending out an e-mail will to our families, telling them what should happen with our wide-screen television and his Star Wars book collection in case we never made it back from The Netherlands.

We landed in Amsterdam early in the morning, after 36 plus hours without sleep. We exchanged our US dollars for Euros, went through customs, and headed down to the train station to figure out how to get to our hotel. We decided it would be less confusing to talk to a real life person working at the ticket counter instead of using the ticket machine. And believe it or not, the ticket counter guy sold us the WRONG TICKET. So of course we got on the wrong train, and only noticed when our hotel went whizzing past us. I guess this should have been annoying because we had to get off the train, buy a whole nother ticket, and get back on a different train. But I really do think getting turned around on vacation is one of the best parts of vacation.

When we finally got to the hotel, I was so relieved that they let us check in, even though it was uber early. Because I wanted nothing more than to take a shower! And now I must confess something to you that I'm ashamed of. I am a strong believer in staying up till it's nighttime in whatever country you are in because otherwise it is really hard to adjust to the new time zone. And I've always done that in past. But I'm older now (heck, I just turned 26) and boy oh boy were we tired.  So we pulled those black-out curtains and caught the best few hours of sleep I've ever had.

After our nap, we woke up and were more than excited and ready to head into Amsterdam City Proper. So we took the train to Amsterdam Centraal Station, which come on, a train station shouldn't be allowed to be so beautiful. It looks like a museum! I just couldn't stop staring at it. The next thing we noticed was all the bikes! I love that the Dutch people bike everywhere, it seems so much easier than driving everywhere. But the second thing I noticed is that the bicyclists are dangerous! I can't tell you how many times I wondered into the path of a bike, and I saw my life flash before my eyes! And maybe just once I got confused with the signals of the cross walk, and got overly excited, and pushed Adam into the middle of an intersection with oncoming cars and bikes. Which shouldn't be funny to me, but because I didn't kill him, it is KIND OF funny.

We walked around Amsterdam, snapping pictures and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Amsterdam looks like something from a storybook, it really is so picturesque with its tree lined canals. We decided to grab some dinner at a Dutch Pancake House. I got the Pear Pancakes and Adam got the regular pancakes. Dutch Pancakes are different from American pancakes, they are very skinny and long, the batter is sweeter, and instead of a stack, there is just one.  But very delicious, never the less.

After dinner, we walked down to Dam Square (which has the Royal Palace, a war monument, and Madame Tussauds), and when we rounded the corner and it came into view Adam said, "Wow, Wow, Wow." That touched my heart in so many ways, Adam is not always as outwardly expressive as I am. So to know that he was THAT impressed and excited about what he was seeing meant EVERYTHING to me. Later, he told me he couldn't believe he was in the Netherlands, and that he was a world traveler now. And at that moment, I knew this was going to be an amazing vacation. 

As the evening rolled around, it was time for our cocktail canal cruise. We spent a lazy two hours floating down all the different, stunning canals and drinking wine, mojitos, and cosmopolitans. So many cocktails that I had to stop because if I continued, I wouldn't have made it back to the hotel!

We learned the history of Amsterdam on this cruise (like that Amsterdam means, "Safety on the Water.") And we got to see the city in light and dark as the sun doesn't set till around 10 p.m. over there.  We cruised pass the red light district, and we even saw the Anne Frank House on the Prisengracht. I almost cried when I saw the building, just seeing something that has meant so much to me over the years made me emotional. We even saw the church, the Westerkirk, which she talks about in the diary.

One of the very last things we did was go under the skinny bridge. The legend has it that two sisters who lived on opposite sides of the river, built the original 1691 bridge, so they could visit each other. Although wealthy, they were not quite wealthy enough to afford a bridge of adequate width for general use, and so they built a very narrow bridge, hence its name.

When you go under the bridge, you have to close your eyes, make a wish, and kiss the one you love. Which was a perfect way, to end such a great day!

Song of the Day: Baggage Claim by Miranda Lambert


  1. Wow looks like you had a great time .....and that was only day 1! This has really made me want to go make pancakes for breakfast now xx

  2. i LOVE youre pictures from Amsterdam.
    I love to take a nap after long trip, too :) Don't be ashamed xD
    i love red puzzle building, she is so interesting ♥

  3. LOL I'm sure his family was really calm after they received his will via email.

    Beautiful photos!!

  4. WOW this just seems so lovely, im so jealouse =)



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