Amsterdam: The Beginning.

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A year ago I embarked on a journey of a lifetime. I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a trip to Amsterdam.  This probably would not have happened without the motivation from one of my dearest friends. So, I thank her for that.  It has always been one of my dreams to venture out into the world and finally it happened.

I’d like to share what that experience was like.

My flight departed at 7:45pm from Newark Airport.  I was super excited and nervous at the same time.

Take off was beautiful.  Nothing but darkness above and beautiful bright city lights below. I spent most of the flight  just staring out of the window and wondering what will happen once we landed. I was very anxious because I did not know what to expect once I got there.

I had spent the previous weeks watching numerous YouTube videos on other people’s experiences traveling to Amsterdam.

The flight literally felt like an eternity. I remember continuously checking the time and growing more and more impatient each time as barely 5 minutes had passed each and every time.

I stared out the window and watched skies turn from a dark blue to reddish-orange, and then finally day light.

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We landed  at Schiphol Airport after 9am local time. I was so relieved to have finally reached and was also very excited. All I could think was we are finally here. The hotel at which we were staying gave free shuttle service to and from the airport. So once we maneuvered our way out of the airport  we were able to spot the shuttle and hopped right on. The drive to the hotel wasn’t long. Maybe about 15 minutes or so. I remember I had wished it was longer because I was enjoying the view and wanted to keep taking pictures and videos during the drive.

After checking in to the hotel, we settled into our room.  It took some time for me to adjust to the new time zone.  Although we arrived early morning, we traveled through the night and basically fast forwarded 6 hours. My friend was able to get some sleep on the flight, but I did not. We drank so much coffee the first day. I don’t think I have ever had that many espresso shots in one day.

After freshening up, we walked down the street and got on the tram headed in the direction of Centraal Station.

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So a little side note, please don’t be like me and not plan out your traveling expenses. Every time that my ticket expired I would just purchase another 24 hour one. It wasn’t until the last day that I realized it would have just been cheaper if I’d just bought a 3 day pass from the beginning. Sigh.

Back to the story……

We stayed on for a few stops and then got off at a random stop and started walking around and familiarizing ourselves with the city. We were also super cheesy and walked around with a giant unfolded map of Amsterdam which we received at the hotel. Could we have made it any more obvious that we were tourists? LOL.

 

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The first thing that I noticed were the number of bicycles that were parked around the city. It is no lie, Amsterdam truly is the bike capital of the world.

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Then of course there were the beautiful canals.

I spent an hour just sitting and gazing off into the water and watching the boats pass by.

I was also very impressed by the car drivers and their parking skills. I kept thinking how many times I’d probably drive into the canal while attempting to park if I had lived there.

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As we continued walking around, I spotted a food stand. One of the things on my bucket list was to try the pickled herring. I am not really a fan of fish , but I decided while visiting The Netherlands, I should embrace the culture. Also, I am a believer in trying most things at least once.  And you know what? It wasn’t even bad. I was able to eat most of it. I think I was too focused on the fact that it was raw.  I’d probably try it again during my next visit.

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It was interesting to see how quickly the weather changed. The mornings always seemed a little gloomy, with sprinkles of rain every other hour throughout the day. But at times there would be a burst of sunlight and super clear skies. It was during the winter, so that could have played a role.

I made sure I always had my camera ready to take that perfect shot.

 

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We stopped at a few places to get refreshments and pretty much walked the day away.

We decided to head back a little after sunset to finally rest. We needed all the energy we could get to prepare us for the following day.

That night when I returned to the hotel room, I had the best sleep of my life.

 

Part two coming soon..

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