A Travellerspoint blog

Days Full of Jetlag

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

We got a late start on Tuesday…a very late start. We woke up around 2 p.m. and realized we wasted our entire day. We went to a café across the street to grab some food. Then, because Jordan and I felt lazy, we decided to go to the gym for 45 minutes. Despite how small it was, the gym was overlooking the canal and had every machine I needed. Then, we all relaxed next to the indoor pool, also overlooking the canal. The pool reminded me of something a Greek Goddess would have. I can honestly say that this has been one of the laziest days I have ever spent traveling.

When we finally left the hotel, we went to dinner at Harbor Club. It was a trendy place that had a club like vibe to it. The food was also incredible. I ordered a salad and steak (of course). It was a long dinner, full of conversation and laughter. And before we knew it, it was time to leave and explore the Red Light District yet again.

This time, I met an American who invited us to sit and hang out with his group of friends. After walking awhile, I asked how many friends he came with, to which he responded, “oh I came alone.” Freak. We left the district soon thereafter and went to sleep.

The next morning, because we slept away most of the previous day and it was our last day in Amsterdam, we woke up at 8. After eating, we decided to walk the town one last time. The city of Amsterdam is extremely easy to walk. I feel like I could get myself around well enough in just a few days. We walked to the IAMsterdam sign and by the Van Gough museum. We had lunch at the same café we did the day before and then went back to the hotel to pack before heading to the airport.

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Then, my disaster happened. It turns out, I bought my ticket for the next day instead of the day I was supposed to. With my anxiety out of the roof, I ran around the airport and tried to fix my mistake. At first, when I finally got ahold of someone of the phone, I was going to have to pay over $600 to cancel my flight and book the correct one. I think the last at the desk saw the fear in my wet eyes and decided to take some pity on me. She took the phone and spoke to the person on the line. In the end, they canceled my flight for free and I only had to pay $140 for a new ticket.

We arrived in Stockholm at 9pm, went to our hotel, ate dinner, and went to bed (at 2am because I guess jet lag was still a thing).

The next morning we got on the ship and just relaxed. We ate, watched The Beach and Harry Potter. We read and explored the ship. And then we ate some more. And then, we slept. Thank God.

Posted by kristinameyers 02:17 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Amsterdam

Our first full day in Europe. Natalia and I slept relatively well, only waking up at 1:30, 5, and then finally 7 -- jet lag can be a bitch. When I decided that 7 was the latest I could sleep in, I read for about 2 hours until the other two girls stirred awake. Down to breakfast we went and down went to delicious berry smoothies as well as a typical European buffet style breakfast.

Our day officially started when we walked to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. The museum itself was in a stunningly beautiful building. It was large and slightly overwhelming. We walked through all the floors and rooms and attempted to take everything in. I only read the information card on things that caught my eye. It was a well designed museum with a couple of famous paintings.

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Afterwards, we got lunch in a square (J and I split the chicken skewers) and then made our way to the Floating Flower Markets. They were so disappointing. I imagined them to be this colorful area filled with tulips and other types of flowers. I was excited to take pictures. But, instead it was just a place to buy seeds and bulbs. Once I got over my disappointment, we ventured back to the hotel to rest and get ready for nighttime.

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Dinner was amazing, as least compared to last nights. We went to a trendy pan-Asian restaurant called Momos. A couple of hours and a few million calories later, the girls and I decided to explore the Red Light District. We changed out of our heels and into shoes that we knew we wouldn't trip on the cobblestone in and made our way to the part of the city. One word- Prostitute. Never mind all the drugs that were readily available, the most interesting and entertaining thing was the prostitutes. And anyone who knows me knows that I just about judged the shit out of them and the men (numerous men at that) that we saw walking in. Red light on means available. Curtain closed means busy. And blue light means transgendered. The higher up the winder, the better and more expensive the prostitute is. After walking around for awhile, we stopped in a coffeeshop before continuing to explore.

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At around 1AM, we hopped in a cab and drove back to the hotel.

I'd say our first full day in Europe, and in Amsterdam, was a success.

Posted by kristinameyers 08:43 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Day One

City of Bikes

Hello from Europe!

After a quick 10 hour flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam, we have officially arrived. After the anxiety dwelled down and the tears finally stopped (yes, I did awkwardly cry in the security line at SFO), the excitement started to bubble.

The first stop on our pre-study abroad program is Amsterdam. Our flight landed at around 11 so in order to beat jet lagged, we have a fully packed day (well, fully packed for having just flown a red eye and gotten 3 hours of sleep). Something I found highly amusing, was while we were exiting the airport with our driver, a large Asian tour group was blocking our way. The driver then explained how the Dutch refer to these situations: "The Chinese Wall". Once we checked into the hotel (Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam) and showered up, we needed some fuel before we went on a 45 minute walk around the city. We walked from our hotel and wandered around the general area, taking in everything we could. The hotel is located in a less tourist infested area (about a 25 minute walk from the Red Light District and Chinatown). I've always loved Amsterdam for more than it's "party" reputation. I find this city to be both quaint and stunningly beautiful with hints of its history peaking out every which way. One thing I did notice more this time around, was the amount of biked the city had. It seemed biking was more common than walking. In fact, we stuck out like a sore thumb because we were walking.

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After we got some circulation going, we headed back to hotel to board our canal cruise. The boat was a small, simple, yet elegant 101 year old boat. The tour lasted about 45 minutes and drove us through the oldest parts of Amsterdam and the Red Light District. Fun Fact, because of the slave trade, their monarchy was and is still known as one of the wealthiest monarchies in the world. Also, interestingly enough, the canals are all fresh water and they are rebuilding the city for a 3 foot sea level rise. The boat ride was just what we needed. It gave us a brief history of the city all while allowing us to relax a bit. We were all exhausted. We got let off at the Red Light District and walked back to the hotel (not after getting lost for a hot minute).

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Still exhausted, and somewhat delusional, we showered again and went down to our dinner reservation which was in the hotel. This supposed Michelin-starred restaurant turned out to be somewhat of a disaster. The chicken I ordered was cold (as well as everyone else's food) and wrongly prepared. So, now not only was my sleeping schedule off, but so was my eating schedule. Luckily, I had some leftover trail mix in the room.

All in all, it was a successful first day of this great journey ahead of me. Time for me to sleep for the first time in over 24 hours.

Posted by kristinameyers 06:42 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

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