Welcome to Europe!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
So B and I took our own little European vacation. We had been talking about it forever, trying to decide where to go, when to go. We got the bug on our Rome honeymoon and have been discussing it ever since. Then we bought a house. Then we got a dog. The European vacation kept getting put on the back burner. But, with a little help from a year end bonus, we decided to make it a reality.
So B started planning it on his own. Since France is so close to England and so close to The Netherlands, he decided we should move about the European Union. Progress was slow. Finding hotel rooms was slow. Fate, however, stepped in and we received a brochure from a travel company that I travelled with in law school. They were offering a vacation for the exact time we were looking for and to four countries we wanted to see Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Belgium, Paris (France) and London (England). Sold!
So we left on April 2nd for an 8 hour journey across the pond where it was 6 hours later and the next day. Can anyone successfully sleep on an airplane? On our Italy trip we got majorly screwed up. This time, we had to stay awake as our hotel room wasn't ready until 2:00 p.m. First stop? Some coffee and a bagel. Well, maybe tea.
How cute is that plate? They spoke nearly perfect English with the slight misunderstanding between B and the waiter that resulted in his small water being served in a shot glass. Seriously.
One thing we immediately noticed were all of the bicycles. We later learned that Amsterdam is second only to China for the amount of bicycles (average 4 per family). There were bikes everywhere. They even had their own paths, which we found out by almost being mowed down by one. You quickly learn where you need to walk when your life depends on it.
Of course we went to the Red Light District. We went during the day. Then it just seems dirty, touristy and normal. At night? The same but with glowing red lights. We saw a woman ask one of the girls behind the glass door "how much?" only to be told by the girl she only does men. B was also a favorite of one knocking, pouting girl, but he was too busy planning his next photo op to pay her any mind.
This was the area surrounding our hotel. We loved our hotel. It had free wi fi and we brought our iPad. That meant B could continuously use Google Earth to "find us" even though we were technically always in the same place.
Our hotel had twin beds. We could not even push them together. Somehow I still managed to have more room on that little bed than I do in our king size with all of the animals, including B.
The weather held up pretty good. Fall like with no rain. Perfect for walking all around town and planning on when you could move there, abandon your car and live a life of biking around like a mad man and woman.
Aside from bikes, the best way to get around is the tram. Although it nearly cost us our marriage, we finally figured out the payment system and the routes and all was a piece of cake after that. Except for the time we were nearly separated. It was like out of the movies. Picture this:
I realize we are at the end of the line and the only ones left. I insist that we must GET OFF NOW. B gets off, but as I am waving my pass to leave, the doors start to close. B is pushing his button, I am pushing mine and we are panicking as I start to drive away BY MYSELF ON A TRAM IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WHERE THEY SELL DRUGS AND SEX. I can still see B's face as I pull away looking like "Seriously?" while I shrug my shoulders and plan on how to get back to him. Where would this thing take me? Just as I got myself into a huge panic, the tram stopped at the next stop, four feet away.
Welcome to Europe!