Well this is the last of the posts she has sent me for now. Wait and see for the finale of her trip in a few weeks!
I think so far A’dam (Amsterdam) has been my favorite stop. It’s a combination of the bikers everywhere, the canals and the fact that every building is ever so slightly overgrown with vines and plants. I loved the fact that there seemed to be no large chain stores. For example, there was a leather store that I walked in and the owner was just in the middle of the one room shop making a handbag right in front of me. I also couldn’t pass up all the Dutch cheese stores where I had many many samples and ended up buying a wedge of cheese to take home. I rented a bike for one day which was fun but also somewhat nerve wrecking since bikes there are treated almost as cars.
I even got to go to Zandvoort aan Zee which was a beach on the North Sea. It wasn’t exactly pretty with its brownish water, but it was cool knowing that I was on the opposite side of the Atlantic. On the way back I stopped by in Haarlem where I tried the local raw herring. I wouldn’t particularly suggest it to anyone considering it reminded me of a sushi sandwich with the fish skin still on it, but at least I gave it a try. That night I took a stroll through the Red Light District which was interesting to say the least.
I have about five more weeks here and my upcoming plans include London, cycling weekend, and a wine and castle weekend along the Rhine River. It’s been absolutely incredible spending my time here. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my ability to be an independent traveler.
I’ve compiled a short list of things I’ve learned about the differences in the culture here (a.k.a. why America is better than Europe). Here are some of the better ones:
- There’s absolutely no jaywalking, you will get dirty looks
- Beer really is cheaper than water
- On that note, there are no public water fountains. I couldn’t even buy large water at McDonald’s; the woman said it was impossible.
- And still on that note, they only drink sparkling water
- No one says bless you/gesundheit when you sneeze
- They have an honor system for the most part when it comes to public transportation (in this case Germany is better than America)
- People smoke everywhere including inside sometimes
- Separate your recyclable glass into green, white, and brown!! (probably from all those beer bottles)
- Apparently winky faces are just a friendly thing
- You enter a building on the E or 0th floor, not 1st
I’m excited to see what these next five weeks bring but I also think by the end I will be very excited and ready to head back to friends and family in America. Until next time, choos!
P.S. If you’re ever lost in Europe and see lots of signs with arrows reading “Einbahnstrasse” it is not pointing to a main road, it’s just saying that’s a one way street………