The transition from graduation to Europe was quick. I had to pack up all my belongings, drive to California, and catch an international flight in less than 72 hours. At first this was quite overwhelming, but I took one step at a time and made it to Europe all in one piece!
My flight was on Norwegian air and it was quite enjoyable. I lucked out with a great seat and the plane was brand new (a 787 Dreamliner non the less).
I flew into Oslo, Norway and as soon as I got in I realized I was not in America anymore. I waited in a line to get my passport checked and started to get used to not having english everywhere. I started to get used to reading signs by looking for an icon.
I took the train into the city before my flight to Amsterdam to meet up with Hank. Buying my tickets at the machine was quite challenging when nothing was in English, luckily I had some help from a nice train employee. It was a beautiful city, however, with my jet lag combined with my backpack walking around was not the easiest.
I made it back to the airport and had to go through security once more. For the first time I could not rely on icons to communicate why my bag possibly did not make it through security. Luckily it was just a tube of toothpaste that they had to run through the machine once more and I was off.
I flew over the Norwegian Sea and got a great view of the farmlands in The Netherlands. I saw all the windmills that I soon learned were installed by farmers thanks to large subsidies.
Once I got into Amsterdam international I met up with hank and his uncle. I got to their farm house that had been in their family for multiple generations. I tried their delicious raw beef spread on some crackers and washed it down with their national beer Heineken while watching some Dutch television.
After being up for what felt like at least three days because of all the time zones I had crossed I fell asleep like a baby. We woke up early and were lucky enough to have a great local breakfast.
We then took a car ride to Doordechd to the train station where we got our rail passes validated. We jumped on the train that was leaving in 5 minutes to Amsterdam. The train had wifi on it so we were able to plan out our place to stay that night in a hostel about 10 minutes walk from the central train station.
Hank had been in Amsterdam the day before and knew the city pretty well so we were able to find our hostel relatively easy. After we checked into a 12 person mixed dorm room we headed out to find some food.
After seeing Anne Frank’s house, the Dutch palace and tons of bikes we tried to find a place to grab a beer. We then had to find Hank a watch which was harder then expected due to a holiday making a majority of the stores closed even in the busiest part of town.
After exploring a bit of the nightlife in Amsterdam we ventured back to our hostel and decided to head to Spain the next morning. We soon learned that trains are busy and we couldn’t reserve a spot on the train to Paris until late the next day. We lucked out and found a regional train to Brussels and then a train to Paris from there.