Where to even begin? This day felt like the longest day of my life. Yet, I say that in the best possible way. I have been currently awake for 42 hours straight, yet it doesn’t feel like it. Rather, it feels like several days. Jet leg hasn’t hit me, at least not yet. I don’t want to speak too soon. Yet here I am, wide awake and as alert as ever.
Upon arrival into Amsterdam, it was straight to customs. Our group got questioned when going through customs, yet it wasn’t anything too serious. They just asked what our reasoning to traveling was and where we were planning on going. The usual type of questions. Once we got through customs, we met our tour director Pierre. Pierre was a typical French man. He came across initially kind of haughty but he grew on me. By the end of the trip I felt so grateful for having him on our trip. The only thing is that Pierre carried a light saber, which made us stick out like a sore thumb as tourists.
The most frightening thing about Amsterdam is the bicycles. They are everywhere. I have a fear that one will collide with me. Bicyclists rule the road in Amsterdam and that must be remembered.
I’ve seen photos of canals in Amsterdam, but I didn’t realize there would be so many. They weaved through one of the most serene, relaxing cities in the world.
For lunch we decided to get pizza because we were starving. We ate so much and I drank my first Heineken while in Amsterdam. I was shocked by the size of the glass, it was minuscule. I drank my Heineken and shoved my pizza down my throat at an outside table overlooking Dam Square. As I people watched, it seems that I was being watch by the people. A elderly man from Belgium came up to my table with his wife and asked if he could take a photo of me. He seemed so sincere and good natured that I couldn’t even say no. I just smiled and allowed the old man to take a photo of me and watched him walk away hand in hand with his wife.
We were then off to the diamond factory. Amsterdam is a polishing center for diamonds and they cut and polish the most beautiful rocks. We were shown the entire process and brought into a private room to learn about the differences in cuts of diamonds. They were beautiful and it was extraordinary to see the beauty that can be made from such a small, seemingly not beautiful rock.
As the sun started to set, we boarded a canal guided cruise to take in the scenery from the water. After such a long day, this is what I needed. I was able to finally let it sink in that I was in Amsterdam. I am in Europe.
For dinner we went to a traditional pannenkoeken dinner. Pancakes for dinner is such an odd concept. The one I had had apples and cinnamon, it tasted like desert. Weirdly enough, fries and ice cream were also served with the pancakes. It was a strange but a traditional meal and I’m glad I tried it.
As we were headed to the train to part with Amsterdam for the night, we past a love lock bridge. All I could think of is how romantic this city was. Amsterdam: A city full of diamonds, canals and tulips.