I started my day in Dubai, hitting a breakfast buffet for a quick bite to hold me over until my flight. It was crowded, so I joined another solo traveller, who just happened to be an Italian man from Venice. I already love international travel — I’ve seen a beautiful tapestry of people, and heard various languages, all in the last two days. It’s fantastic.
The flight to Dubai was on a Boeing 777-300ER and the flight from there to Amsterdam today was on a Boeing A380-800, and it was incredible to finally fly in these fancy planes (hi, Fred!). I was being thrifty and went economy/coach, which wasn’t too bad, actually. It, like anything, is what you make it.
A good guide book is worth its weight in gold, and I’ve been happy with mine (Rick Steves). I read up on the Schiphol airport, so I was able to get around when I landed just fine, from baggage claim (yay, my bag made it!), through customs, to an ATM to get a stack of Euros, and to the Connexxion ticket counter to get a shuttle to my hotel. It was pouring here this afternoon, so a walk from the train station would have been beyond what I was up for after so many hours in the air the last two days.
I got checked into my small little 17th century merchant house turned hotel on one of the canals in the west part of Amsterdam. It has 9 rooms, on 3 floors, up very narrow and steep stairs, which I had read about plenty in all the planning leading up to visiting Europe, and it’s quite something to experience them in person.
This hotel has a resident cat, a Maine Coon, named Othello, and I of course made his acquaintance.
I ventured out into the wind and rain to briefly explore the neighborhood and find a good spot for dinner, and came across this amazing place in my wandering, which was an authentic Dutch restaurant. I had a chiken schnitzel dish that was beyond. Of all the places to wander into, a traditional Dutch restaurant was a perfect first meal here. It’s impossible to describe the art of bike riding here — in person, it’s really a site to see.
I have two nights here and then head to Haarlem, which is about a 15 minute train ride, to meet up with my tour group and see more of the area. Looking forward to more exploring tomorrow in this amazing city!