We landed in Amsterdam at 7:30 local time after an 8 hour flight, several time zone changes, and not nearly enough sleep. We all put on our somewhat happy faces and mustered up enough energy to get us through our first day in Europe.

The day began with us figuring out how to navigate the train system, which is more like what we think of as a subway. They are used all over Europe and are a very popular method of transportation, as are bikes. It was still dark as we rode to the city center, so we could only see a faint outline of the city’s many buildings. The central train station is only about a block away from our hotel and we were able to come drop off our luggage before heading out into the city. We explored some of the local shops and took in some of the native culture before setting out on a canal ride. We got to see so many beautiful buildings and homes, as well as museums, old boats, and one very friendly pidgeons. It was a great way to see more of the city, but we all struggled with not letting the boat gently rock us to sleep.

Next came brunch! We traveled to the Pancake Bakery for what we had been told were some of the best pancakes in the whole city. They surely did not disappoint, coming in a crazy variety of flavors and were the size of a large dinner plate. Some of the better pancake flavors included bacon and banana, chicken and cheese, and banana and Nutella. With Our tummies full we set out on our next adventure, which was to be the Anne Frank house. However, when we arrived we were greeted by a line that stretched on for at least two blocks. So we decided to do that first thing tomorrow morning instead.

On our way back to the hotel we took a walk through the Red Light District for what were some….eye-opening sights, smells, and sounds. It was an interesting experience but will definitely not be a place that I will choose to hang out in when the sun goes down.

After that we got some much needed relaxation time back at the hotel before they set us loose on our own to go explore the city. We checked out more of the local shops, a bakery, and soaked up some more culture. Overall I have found that the people here are friendly, but very focused. They don’t waste any time when traveling, not thinking twice about walking or driving right in front of you. They also dislike it very much when you walk in their bicycle lanes, as bikes are always given the right away. We are going to need to quickly adapt to the pace here in Europe in order to not get run over or lost, but I’m sure we can handle it.

It’s an early bedtime tonight in the hopes of getting rid of our jet lag. Thanks for reading! Talk to you soon!

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