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Published: July 12th 2010
This must have been Halifax; the other two were dark.
Our flights were uneventful. We flew from Calgary to Halifax where we had a lobster dinner; market price in the airport was higher than we wanted to pay, but how often do we get lobster?? We also bought a wrap to eat along the way. Food was a must since you don’t get any when you take 3 four hour flights. We boarded the Iceland Air flight to Reykavik. Both Dan and Ashley wrote in their journals but Dan also found time to take a nap (What a slacker). We were really hoping to see more of Iceland from the sky but there were too many clouds. Once we got below the cloud line we could see some of the terrain. It’s so different from Canada where all you see is squares and straight lines. Iceland looked wild and untamed; we figure we’ll try to visit for longer (you know, actually leave the airport) on the way home from Europe.
When we landed in Reykavik we had to go through security again, because as you may or may not know security around the world is not as intensive as it is in Iceland. Ashley had to walk through the metal
Arch van Noach
If you look closely you can see a tiny Ashley and a tiny Claudia.
detectors three or fours times. They could not figure out what was beeping so much; it turned out to be her headband. How was she supposed to know; she got through security in Calgary without so much a word about her headband???? Then we came to the dreaded customs line. Usually these lines are long, bothersome and scary. However, we barely had to wait in line and a stern looking lady took our passports, made sure we matched our pictures and let us though. She never said a word to us. However, she was pretty scary looking. I’m sure if she’d asked either of us questions we would have cracked under the pressure. I’m talking scary!!! We had to wait in Reykavik for an (almost) three hour layover. It was filled with napping for Ashley (did I mention she hadn’t slept much so far) and reading for Dan.
Then it was off to Amsterdam. Hmm, what can I say about Amsterdam at this point. I don’t think anything I say about Amsterdam would be fair because we were there for under 24 hours and we mostly hung around the busy train station and hostel. When we landed we had
"Most Romantic" canal in Amsterdam
This was on the canal tour. We recommend a live guide.
to find the train to central Amsterdam, which wasn’t so hard. We even found the train platform relatively easily. Once we got to central Amsterdam we had to find the hostel. We got all the instructions from the information office: the bus and the stop we had to get off at. What we didn’t get were the instructions to the hostel once we got off the bus. Whoops! This meant that we walked around aimlessly for a while. How were we supposed to know which direction Timorplein was? After a while Ashley found a sign pointing us in the right direction. After a little wandering around, with our 30 lbs packs on our backs, we found the hostel. ‘Finally’, Ashley sighed; she was excited to put her bag down and sit on her bed.
The rest of the day was an exercise in sleep deprivation torture. We walked around Amsterdam looking for bread and cheese and fresh fruit for dinner. Once we found the goods we settled in a park for our first Dutch dinner. After that we rode a random tram to see a bit of Amsterdam and try to keep ourselves awake; this was a bit unsuccessful
At the park
On the way to the library. Yay, super hot day!!!
as Ashley kept nodding off. We also tried to call home, unsuccessfully may I add. The phone cards we got with our Hostelling International memberships, which boasted 15 free minutes, were bogus (at least out of Canada). And we had to buy internet time at the hostel which was weird because Ashley was pretty convinced most hostels had free wi-fi. There were other things she had to get used to like hostels and carrying all her luggage on her back, aka no shopping because there’s no room for more clothes! Back to the hostel thing, this was the first night in a hostel for Ashley but she slept pretty well since she was so beat from travelling.
The next day we travelled to Kampen to meet Dan’s parents. It was a three-train ride to get there; and we caught each one with an least a minute to spare. We were half an hour early getting to Kampen and didn’t expect our welcome wagon; much to our surprise Petra snuck up behind us and we got a lift to Jolanda’s house where Dan’s parents waited out of the heat. It wound up only being a fifteen minute walk, but the
This is the tiny street we stayed on in Kampen.
ride was appreciated. Once left to our own devices the four of us took off into the town centre for shopping, lunch, and after supper we started the self guided walking tour.
For July first we took three (or four?) trains and a bus to Gorichem to check out a replica of the “Arch van Noach” (on the train we decorated ourselves with Canada flag tattoos to commemorate Canada Day). The Ark was built only large enough to be able to fit though the Netherlands’ canals, so it only had three floors and the top deck. The bottom floor had a small theatre (seating 150 people), an approximation of an old galilean fishing boat, and a few scenes from the Bible accompanied by the text. The second floor was mainly the fake animals, while the third floor exhibited the science supporting creationism. The top deck had a large eating area, the open air deck and some live birds. They are currently building a sea worthy, full-scale ark; it will be ten times larger. After seeing the Ark we went to Amsterdam for a canal tour. Boy was it hot so Ashley nearly fell asleep but the tour took us through the parts of Amsterdam we hadn’t seen earlier. The canal system is very intricate and small in places and we learned a lot about what they are used for and the history of Amsterdam.
July 2nd was a scorcher. We heard later that it got up to 36° (ay, ay, ay). We took it pretty easy and went to the library to use the internet (it was only after we spent money for the internet that we figured out we could connect to it at Jolanda’s house, whoops). We also took refuge in the air conditioning of the supermarket. Who knew we’d ever want to spend so much time looking for groceries? Later we watched the Netherlands play Uruguay in the quarter finals of World Cup football. Neither Ashley or Dan are particularly keen on watching televised sports (live action is so much better) but it’s hard to resist when you are visiting the country that’s playing such an important match. When the Netherlands won we heard cheers and horns erupt from the surrounding houses. That’s all for now folks. Until later.
Oh, and let us know if the posts can/should be longer/shorter; this is our first time blogging so we’re not sure if they’re long and boring, too short and uninteresting, or somewhere in between. 10Q!!
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