Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Day 1

So technically I'm not sure if we live in Holland, but we're in the Netherlands anyways, and Holland is in the Netherlands, so I'm guessing you get the idea of where we are.

I'm blogging the day after because I didn't think to blog the trip until the first night while I was trying to sleep, so there ya' go.

On arrival to Amsterdam, we set about getting train tickets to our destination along with finding an ATM. I changed my PIN right before we left and now the silly thing doesn't work. Fortunately, Andy's did so we got some money and were able to get on the train.

The first leg was a bit awkward as we decided to move down into the sitting compartment which meant lugging 2 large and 2 small suitcases plus my backpack and Andy's bag up 2 steps to get in the train (why must you step UP to get into the train???), through a glass door and down 4 or 5 steps to reach the seating area. We only did that once. Another two trains later, and we arrived, changed over our travelers' checques for 35 euros (though next time - if there is a next time - we'll probably just carry cash) so that we could pay the first month's rent in cash (ugh!) and walked somewhere between a half mile and a mile with our luggage to the housing office. This town is made for bikes and cars, not pedestrians - half the time the sidewalks disappear or are so poorly maintained that you can't walk side by side even without luggage. Needless to say we took a taxi to the apt. It wasn't bad - only 10 euros for 2 miles...

After we put all of our junk in and rested a bit, we walked out to find something to eat. The first couple of places we found were Asian, not especially cheap and not in English. The next place was a Turkish place advertising doners! Doners have exceedingly tasty meat of some unknown type on them and I remembered them from Germany, so we stopped there. They were quite tasty, though there were tomatoes (promptly removed) and too much salad (I expected that, but I admit I didn't tell Andy about it!). All together lunch was 8 euros. *sigh*

Once lunch was done we walked over to the place where Andy would be working to say hello and meet a few people, most of whom I am likely to never see again. Whatever. While there we asked about bikes, since that seems to be the principle form of transportation, and it turns out that most shops have waiting lists for bikes! Waiting lists for bikes. Yes, I did say that.

Then we went to the grocery store. The closest store to our place that we were told of was an Aldi where we bought sandwich meat because we were too tired to cook when we got home, plus milk and orange juice for breakfast, but apparently after Andy decided to get these two items he was too tired to get cereal and I didn't even think about it. We did the cart thing where you put in a euro to get the cart and take out a euro when you pick it up. Also, they don't sack your groceries, plastic sacks to carry them cost money, and I'll probably be taking a small suitcase to buy groceries (hey, there was another lady doing it!). 7 euros for 6 sandwiches (hopefully), some cleaning supplies, a liter of oj and a liter of milk. At least we can afford to eat sandwiches!

I think we were in bed by 8...

All in all a productive first day. So far the second day is not so much, but that's another post...

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