Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amsterdam


Our entire experience getting to Amsterdam was a nightmare. We flew with RyanAir and it was a disaster from the beginning. The flight departed at 6:55am which meant that we had to get up at 4am. The front desk person got the time wrong and woke us at 3:30. That part turned out for the best since it took us pretty much the entire hour to get ready. We had both slept for 2 and a half hours the night before since we realized that the checked baggage limit for RyanAir is 15kg. My pack was 17.6 and Stephen's was 19.6 in Toronto. We headed out at midnight (after paying 35 pounds to add another bag) to try to print a new boarding pass. It took us awhile to find an internet cafe that was open and by the time we got back to our room (aka sardine can) and settled into our respective bunk-beds, it was 1am. When we finally got into our taxi in the morning to take us to the airport, our driver informed us that even though on our tickets it said that we only needed to arrive half an hour early at the airport, it may not be true. He said the gate closes before the flight and that he had missed his flight one time because of it. Anyway, we were in a panic and a rush and when we got to the airport, an hour and 15 minutes and 80 pounds later, we were shocked to see the size of the lines at the baggage drop. Long story short, we got our luggage situation figured out by guessing since the scale ate our money and didn't tell us anything. Luckily we guessed correctly. Before we got to the baggage drop though, they started calling to see if anyone in the line was traveling to Eindhoven and told us to get in a different line because our flight was leaving soon. Everything went smoothly with me but they told Stephen that he would have to take his backpack through the oversized luggage section where they proceeded to search him. When he was done there we went through security, or at least tried. They wouldn't let Stephen through because they hadn't stamped his boarding pass at the baggage drop. He ran back and got that taken care of while I went through security. When he got back to security, they took his computer and ran tests on it. By the time we were finally through and proceeded to the section where we could find out our gate and flight status, we saw that it was the final call for our flight. Keep in mind we were going on very little sleep and it was incredibly early. We full out sprinted toward the gate. I like to think that I'm in pretty good shape but I could only keep up that pace for so long. My legs were burning like crazy and eventually we had to slow to a walk. I'm happy to say that we did make the flight and eventually it was smooth sailing. The flight was short and sweet and we took a bus from the airport into Amsterdam.

It was great to watch Stephen as we entered the city, his enthusiasm for the all of the bikes and the overall atmosphere was awesome.

We are staying in an apartment that's affiliated with Bob's Youth Hostel. It feels like we are living in the lap of luxury after the last place. It's very spacious, we have a kitchen and even a tv (not that it's been turned on at all but still).

We rented bikes and headed to an incredible park where we practiced Acro for a bit and then met up with Sebastian from Toronto. The next day we all met up with Wendy from New York and headed to the Dutch Acrobatics Festival in a place outside of Haarlem (which is two trains stops outside of Amsterdam) and we spend four days there. It was so much fun. There were people from all over the world as well as amazing workshops and performances. Sunday evening, the last part of the performance was an incredible group called This Side Up. Check out more about them here.

The four of us rented bikes and each morning and evening we rode to and from the festival. It was about 15 minutes each way and a relaxing and beautiful way to start and end each day.

We've decided to stay in Amsterdam for another week. We haven't really had any time to do much sight-seeing, other than what we've seen from our bikes so we're hoping to do that now. Sebastian's girlfriend arrived yesterday and the four of us are going to go on a canal tour tonight. Tomorrow we're hoping to take a yoga class, go to the Van Gogh museum and have a picnic in the park. We have all agreed to go on a guided tour of the Red Light District as well.

From here it looks like we're heading back to England for the Southern Lights Festival. We may stop in Belgium but at this point we have no set plans. We'll keep you all updated as we go :)

Oh and click here for more fb pics.

Love to you all,
Erin

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