Friday, December 16, 2005

Re-Post: ...and we're off

Ed: This was my first post from Europe, as you'll find out within a few sentences, and I was still very much a travelling newbie at this point. I'll mostly use what I wrote originally with some minor alterations for clarification. It doesn't read terribly well, I was still very much absorbing everything and writing with a timer clicking away my remaining internet time. Anyways, enough preamble, to the post.

Original posted on: May 29th, 2004

So this is my first post from Europe. It's hard to capture everything that's happened in the last two and half days, but I'll give it a shot.

Firstly, Karl and I took off in style from Winnipeg thanks to the absolutely wonderful Mrs. Geisbrecht.

Fly first class
Karl and I enjoying first class

After enjoying the amenities of the first class travel we boarded our next flight without any waiting. We had a row of three to ourselves, so we worked on catching up on much needed sleep. This was a marginal success despite the little kid behind, who continually made really loud observations from just behind my head.

Excerpts include:
In the span of less than a minute while still idling on the runway. "THE PLANE IS STOPPED!" "... OKAY, ITS MOVING AGAIN!!!" "... NO, WAIT ITS STOPPED" "... ITS BACKING UP!" And then with plane section entirely asleep at a very early hour. "I SEE BLUE!!!!" Which of course was all you could make out, flying over the Atlantic at a high altitude.

We landed in Frankfurt and met up with Kyla without a hitch, who had flown in on a different flight, and then waited for our train to Amsterdam. It turned out to be an interesting train ride, just before entering the Netherlands, an announcement came on in German telling us that the we would have to get off at the next stop as a World War II era bomb had been found on the tracks and we would have to continue from there. A few minutes later a second message came on telling us that they had made contact with the police and we could now continue and shouldn't get off at the next stop. Shortly there after, Netherlands police officers boarded our train and checked everybody's passports. Then as we were exiting in Amsterdam, some plain clothes officers escorted a handcuffed man off the train... so who knows what was actually going on. Anyways, other than that it was an excellent train ride. The scenery is beautiful, but there is a suprising amount of graffiti on every available surface, and I mean everything, which looks really odd because everything else looked like quaint images of old Europe.

Upon arriving in Amsterdam we decided to try walking to our hostel instead of taking the tram, a money saving technique. Kyla was on a really restricted budget and the one who convinced us to give it a try. It turned out to be the right decision, as everything in this city is so incredibly close together and easy to walk to. Bikes and pedestrians rule the streets. We found Peter sleeping on a bench in front of our hostel and after checking in he led us around the town. We decided to hang out in Vondelpark for a while because the weather was so unusually beautiful.

Vondel Park
Kicking back in the park with a Dutch brew

Ed: As you'll have noticed the post ends off pretty abruptly. The original also didn't have any pictures. One of the things we had counted on before leaving was the ability to transfer pictures to my FTP server, both to create more room on Karl's camera and to compliment the blog posts. As it turned out internet connection speed an USB ports were a very limiting factor. We were probably madly trying to figure how to backup the pictures, hence the abandoned post midway.

Also, a fun fact for you folks enjoying that picture of our pasty goodness (Hey, it had snowed in Winnipeg only a few weeks prior), those brews we're sipping are a Heineken brand that tastes a lot like root beer. Karl's face in that picture pretty much sums up the taste exactly.

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