by Callie Bredice
Day one has finally arrived and regardless of the jet lag and many waking hours we are all beyond excited. As we landed at Schiphol Airport I saw unexpected landscapes. After reading The Dutch and Their Delta, I presumed the landscape would be more green, and have canals and ditches everywhere. However, that was not the case and for the most part Amsterdam looked like a regular city, with ditches in certain locations.
We then made our way back to the Stayokay hostel, and myself and many others in the group were able to walk around Amsterdam and gain familiarity with the lay of the land. Multiple times we were thrown off guard by the rushing bikers as we walked directly over their path without even realizing. This will be challenging over the course of the next 12 days. Not only remembering to yield to others, but to look out for travelers who are also unfamiliar with proper etiquette. Amsterdam is very busy which is definitely a change of pace compared to Burlington!
When the bikes were delivered we also were given super stylish helmets (see photo below). Although it is not common for the Dutch to wear helmets, we will be wearing them throughout the trip.
We then adjusted our bikes, buckled our helmets and went on our way to the grocery store. Here we gathered items for lunches over the next few days and a few breakfasts here and there. Being in the grocery store was interesting because the items were labeled in Dutch. For example, as we stood in front of various peanut butter brands I found it challenging to interpret what certain things meant (contains salt, chunky, etc).
Needless to say, we are one tired crew and a good night sleep will rejuvenate us for the lengthy days ahead. Looking forward to all the beautiful stops along the way and the educational portion on how the Dutch manage living below sea level!