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My winter (summer) holidays.

July 21, 2009

Well the first part of my epic journey, to try and see the majority of my friends and family spread across Europe, is underway.

On Friday night at 6pm (local time) I boarded a KLM flight from Lima to Amsterdam.  As usual I had forgotten a) how little leg room there is b) how nice their food is.  After watching 2 episodes of The Big Bang Theory, dinner was served. I had a nice conversation with the Norwegian woman sat next to me, and then I watched Slumdog Millionaire which, if you haven’t seen, you should watch.  I then tried to sleep. I dozed a bit, but was very relieved when I realised that it was light outside and they were serving breakfast!

We landed slightly ahead of time and then there was the inevitable dull wait for my bag.  The hotel (www.citizenm.com) was really easy to find, and is delightfully geeky 🙂  I did little more than drop my bags, have a wash and play with the room control pod for 5 mins, before heading back towards the Airport to catch the train into Amsterdam Centraal.

Once in the centre of Amsterdam I wandered aimlessley in the general direction of where I thought the Art museums were.  It had been pouring down when we landed, but soon the sun came out and I had a rather lovely afternoon meandering through the streets of Amsterdam getting some sun.  Eventually I arrived at the Van Gough museum and spent a couple of hours looking at pretty pictures.  Decided that Sunflowers is not that good, but really like the cherry tree ones. What you don’t get from the prints is just how thick some of the paint is – they are really highly textured!

As the museum was closing I decided to take another route back towards the train station, with the hope of finding food on the way.  In the end I went into a Mexican place just opposite the station as it was the first place I came across where I could understand the menu.  The owner was delighted that I spoke to him in Spanish, and then kept telling me how cute I was, which I found unnerving, especially as he was old enough to be my father!  Nobody else I had met that day seemed to be pleased that I was speaking Spanish.  Can’t think why…

Amsterdam, even though I have been there before, was a bit of a culture shock having lived in a predominantly Catholic, fairly conservative country for the last 18 months.  Tattoos, piercings, odd clothes, men holding hands and kissing each other in the street are just not things you see often in Lima.  Still, it is lovely to be looking at familiar trees, flowers and birds again – I got slightly over excited the first time I saw a jackdaw – even the grass is the right sort 🙂 really feels like I’m back home (even though I’m not).

I got the train back to the hotel thinking that it wasn’t that late as it was still light, only to remember that it doesn’t go dark at 6 in northern Europe in the summer, and by the time I had showered, repacked for the morning, played with all the room settings some more, checked my email and got to bed that it was about 11pm.

Getting the plane the next morning was a piece of cake.  I went down for breakfast at about 7.30, left the hotel (having checked myself out on a funky little computer thing) at 8 and by 10 past was stood in the EasyJet bag drop queue.  No worries.  I think I will book myself in at the same hotel on the way back – it really takes the stress out of getting to the airport when you know you can walk it in 5 mins!

Thus ended the first part of my travels.

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