The flight to Amsterdam was a little less than 10 hours. With the time difference I basically flew into the next day which resulted in one long day. On the flight I was so excited the first couple of hours, then after dinner I watched a movie and then fell a sleep for a few hours. I was pretty comfortable, I woke up later and watched a few episodes of "E.ver.body Hates Chris" and "G.Ga.vin" and read a couple of magazines. The plane was full of alot of Dutch people and I was listening in one some of the conversations (as if I could understand LOL !) The flight was not bad at all & seemed to go quicker than I expected. This was the longest flight I have ever taken and they had this little monitor that you can select to view your travel status. It shows you where you are on the route, the time of day of where you came from and where you are going, the speed of the plane, ect. I have always loved Continental, but I must say I was pretty impressed with them on this trip. For breakfast they served me a nice warm croissant with some fruit & knew this day was going to be great ! I arrived at the airport, got my bags, made it through Customs, went to the bank for some Euros and went to the designated coffee shop to meet my cousin's wife. I had to ask for a few directions here and there but managed to get where I needed to go. I immediately noticed that English is only spoken if absolutely necessary. I made sure to be my standard polite self, but some of the Europeans seem very ....shall I say, not very warm. It's wierd to me to make eye contact with someone, offer a smile and get a blank stare, I mean who does that ? When I mentioned it to my cousin, he described them as being very "glib" which I thought pretty much summed it up. It's not that they are mean, they just come across as unconcerned LOL! The other thing that I noticed almost immediately at the airport and then on the train was how thin or fit everyone seems to be. I mean there are hardly any people here who look overweight at all. I am a" juicy size 10" which means that depending on the cut of the pants due to my thighs and "ba dunk a dunk" I might need a 12 but I am very tall (5"10") so I don't usually feel self conscious about my size but everyone here made me take notice. After my first 24 hours here I think I understand why no one is very heavy. The life style here is very pedestrian and promotes daily movement. Everyone has a bike and rides it everywhere. I mean you see people of all ages riding bikes. The city is set up to encourage it, there are bike paths everywhere, and the drivers have to concede to the bikers. My counsin told me there are stiff fines and penalties against the drivers if there is an accident. The other thing that I have noticed is the simplicity of this place. Everything here is alot smaller and the pace here seems slower. What I am reminded of is how Americans do everything in excess. I had the most lovely pink Tulips in my room and my cousin's wife has fresh flowers throughout the house. She told me that I will be amazed at how inexpensive flowers are here and there is a flower stand everytime you turn a corner. I can say that my first day here has been very enjoyable and peaceful. I really feel like I am far away from home and that is definitely a good thing.
Where did you go on your last vacation ? Have you ever been to Europe ? What kind of cultural differences have you encountered when travelling ? What is the best thing about travelling ?