Day 1. It was a Tuesday in the afternoon when I set out from West Virginia, and by the time I arrived at my hotel in Amsterdam it was Wednesday at 11pm. Time flies when you’re having fun, or when you’re dealing with international flights, haha.
from dulles airport (dc) to istanbul (turkey)
It was my first time flying Turkish Airlines, and it wasn’t bad at all. Decent food, not terrible seats, enough room to do stuff without feeling too cramped. Bonus points for an aisle seat with nobody sitting next to me. Yay!
I flew into Istanbul and was a bit blown away by the airport there. It was very modern, functional, but also kind of beautiful. Was lucky enough to touch down right at sunset and snapped a few pictures. They had a fresh squeezed orange juice vending machine, too (which the processing behind the glass!) Sadly didn’t get a photo, but it was pretty interesting.
arriving at amsterdam
Amsterdam’s airport is a bit more of a traditional European airport — seemed a bit more utilitarian and less concerned with aesthetics. When you went outside into a market-style area with the metro lines, news stands, various stores and cafes… it definitely felt a lot busier. It was pretty nice, but I have to say that Istanbul left a more memorable mark.
Blew threw customs without incident and got my bad pretty quickly. Didn’t really feel like navigating the metro system at 11pm with Dutch as the primary language… so opted for a taxi. Ended up costing a staggering 45EU for a 20 minute ride. Looks like we’re gonna stick with Uber from now on.
Driving through the streets offered a quick glance as what’s to come. First of all, they love their Heineken here. A lot of national pride, apparently. Every bar, restaurant, and cafe seemed to have a glowing neon sign announcing that they served Heineken. But what caught my eye more was the narrow streets and alleys, the twisting city streets, the canals that blend right into the cityscape, and a brilliant scape of lighting at night.
By the time I got out to explore at midnight, basically everything was closed down and the streets were empty. I knew that Amsterdam was a city that biked, but even in December at midnight, bikes were the main mode of transport. With huge bike lanes everywhere, it was awesome to see. I also heard that any vehicle that gets into a collision with a cyclist is held liable — not sure how true that is, but kind of shows where the priorities lie.
Biggest letdown was finding out that the International SIM card I have needed an activation code that’s on a piece of paper back home. Looks like I’ll have to carve some time tomorrow to fine an EU roaming data SIM card. Kind of a bummer, but not a huge deal.
tomorrow: we explore
Didn’t see or do to much today besides survive a hellishly long international flights. But as flights go, it was not bad at all. And actually got some shuteye. I’m learning this whole international flyer thing.
Tomorrow we’re heading to some parks while it’s still dark out (and it’s already 2am! Yikes!) I want to get some sunrise photos while it’s still early.