Travel Diary: The Departure

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The Travel Diary is a retrospective blog about our 3-month long wedding trip in 2003. We’re sharing stories about our honeymoon across 11 countries, including accommodation details, recipes, travel stories, and the story of how 2 people started a lifelong adventure together.

The formalities were taken care of, and it was time for us to depart for our 12-week honeymoon trip across Europe.

This would be my first trip overseas, and my husband’s second. If I’m disclosing everything, it was also only my second plane ride in my entire life, and I was terrified. I managed to survive the tiny bit of turbulence – and the food – and after a short stop in London, we finally arrived in Amsterdam.

The Netherlands is a beautiful place, and Amsterdam was a wonderful introduction to a new part of the world for me. By the time we exited Centraal Station in the heart of the city, I was overtaken by all the new sensory input. Stepping out in to my first experience on a new continent, I was struck by the details, as I often am when I arrive in a new place. The differences in architecture, the smell of new food, the sound of people speaking differently, the way people interacted with each other – everything felt so new and interesting. I found myself keeping mundane things like receipts or ticket stubs, starting a collection of keepsakes and memory triggers that I have yet to put into a scrapbook as I’d promised myself 12 years ago.

Amsterdam - Little People

Our brief visit to Noordvijk’s endless stretch of beach along the North Sea proved to be the perfect balance to Amsterdam’s extroverted energy. In both locations, we had opted to stay at the Flying Pig youth hostels. If you are young, social, and don’t mind sharing a rarely empty bathroom, the Flying Pig is a Netherlands experience you must have. There may be quieter, more mellow hostels and inns out there that offer more than your standard hardboiled egg and bread breakfast, but staying at the Coachella of youth hostels is a bit like earning your first pips as an honest-to-goodness backpacker. You’ll meet lots of new people, you’ll get used to what youth hostels around the world are like in a friendly environment, and you’ll be living the teenage dream. Just don’t expect a quiet night in!

Boy and his Book

We were scheduled to return to Amsterdam to catch our flight home in 3 months time, so we knew we would get a chance to see more of the city later on – in fact our second visit to the city many weeks later was an opportunity to see another side of Amsterdam – but more on that later. Our first adventure here was filled with mayo-slathered fries, beach days, visits to a few sidewalk bistros, coffeeshops, and city squares, and long strolls through the colourful canal-lined streets of one of the most charming cities I have ever visited. We avoided tourist traps like the wax museum and opted for more fulfilling sights like the NEMO Science Centre. I look forward to returning to the Netherlands again soon.

Soon we were headed back to Schipol airport to catch our flight to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Next Up: “Prague, Pivo, and Pork”

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