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Netherlands: Amsterdam (#1).

Landed in Amsterdam on Saturday, 10/19/13 at 10am and got to Holiday Inn by 11:30am.

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My colleague and I flew in one day earlier than the remaining three, so we spent the day playing.

Took the train into Amsterdam Central.

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The architecture reminded me a bit of Boston.

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The excitement on the streets reminded me of San Francisco.

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Churches, cathedrals, and awesome architecture everywhere.

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Trams everywhere, part of the streets and shared with bicycles, cars, and pedestrians.

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And the canals. Several dozen canals, so beautiful.

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We spent about three hours walking around and saw about half the city. The city layout is similar to D.C. and Beijing: it appears to be planned in a diamond layout, separated by canals.

We also stopped walked through the Red Light District.

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Condom shop with decorations made… of condoms. There were actually really cool designs.

We walked by a few prostitute booths. A few of them looked really pretty, and I saw one taken by a man dressed as a woman. Not so pretty.

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One of many churches.

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Train stations are SO big. The trains themselves are gigantic, and there are 28 separate rails at this stop alone. The railway system in Netherlands spans the entire country.

Some more thoughts about my first time in Europe, Netherlands, and Amsterdam.

  • Europe/Netherlands is expensive. About 1.1.-1.25x more than San Francisco, which is already top 5 cost of living in the US.
  • Europeans are really fashionable. Girls and guys dress really well.
  • A lot of pretty women here. A lot a lot a lot.
  • People in Amsterdam seem very happy. They were friendly like in the Bay Area.
  • Food portions are small. We Americans are supersized.
  • A lot of people can communicate decently in English. I asked for directions a couple of times and they were able to guide me.
  • I can’t understand Dutch, but can guess a lot of the writing when I know what to look for, e.g. forbidden = verboden, carbohydrates = koolhydraten
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