I got back from Amsterdam late Tuesday night in what marked my very first trip out of the country (except for a quick trip to Toronto about 8 years ago, which really doesn't count, because it's only just across Lake Erie, and then Lake Ontario, and it was very much like America except for the whole Metric system thing). A better writer would be able to fully describe the emotion that accompanied this trip. I can only attempt such a feat.
Our plane landed in Amsterdam, where a 115 mile drive to Venlo awaited us. Venlo is a small-ish city on the border of Holland and Germany. I learned that the countryside of Holland looks just like Ohio, except with a lot more Dutch street signs, and rush hour is the same no matter where you go - it sucks. It took us over three hours to get to our hotel. Sick with fatigue, I laid down in my bed, expecting sleep to rush over me like a flood. It never came. Well, not until 5am the following morning, and my alarm went off at 7am. Fun!
I'm sure the lack of sleep contributed greatly to how emotional I was the whole trip. I was overwhelmed to be in a place so far away from home, so far away from anything I know. I was immediately homesick, even though I was thrilled beyond belief to be there, and so grateful for the experience. Almost everyone in Holland speaks English, but not to each other. I learned that no one else in the world speaks Dutch, so when Dutch kids are growing up, they're forced to learn English. However, they don't speak English to each other. All day every day was hours upon hours of white noise - walking around and hearing people talk but having no idea what they're saying. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I certainly didn't expect it to affect me the way I did.
This was a work trip, but I was blessed to be able to spend a lot of time with Gina's brother, sister-in-law, and their son Giovanni. I posted a bunch of pictures of him when he was born a YEAR AGO. Here he is now:
The whole time I was there, I was just so taken aback with how beautiful all of the architecture was. I took A LOT of random pictures of EVERYTHING. Here are some shots from Venlo:
Here's a shot outside of our hotel in Venlo:
At the end of our trip, we headed back to Amsterdam to shoot some scenics there. Amsterdam is officially the coolest city I've ever been to. These pictures do not do it justice.
There are more bikes than cars in Amsterdam:
Craziest language ever.
Every minute I spent in Amsterdam, I couldn't get over the thought that I was walking through a history book. Just imagining all of the things that have happened there, specifically in relation to World War II, I was so humbled, and felt a reverence I've never really felt before. And the whole time I was there, I couldn't help but think over and over again how grateful I am, that this is my job, to travel all over the world and meet new people and have interesting experiences. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought I'd be this lucky.