European Adventure – Part 1

I’m sure if I tried hard enough I could summarize our trip enough to write only one post about our time in Amsterdam, but instead of one huge, long anecdote I’m going to split it up a little bit.

Day 1 started off with our overnight flight from Boston to Reykjavik to Amsterdam.

I’m not sure if it was the stress of the overnight flight, or the stress of the chaos surrounding me on WOW Airlines that got to me, but the only thing I wanted to do when we landed in Amsterdam was nap.

Until this point I have never been on a flight where people were allowed to line up outside the bathrooms or shuffle through the overhead bins mid-flight.

I was slightly annoyed upon boarding, really annoyed after sitting at the gate for over an hour, and extremely annoyed at the people constantly hovering over me while waiting in line for the bathroom.

Thanks to the hour delay in Boston, our hour layover in Reykjavik quickly diminished into a five minute layover consisting of a bus ride between terminals and a nice sprint to our gate – thankfully, we made it.

Even through all our planning we somehow missed the part of our trip that consisted of getting from the airport in Schiphol to our hotel in Amsterdam Centre. Trying to read a bus map in Dutch with all of our luggage after a 10-hour night of traveling was not the highlight of my trip.

Sometimes I am thankful for John, and this was one of the times. He got us on the right tram, found the right stop, and carried all of our luggage while navigating the streets of Amsterdam until we found out hotel. All while dealing with me complaining the whole time ūüôā

I would have gone right to sleep if I could have- but it was lunch time, and we were in Europe, and our room wasn’t ready yet.

Once I was cleaned up and luggage free I could actually enjoy myself. Maybe John’s positivity rubbed off on me a little and I woke up enough to wander the streets. We didn’t know where we were going and we had no plan, but that was just fine with us.

I wish I could remember what exactly we saw on that first day but I can’t. I was lost in the history and the architecture, as well as just physically lost in the city. I took my eyes off the scenery so little that I think I have less than 10 photos on my phone from that first day.¬†I honestly don’t think photos would do the place justice anyway.

Our wanderings took us into the night – with a brief nap before dinner, I admit- with dinner across the way from a sex shop, some space cakes, and a stroll through the Red Light District. Whilst in Amsterdam, right?

Myrtle Beach Mini Vacation

Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own town. Even though Myrtle beach is not my hometown, I grew up a lot while living there for almost five years, on top of the countless number of family vacations to the area when I was younger.

Each visit brought new memories and new experiences and this week I was able to go back once again to see even more.

The first thing I noticed was how much change is going on around the city. Broadway at the Beach is undergoing major¬†construction, they’re building an all new, multi-level go kart course, and there’s a lot more CCU morale after the Chants just won the College World Series.

Being a tourist in the area meant more freedom, and more freedom meant more exploring. I was able to do things that I never got the chance to while living in Myrtle Beach such as the Myrtle Beach Safari Adventure.

The T.I.G.E.R.S Preservation Station is located at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach and is actually just a preview of their safari tour. We got to check out some of the wildlife that they care for and take some awesome photos!

Next time I will definitely do the whole safari tour which offers a look at more animals in a more natural setting and is a longer tour. This excursion is not cheap but it is so worth it.

I have friends who grew up in Myrtle Beach who still have not done this and after seeing my pictures are hopping right on the bandwagon!

I am back home in Massachusetts for now, hanging out and plotting my next adventure. I swear if traveling was free, you would never see me again.

Sea Planes and Goodbyes

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I do not believe any picture I take could ever do Alaska justice, the natural beauty of this state is unreal. Tuesday I took a sea plane from Skagway to Juneau and flying over the Lynn Canal was absolutely breathtaking.

I have spent several days while in Alaska boating or hiking around the Lynn Canal, including my first trip into town on the ferry, but flying over the mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls offered such a different perspective.

Skagway itself is only one mile long, so the runway of the airport actually runs the length of the the town. After two months of living in a town that small, I enjoyed the feeling of being an outsider looking in. It kind of made me realize that life does not stop just because you decide to leave.

My heart broke a little as I looked back and saw Skagway growing smaller and smaller behind us; knowing I made such good friendships and memories in a place where I may never return.

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Sea planes are obviously smaller than jet planes, so they fly lower too. Our elevation was right along the tops of the mountains lining the fjord and right below the cloud line.

It seemed as if the mountains were endless, like there were rows upon rows of staggered peaks in all directions. The white caps of the mountains had melted in the two months since I arrived, leaving the gray rocks and the blue glacial ice exposed.

From below you look up and see a mountain range, from above you really see the definition of each mountain that has been carved out. I could almost picture the entire area being covered in glacial ice thousands of years ago.

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The glaciers that still remain fit so perfectly into the mountain side that you wouldn’t imagine one could exist without the other.

I want to imagine I am like one of these glaciers; like I fit so well in this place for a time before melting and drifting away.

Welcome to Skagway

From the minute the airplane dipped under the clouds over Juneau I have been speechless. The look of it whispers “peace” and “adventure.”

There are the mountains painted with evergreens and topped with snow overlooking the many inlets and rivers. Then there are the islands so densely populated by nature you could believe no person inhabits it.

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After my almost 15-hour journey from Boston, all I wanted to do was sleep and prepare for my ferry ride the¬†following day. I cannot wait until I am able to spend more time in Juneau to see what it’s all about.

Taking the ferry from Juneau to Skagway was like riding through a piece of art. Apart from the many islands, mountains, and waterfalls we passed, I got to see different species of birds and a seal.

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It was gorgeous on a cloudy day scattered with rain, I can only imagine how this scene would look with clear skies surrounding it.

Roughly translated, Skagway means “windy city” and this burough certainly lives up to its name. I have already learned that a 50 degree day here is not the same as a 50 degree day back at home, it is much colder thanks to the wind.

Alaska is even more peaceful than I had initially thought on the plane on the way in. Skagway is located in a valley surrounded by several peaks, I could sit out and stare up for hours.

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There is virtually no crime in this small town, unless you count bike theft. I was told the only reason I should need to lock my door at night is because drunk kids may wander in looking for a place to sleep when they get lost on their way home. (But always, always, ALWAYS lock up your bike.)

People take advantage of the sunny days here, they are rare. Even at a measly 53 degrees this weekend locals were running around in shorts and flip flops enjoying the weather. I can’t wait to see what happens when it reaches 70 degrees.

With views like this on the sunny days, it makes sense why people put up with so many rainy ones. Like I said before, speechless.

I am so excited to get this tourist season going and to start work later on this week. So far, so good.