Montag, 21. Mai 2012
Arriving in Europe at first was unreal. The airport in Amsterdam seemed more like a mall than an airport but the couple hour layover was quite bearable. The people were very nice and most all of them knew english that I ran into. This was the first place that I discovered the Euro. The different bills and coins were a big difference. The bills increase in size as they increase in value. I have heard that this is done for the blind so they know what they have money wise without problem. There are no one dollar bills but there are one and two euro coins and smaller cents. It took a little bit to understand the exchange rate but this was overcome easily. During the first week I learned more than I could imagine. Our first day consisted of learning some German history and the structure of the language. Living in a place not knowing the home language has been life changing. I have learned the younger generations will usually talk to you and understand English. Some older people will ignore you or point in a random direction and act like they have no idea what you're saying. The German language is nothing like the English language. Some words may sound somewhat like the other language but most sound nothing alike. Some German words sounds like complete jibberish but the feeling is mutual to the German people. We got the oppurtunity to take a tour of the old section of Cologne or Köln as they say it here. the most interesting part was the huge cathedral that draws a huge amount of tourism. It took hundreds of years to complete it and many people even died. It is so big that I could not fit the whole thing on a picture frame. Much of the city was destroyed during the war and there has been ruins that are still being discovered today. Taking this tour made me realize how young the history is in the United States. History goes back so far with amazing architect that is unlike anything I would see back home. For the first weekend I met some people from Florida that are in my program and we made a trip to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The common assumption is that all there is to do in Amsterdam is smoke weed drink beer and explore the red light district. Actually there is much more to do there. We got to take a boat tour around the canals and got to see all the sights Amsterdam had to offer. Also I found it very interesting to see the house Anne Frank found refuge during the time she wrote her diary.