While we were overseas we were able to do a little bit of traveling. I am glad we were able to do this. In May of 2008 I took a USO tour with some friends to visit Amsterdam & The Netherlands. It was a two-day tour but you were supposed to sleep on the bus. I think I was one of the only ones that couldn’t do that but it was still worth it, even though I never got to sleep.
We were able to go to a cheese farm, a place they made wooden shoes, the Keukenhof where we got to see all of the tulips and beautiful flowers, we took a canal right around Amsterdam and visited a diamond shop. We also had exactly one hour of free time where a friend of mind was able to see the Anne Frank house. The rest of us didn’t think we had enough time to do the tour, although we did get to see the outside. I wish I had been a little more adventurous and done it even if it meant getting on the bus five minutes before we were supposed to be there.
The USO is a great way to travel if you don’t want to plan the trip yourself. It is good for traveling alone, with your spouse or your friend. You sign up on post, pay the fee and then go where you need to go the day the trip starts. They have day trips, overnight trips and even week-long ones. You can also meet new people on these trips which is a lot of fun. If I didn’t have children when I was in Germany I would have gone on as many trips as I could afford to do but that just wasn’t possible.
I thought Amsterdam was amazing. I want to go back with my husband and spend a week there. In some ways it reminded me of what New York City would be like, although I have never been there myself. In other ways it reminded me a bit of San Fransisco. It was just big and amazing. Very different from Bavaria and maybe that was why it stood out to me so much. I was used to the German countryside and not a big city.
I loved looking at the tulips at the Keukenhof. They were simply amazing and thinking back to that reminds me to look for tulip festivals in the states. I know they probably won’t compare but they would be great to see too.
When we were in the canal on the boat, I thought it was amazing to think of living on one of those house boats. What a different life that would be from my own. To be that close to water and to have to depend on it. To have a bike and no car. It feels like a different world and I find it fascinating.
That is what I like the most about traveling. Seeing first hand out other people live in different parts of the world. Understanding that my normal is not everyone’s normal and that is a good thing.
The only part of the trip I would have skipped was the diamond factory. It really wasn’t interesting and they kept us there longer then they normally would have. A diamond went missing and they had to figure out what happened before we could leave. I wish we could have spent that time in the city, walking around, visiting the Anne Frank house or doing something else more interesting.
Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What did you think? Have you been on a USO tour?