Hello and welcome to Amsterdam! Welllll... almost. We actually ended our night in Cologne by buying train tickets to  Amsterdam. We didn't want to mess up and get kicked off a train this time so we bought reserved seats-- early!

We got to the train station, bought starbucks (I KNOW), found our seats and were on our way. I slept almost the whole way, which was great. Except I'm coming down with a cold and I keep waking myself up with very loud snores.. almost snort sounding. So I give up. Journal, drink and music here I come.
PS. My sweet coworker gave me this travel journal for my birthday. I LOVE it! And I bought my fancy Little Rock pen in the airport before leaving. It even has a light :) 

The train wasn't as fast and I thought it would be, since we took an express and all. What was interesteing-- right as we crossed over from Germany to the Netherlands, two young guys who looked a little, well.... rough... were basically profiling and checking passports. I was scared until I saw their badges and vests. Lots of questions about travel, etc. We weren't questioned, whew. 

We made it to Amsterdam! Trying to grab the tram to our hotel wasn't as easy as it looked. So confusing. I swear it took us 30 mins to figure out how to purchase a ticket. So many people, everywhere. It was really overwhelming. 

The tram took us straight through town. So many shops and cool stores, everywhere! I wanted to buy everything-- but oh yeah, backpacks! 

We dropped our bags at the hotel and took off to sight-see. Scott and Holly weren't going to make it to town until a few hours after us, they were coming from Berlin. 

These were our first two pictures in Amsterdam. This place is so amazingly beautiful. 

We found a bakery around the corner from our hotel and grabbed a sandwich. Do you know they use butter on their sandwiches here? I thought it was really weird, until I ate it. And then I decided that I love it. 

Next stop: The Van Gogh Museum. The line was SO long. We outsmarted the system, bought tickets on my phone and then skipped the line! We also did this because I was .10 euro short of the admission fee and we couldn't find an ATM. 

We had an hour between the time we bought the tickets and entered the museum so we walked the museum park/lawn and laid in the grass like all the locals. The only difference with us, we weren't smoking grass. It was like nothing I've every seen before-- people everywhere.. napping, making out, eating, drinking. 

So back to the museum we go and now we got to skip the line! It was an awesome museum. A little different than I expected but still great. The history of his life, works that inspired him by other painters and then plenty of originals by Van Gogh. 

A couple interesting facts- he did the majority of his work in 5-6 years and painted 70 works of art in the last 75 days of his life. 

As we left the museum, we got a text from Scott and Holly that they arrived. So we rushed back to the hotel and met them on the hotel patio, caught each other up on our separate Germany trips. 

We booked our trip though Gate 1 Travel and we had a welcome receiption at 6 this day, followed by dinner. I thought we were on a trip with about 12 people. I think there were actually 34 with us? Shows how much reading I did prior to departure. We met our guide, Robert, an older chap from England. Very nice accent. We very much enjoy and love this about him. 

We did the whole getting to know you thing, going around the room to introduce ourselves, where we're from, etc. Everyone was from the US except 2 ladies from Canada. Lots from Florida, a few from Texas. 

After dinner we planned to walk to a nearby park. Inside this park was kind of a bizarre bar pavilion. We grabbed drinks and it started to rain.. so we hung out for a while. Scott actually got a little bit of Pokemon go action in... supposedly there were lots to catch?  

After the rain cleared we left the park, we really wanted to get out by dark. You know, just in case. We had a nice walk back to the hotel, this place is so extreme beautiful! It's perfect. AND now, it's bedtime. Can't wait to explore Amsterdam tomorrow.