Utrecht

Submitted by Ben on Thu, 09/22/2016 - 12:04

Wednesday, Sept 21

We left Emporia around 7am and met Zarrin and Ziya Reynolds at a pet hospital where they volunteer, north of Kansas City. Zarrin came with us to breakfast while Ziya drove her car to work. Zarrin has been unemployed for 6 months after schoolteaching at a juvenile detention facility became too dangerous. After breakfast at Waffle House, she dropped us off at the airport and borrowed our car for the duration of our vacation.

Our flights were uneventful, except that I realized during our layover in Philadelphia that I'd forgotten the power cord to my computer. I figured I had more than enough charge for my presentation the next day, and I just wouldn't do any work the rest of the trip! The flight to Amsterdam was cramped, and Jessie got almost no sleep, while I got an hour or two. They fed us dinner and breakfast, which we shared so I could avoid gluten.

Thursday, Sept 22

We arrived at the Amsterdam airport around 8:30 in the morning local time. I had purchased two "HollandPasses," cards that will get us discounts on lots of tourist attractions as well as public transportation. Unfortunately, the email confirmation never arrived, so I spent about an hour getting all the documentation I needed to get both the passes and the train tickets into town. We arrived at Amsterdam Centraal around 10:30.

I was enamored by the picturesque downtown and suggested walking to our hostel, about two miles. Jessie agreed but quickly became uncomfortable due to being very tired and hot. We persevered and straggled in before noon. I picked up some disappointing lunch from a nearby deli while Jessie got a shower and lay down for a nap. I had planned to visit an urban garden on the west side of town, but after looking at the distance and the time available, decided to nap instead!

Around 2:30 we took a tram back to the station and a train to Utrecht, where I was to give a presentation on the Drupal migration work I've been doing, to an informal Meetup group of Drupal users. We arrived in plenty of time and again decided to walk from the station, but it went better this time! We got to the meeting almost an hour before it actually began, because people arrived late. Jessie went for a sightseeing walk during my presentation. I was not satisfied with how the presentation went, because the audience was more experienced than I expected (and a few of them more so than I was), and I made a couple of mistakes in my demo that caused it to last longer than anyone had planned on, so that I delayed the second speaker's talk.

I had made tentative plans to meet up with the organizer of the Netherlands' first "library of things," DeDeelkelder, after the Drupal Meetup, but we had trouble reaching him and decided we were too tired to track him down under the circumstances, so we went back to Amsterdam.

See our album of photos from Utrecht.