This was my first time in Europe, and it was the longest day I have ever experienced, literally. We departed from Newark Airport on Monday at 5:00 pm, and landed at Schiphol on Tuesday at 6:00 am, where the adventure began. Starting from the airport we proceeded to our first stop of the day, The U.S. Embassy. As a traveling leadership in agriculture class, each student was responsible for introductions, and being the meeting manager for part of the day. I was held responsible for the first part of the first day. Although I was off to a bumpy start with pink eye irritations on both eyes, I was able to successfully lead 21 individuals through airport traffic and onto our tour bus. At our first stop, we had the honor of meeting Susan Phillips, USDA Agricultural Counselor of the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. Mrs. Philips gave us a brief presentation on her role within imports/exports, marketing of products from/to the U.S., and the four countries she is responsible for. She was currently on a four year tour in Europe and will be returning to the States within the next two years. Like myself, Mrs. Philips, majored in Food Economics. As I aspire to receive a masters degree within the field, being able to understand her presentation and relate to the terminology she referenced was truly comforting. Her presentation was a great way to expand my horizons and view of my chosen career path. Following the Embassy, we made our way to the Hague Center city.
I immediately took the opportunity to explore the city life of Netherlands and get some assistance for my eyes. I visited a small pharmacy where I was able to get eye drops and heal for the rest of my trip. I observed that most Dutch do in fact speak english well, making language less of a barrier. While in the city, we took a tour of the Hague and made our way to the Rooftop Urban farmers. Their main focus is on growing convenient, healthier, and fresher food closer to home through means of Aquaponics. The last stop on the list for Day 1 was dinner and a walk along the promenade, fishery harbor of Scheveningen, and North Sea Beach. It was one of the best, cleanest, well organized, and structured beaches I have visited. It’s beauty really is found within the detail from every restaurant to the art located on it’s boardwalk. After thirty-two hours of no sleep, I could not wait to make it to the Art Hotel in Rotterdam, where we were lodging all week.