字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント We landed at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. To get to Europe, Americans need only a passport, plane ticket and money. Airports are well-designed and user-friendly. Notice how easy it is for English-speakers to step right over that language barrier. Here in Amsterdam—like most of Europe—everything's in two languages: Dutch for the locals and English for everyone else. And there's an information desk ready and waiting. "Hello, do you speak English? Do you have a map, please, to go to Amsterdam?" "I'd like to take the train to the center." "OK, best place to go is the..." But even in the Netherlands where everyone seems to speak English, it's polite to learn and use a few key local words. To get your cash, ATMs are the way to go. They provide local currency at the best rates— quick, easy and in English. But each ATM transaction comes with a fee. Minimize these fees by comparing card policies before you leave home and by taking fewer and bigger withdrawals in Europe. It's just like withdrawing cash at home—you just need your four-digit PIN. But, before you leave, let your bank know you'll be overseas so there's no hang-up in using your card over here. My hotel's in the city center. Getting downtown from European airports on public transportation is easy. You've got options. If you're packing heavy, really tired, or with a small group, a taxi can be the best value. When I'm on my own and packing light, public transit—trains and buses—can be the best choice—and it's far cheaper. Buses are clearly marked. These days, you'll buy tickets and lots of other things using machines. There's always a button for English. Get comfortable using your credit card and following the prompts. OK, I've got my train ticket to the center. Most European airports have excellent train connections into town. From Schiphol, there's a train into Amsterdam every couple of minutes... and we're downtown in a snap. I find Europe's big iron and glass stations evocative and impressively user-friendly. Most are designed to help visitors get oriented quickly—and are in or near the town center. Tourist information offices are usually in the station—or, just out the front door. As is typical in Europe, many of Amsterdam's buses and trams fan out from the train station. Public transit is so convenient, many Europeans never get around to owning a car. The tram drops us just a couple bridges from our hotel. My hotel is near the downtown action, but peacefully situated over-looking a canal with bikes parked out front and plenty of character. I pay extra for the convenience of a central location. "I'm Rick Steves. I have a reservation." "Welcome." After checking in, I've got my key... and I'm set. "Thank you very much." "Thank you. Enjoy your stay." Okay, now that we're settled in, our next challenge is over-coming jet-lag. Don't take a nap. Jet lag hates bright light, fresh air, and exercise. Get out and walk. I kick off my trips with a "welcome to Europe" stroll. Having changed money, we're ready to dive into the city. While credit cards are widely accepted, I find things just go better with hard cash and many merchants prefer cash. The Euro is the currency used throughout most of the Continent. Over 300 million Europeans have the same coins jangling in their pockets.