Who would have thought that I would be able to pack so much traveling in to such a short time? I don’t even know where to begin!
Well, last weekend was both the longest and shortest weekend that I can remember. After 11 grueling hours of traveling by bus, ferry, and then bus again, we were so happy to finally stretch our legs in the wondrous city of Amsterdam! We were given the chance to explore the city at night (since we finally had arrived at 7pm..) and we were able to see all the stereotypes Amsterdam is known for. What is a trip to Amsterdam without walking through the Red Light District? (Well, I actually could have done without, but I guess I can now say I’ve been there.)
The next morning, we were taken to two beautiful and quaint cities just outside Amsterdam: Edam and Volendam. Here we were able to experience the real Dutch culture with many cheese and candy shops! I’m not sure how popular Edam cheese is in America, since I had only heard about it when I came here, but this is where Edam cheese comes from. Volendam was such a beautiful fishing city right on the water. We watched out tour guide eat raw Herring (which for the longest time we thought he was talking about a Heron..) which apparently tasted pretty decent.
Later in the day we were able to go back to Amsterdam and do our normal touristy things. We had decided to dedicate the rest of our day to two main things: the Anne Frank House and the Heineken Experience. Now, unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures in the Anne Frank House, but if anyone is ever nearby, I highly recommend braving the cold while you wait in line. It is really a very moving experience being able to walk where the Frank family hid, and see the original diary. We then trekked across the city to the Heineken Experience. This was actually a very fun exhibit as it was the original brewery for the infamous beer, where it later moved to further outside the city. So this brewery was transformed into an interactive exhibition to learn about the history of the family and the beer, and to learn about the process it goes through from the beginning to the end result. They even gave out many free samples, as none of us really complained about that.. I even got a chance to pour my own beer and become a “certified pourer”! Then we were lucky to catch the last boat ride down the canal to their other merchandise store, where they had us play a trivia game, where the other half of my group ended up winning.. But it definitely was a great time, and a stark contrast to the previous exhibition.
Sunday, our final mission was Brugges, Belgium. Although we only had about 3 hours in the city, we tried to make the most of it by trying to pack everything in. We tried our best while we were in search of Belgian beer, chocolate, and fries. And we were quite successful! The fries and mayonnaise were to die for. I had never thought such a combination would actually be so good! Brugges was a beautiful city, full of life and surprises. I do hope that I can someday visit again because 3 hours was not nearly enough time!
This past weekend I got to take a day trip to Canterbury and Dover Castle! What sights you can see if you just venture out of London a mere hour or two! Canterbury was such a cute town that I definitely want to visit again. The Cathedral was unlike anything I have ever seen. My pictures don’t do it enough justice. It was phenomenal. I couldn’t even imagine what it is like for mass there. Unfortunately we only had a few short hours until we made our way to Dover where we were set free in the castle that overlooked the English Channel. This castle was the main military base for many wars, as Dover is the closest city to France. Adventuring through the main tower was interesting since all the stairways turned into forks and we never knew which way to go! We then were guided to the underground military tunnels where we got a tour of these tunnels that were built into the beautiful white cliffs. These tunnels were a key component to WWII, and it was so fascinating how much they made an impact on the British military strategies.
And we met this little fellow.