I’ve been in Den Haag for about a month and a half now and have already seen more places than I ever though I would. The time has flown by and I have no idea as to where to start to describe the journey.
After having multiple delays and missed connections, I finally arrived in Amsterdam on February 2nd with the beginning of the exchange program’s orientation the next day. That week was an overwhelming whirlwind of scheduling classes and familiarizing yourself with the new school, meeting other exchange students from all over, and doing some sightseeing of Den Haag. I felt like a freshman all over again. The small community that is our exchange program has introduced me to some of the nicest people that have the same wanderlust desire to travel.
For only being here for a month and a half, I feel like I have accomplished a lot of traveling. Within the Netherlands, I have been to Delft, Breda, and Amsterdam. Believe it or not, I still have more exploring to do in the Netherlands and Den Haag. I visited all three of those cities in a weekend during the festival called Carnival. We unexpectedly came upon a parade for Carnival in Delft and were able to get a view of the festival and the surrounding cities after climbing the tower of one of the few beautiful churches. Everyone was dressed up in the most ridiculous costumes and wigs. Just imagine a Halloween street party. The best way to explore in Amsterdam is to mindlessly walk around and appreciate the beautiful city. While getting lost, we came across the Red Light District, an amazing burger place, flower market, and museums. A big sight to see is definitely the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. Breda offered us the after hours version of Carnival with everyone in costumes on the streets with beer dancing to traditional Dutch music.
Next on the line up of trips were Budapest, Prague, and Krakow for Spring Break. One of the best things I experienced in Budapest were the Turkish baths. The outdoor, naturally heated baths were extremely therapeutic. People of all ages are welcome to the two larges “baths” complete with jets, whirlpools, and fountains. It was also interesting to see the architecture of buildings and how most had bullet holes in their walls. Prague was not as touched by the World Wars but still had a rich history. Prague has the one of the oldest bridges that connects the castle and Old Town. The view from the Petrin Tower at sunset offered the most breathtaking view of Prague. Krakow was the last stop of the trip. If you ever find yourself in Krakow, Auschwitz and Schindler’s Factory are must-see. We had the honor to celebrate Poland’s Doomed Soliders Memorial Day on our last day in Krakow. It was great to see everyone in the Main Market Square waving Poland’s flag watching the parade of Polish soldiers. After 10 long days of traveling, I was so relieved to be back in Den Haag!
The most recent trip that took place was Paris. Paris was just as you would imagine it to be. Cafes and restaurants were placed on every corner, cobblestone sidewalks, and similar buildings with the same gray roof. The Eiffel Tower at night was surreal. The most underrated part of Paris was the Montmartre district, a hill that overlooks Paris. It houses Moulin Rouge and a beautiful basilica with an amazing view that overlooks Paris.
One of the things I’ve learned with traveling is that a whole lot of mistakes will be made and you have to learn to go with the flow. This is something I struggle with and I hope I am getting better at. I also pledge to post more pictures!