One of my biggest regrets about the time I spent in Europe is that I didn’t keep a blog while I was there. Beyond that, because my computer crashed right after I got back to the states, I lost a lot of the pictures that I took while I was abroad. That makes me unbelievably sad — I had so many amazing pictures of Salzburg and the life-changing walk I took while Allison was on the Sound of Music tour, but because I never uploaded them to Facebook and didn’t back up my hard drive because I’m an idiot, they’re now lost forever. I guess I can use that as an excuse to go back someday, but it still sucks that they’re gone.
Luckily, there are a handful of pictures that got uploaded to Facebook and therefore survived the epic laptop fail of ’09, and I think it’s about time I shared them on this blog.
I studied abroad in Amsterdam in the fall of 2008, which was my junior year of college. Because my grandmother was born in Germany, her entire family still lives there. My mom has a first cousin who is exactly her age, and I have several second cousins who are near my age, too. My mom and sister and I flew to Germany and spent two weeks with our family there, a lot of whom I had never met before. Unfortunately I don’t have any of the pictures I took in Germany, but it was a lot of fun and I look forward to going back someday.
My mom and my sister flew back to the states, and I took a train from Frankfurt to Amsterdam all by myself. It was terrifying, but awesome at the same time. This is Centraal Station, the train station at the very center of Amsterdam. It’s a gorgeous, bustling train station that I became very familiar with during the few months I lived there.
I took a taxi from the train station to the building where I would live with other international students studying at the University of Amsterdam. This bridge was folded up to let a boat through, and I didn’t know it at the time but where the taxi stopped to wait for the bridge to fold back down was right in front of the building where all my classes would be. This stupid bridge made me late to class at least once. It’s weird to think how many times I rode my bike across that piece of pavement that is completely vertical in this picture.
This is the “parking lot” at my school building. If you didn’t know, EVERYBODY has a bike in Amsterdam. You can bike anywhere in the city, which I think is so awesome. I wish American cities were as bike-friendly as The Netherlands.
This picture is so typically Amsterdam – bikes along the canal.
Another typical canal shot. Those are house boats along the sides and probably a tourist group going under the bridge.
IES offered a canal boat trip for the student group I was with during our first week there, and it was pretty awesome. We got to cruise all around the city and learn about the history of different areas. That’s the Scheepvaart Museum in the background, which is in the center of the city not too far from Centraal Station.
The canal houses are so pretty. I can’t imagine how outrageously expensive it is to live in one of those, especially because most of them are so old. It was common to see buildings like that being renovated (notice the crane in the right corner). A lot of the buildings were built with this big hook on the front side so that a pulley could be rigged up to move furniture in through the windows, since the stairs and interior hallways were usually so narrow and steep.
Canal, clock tower, and more house boats. I loved this clock tower, and I remember trying to get a good picture of it several times but they never turned out very well. I was self conscious about constantly taking photos because I didn’t want to look too touristy, and I regret that now because there are so many more awesome and beautiful things in the city that I didn’t capture on film.
Niewmarkt at night. Another one of my favorite areas, near the city center–there was an outdoor market sometimes and a gelato shop, and the Thai place we went for Allison’s birthday where I had Thai food for the first time. I know it sounds lame, but Amsterdam always looked so magical at night because of all the yellow street lights and the water.
That’s all for now, but at some point I’ll share more pictures from Amsterdam and my trip to Dublin. If you liked these, you should also check out my pictures of the Sinterklaas celebration in Amsterdam.