Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finito il viaggio

This past weekend was our last jet set weekend European adventure ! I am sad that this is true...minus the hours spent in airports, trainstations, and aboard buses :) This weekend eight of us, incuding my flatmates sister, left Florence for a fun filled weekend in the Netherlands and Belgium. Which means in the past seven days I have been in four countries. Madness.

We started out early Friday morning, 3:35 a.m. to be exact, by boarding a bus to the airport that would take us to Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Then we were to ride a bus from Eindhoven to Amsterdam. After arriving at our pleasant little hostel in the Redlight district of Amsterdam(which was probably the most Rated R district but it was really safe), we decided to explore the city! There were canals everywhere. I haven't been to Venice, and with all of this traveling that has been going on I don't see it happening in the near future, but I would definitely compare the two cities. It was one of the most beautiful cities I have seen so far. If you look at the example I have on the right side of this blog of the buildings I think you'll have the same feeling. It was like we were in a city sized amusement park, everything was so surreal. The majority of the activities there focused around having fun and eating food, it was pretty crazy. On Friday night after a long day of traveling and exploring we set off on the metro to the Van Gogh museum. On Friday nights they have a live band and some other activities scheduled so it was more than just a museum visit. Walking around this four story building filled with works all by the same man was mind blowing. His sketches done in his letters were my absolute favorite. I know I would love to get an envelope with a masterpiece on the back of it- and he did that all of the time!

The next morning we split into two groups, some to the Rijks Museum and the group I went with headed to the Anne Frank house. I had heard mixed reviews about this museum. I thought it was represented perfectly. The building remains unfurnished and pretty empty, but whoever designed the layout and chose artifacts for the exhibit did a great job. You went through Anne Frank's time in the house, how her family got there, what they did while there, and what happened to them afterwards. We climbed the 'leg-breaking' stairs and read all about her life and experiences. It was terribly depressing and I feel like I learned so much more about the holocaust and how people in hiding really felt. The most heart breaking part was one of the last rooms, the attic, where you entered to find a large, sad portrait of Anne's father Otto, the only survivor from the family after they were arrested and torn apart. There was a video of an interview with him playing from the sixties and he spoke of how hard it was for him to first read Anne's journal after losing everyone he loved. It was a really sad and inspiring afternoon. There was an 80th Birthday photo wall at the end of the exhibit that had a quote by Emma Thompson: “All her 'would haves' are our possibilities and opportunities." I thought that was the best way to take possibly the worst thing that ever happened and bring it into a positive light.

The rest of our day in Amsterdam was spent wandering- in markets, having lunch, then heading once again for the train station to begin our four hour journey to Charlevoix. We were to stop in Brussels for an hour or two then head to our final destination near the airport. Brussels was a beautiful town There weres chocolate and Christmas lights everywhere. I had a waffle from a vendor at the Christmas market and it was the doughiest, crispiest, most wonderful waffle in the world! Then we jumped back on the train(out of the freezing rain that I forgot to mention was the star of our entire weekend!) and headed to our hostel right near the airport. After a shuttle, plane ride, bus ride, and walk home I was ready to pass out! I love the feeling of coming home, especially when that home is Florence. Everytime we go away I miss it more and more, there are only two weeks left and I intend to spend everyday of it in this city enjoying it while I can.


  1. Hey Angel!
    My name is Samantha and I am currently a Sophomore at JMU. I just got accepted into the Florence Spring 2011 program and think that your blog is so helpful! I have had so many questions about what it will be like, but now I feel like I know what to expect! I am so excited to go and just wanted to let you know that by writing, you have answered so many of my questions!
    Thanks and have a fun last few weeks!!

  2. SUCCESS! a satified customer. jmu study abroad must be so proud you were front-page.