#FamInTheDam

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Believe it or not, the Griswolds (a reference often used in my family, but from a film series I’ve never actually seen) Kozlows spent 10 days here in Amsterdam. And I’m pretty sure they loved it.

Obviously the usual family drama and sibling stand-offs occurred, but what would a family gathering be without any of that BS?

Arriving with a checklist of things they needed to see/do, my mom made sure every one of those items were checked off at some point throughout the week. Although there may not be much photo evidence of this trip (oops?), I’m here to document the experience in my own way.

Watch out, this post could get a little lengthy … 

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Arriving on a Thursday morning, I didn’t get to meet the sleepy-eyed jet lagged bunch at their apartment until the mid-afternoon, after I finished class.

Having to bike half way around the world (aka, 15 minutes) from my dorm to their apartment got old after just a few trips, so I abused by Ovchipkaart for the rest of the week. Oops. 

After a round of hugs and hellos, we all assumed positions lounging around the living room. Typical.

Everyone was too tired to do anything, but eventually mustered up enough energy for me to introduce them to the local grocery store, Albert Heijn, and grab a family dinner at a near by restaurant.

After a confusing and question-filled trip to the store (“Why are the Heineken bottles only 8oz., and more importantly, why are they twist offs?”) we seemed manage to stock up on the basics for the apartment, and could finally start enjoying a little bit of the city.

Only walking about two blocks, we decided to eat at Kaap de Goede Hoop. This cozy little bar/restaurant offered a great menu, and we all ended up ordered either the traditional pork or chicken schnitzel. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who’s in the position to give it a try! 

Trying to discuss our plans for week, I began to realize this was going to be a “play it by ear” kind of trip. The only thing we knew for sure was that the following day we had tickets to the Anne Frank House at 3:30 pm.

Spending the first night, and basically every night there after, at the apartment, I had to bike home for class, just to return a few hours later to start our fist adventure.

Not previously having spent much time on that side of the city myself, figuring out that tram line was a group project. Once we decided to just place our trust in Google maps and dealt with buying tickets, it was time for the weary travelers to finally sit back (or keep walking) and enjoy the city of Amsterdam.

After spending about an hour and a half in the Anne Frank House, we wandered around the surrounding area, going in and out of various kinds of shops. Eventually, we made our way to Proeflokaal Aerie, a beer bar that serves only beer from Dutch breweries. A great Yelp find by my mom, we had a chance to sit down and rest.

No one’s ever used to walking around a city the way you do when you travel. 

More walking and another family dinner finished off the night, heading back to the apartment reasonably early to succumb to that never ending jet-lag.

The weekend was full of exploring, getting slightly lost, and discovering some really cool parts of the city that I hadn’t even known existed.

We started Saturday afternoon by eating and shopping our way through the Noordermarkt. This market basically takes over a large square at the edge of the Jordaan area, and has everything from fresh produce and fish, to homemade pasta, sweets, etc.

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We each tried an extremely fresh, local oyster.

After sampling our way through the entire food section of the market, we decided to go back through and buy some fresh ingredients to make dinner later on.

Some more walking and a tram or two later, we were walking up and down De Negen Straatjess. Also known as, The Nine Streets, this is a trendy area with small boutiques, high-end designers, nice restaurants, cafés, etc.

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De Negen Straatjess 

Eventually finding ourselves back at the apartment, our family dinner turned into a night of taking turns napping, eating, and just spending time together.

Sunday’s plans were even more unorganized than the day before, so after spending half the morning debating hop-on-hop-off canal passes versus making our way to the Red Light District, we finally decided to explore Dam Square and make our way to my dorm.

Having to go back to my place before heading out for the day, we all rendezvous in Dam Square. Being chilled to the bone rather quickly, we took the tram to the Christmas Market in Rembrandtplein. Filled with sweets, sweets, and more sweets, we again tasted our way through the market before making our way to my dorm.

After a very quick tour of my living quarters, we went to Brouwerij’t IJ, a local brewery and bier garden.

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I enjoyed my glass of white wine while the rest of them were adventurous, ordering things off of a Dutch menu.

Since Monday is the only day I don’t have class, we set aside this time to take a day trip to Brussels, Belgium. After hours of research on Sunday night for the places to see and things to do, that I definitely had no part of, my mom found out that Brussels was going to be on strike.

That one day. The one Monday that we wanted to go. 

Obviously our plans had to change, and Monday became yet another unorganized series of events. After having to rework our plan, we got a late start and went to Pancakes! for some typical Dutch pancakes.

IMG_7211Once being beyond satisfied and finally understanding what all the pancake hype was about, we hopped back on the tram and headed to the Heineken Experience.

Now, if you know my parents, you know that all they drink is Heineken. So this was a pretty cool part of the trip for them.

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We learned about the history of the product, heard about how the beer is made, became part of the bottling experience, even and got to enjoy a few cold ones.

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Not ending our ‘experience’ when we left the building, we took the complementary Heineken Experience canal cruise to the Brand Store in Rembrandtplein.

IMG_7308The Heineken employee that was with us on our short trip was very friendly, even offering fun facts about the things we were passing. Now we could cross both the Heineken Experience and a canal cruise off of that original list of things to do. 

After spending what seemed like forever in the Heineken Brand Store, we stopped at a random Irish pub before heading home for the night.

Tuesday was my full day of classes, so I didn’t even get to see the family.

I think they explored even more markets. This time, the Flower Market and the Albert CuypmarktYou’ll have to ask them how those were. 

Not meeting back up with them until Wednesday evening after my class, again, I’m not really sure what the details of their day were. I think the parentals ventured out on their own and took the train to a neighboring city, while Michael was left to explore Amsterdam on his own …

Doing something out of the ordinary for the Kozlow family that evening (as if being in Amsterdam together wasn’t enough…), we went to a comedy show at the infamous Boom Chicago! Seeing a show titled, “Smart Phones, Dumb People,” we spent about an hour and a half, and a bucket or two of beer later, laughing at the crafty improv the comedians were dishing out.

After the show, we went to Bar-B to grab a burger and beer. Having Heineken taps in the table, it was definitely a fun place that satisfied our craving.

Contrary to how it felt, Thursday was Thanksgiving! Since Thanksgiving isn’t a thing here and classes still exist, I again had to tram back and forth.

Being away from home for four months is hard enough, no need to mention missing the holidays. Thankfully I was fortunate enough to have my family join me for Thanksgiving, but since that wasn’t the case for Katie or Mikey, we invited them to spend the afternoon with us.

Katie, accompanied by her boyfriend who was also visiting from home, and Mikey finally had a chance to meet some of the people I’ve talked about all semester, and my parents were excited to finally put faces to the names they’ve been hearing for the last four months.

The Thanksgiving dinner was untraditional, but still a success. The antipasti, was followed by pasta, and then lamb chops and chicken. As if that wasn’t enough, there were brussel sprouts, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and about 100 other things as sides!

Having to fight the severe food coma that we both fell into, my brother and I went to a Rebelution concert at Melkweg.

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Since Friday was the last full day of #FamInTheDam, there were no organized activities, but instead the day was spent seeing last minute things and going back to places to shop or just walk around again.

Having different interests in what to see on the last day, my brother met me at my dorm after I finished class so we could explore together and the parents went off on their own again.

Meeting back at the apartment for the last night, it was sad to watch them start to gather their newly purchased souvenirs and pack to head home.

Not trying to get too emotional on Saturday while they were leaving, I just kept reminding myself (and my teary-eyed mom) that I would be home in three weeks! (But since it has taken me two weeks to write this post, we’re officially down to one week.)

I am beyond grateful for my entire experience abroad, and it means even more to me now that I had the chance to share it with my family.

I want to insert a typical group photo in front of a canal here, but unfortunately we didn’t take any. Not even one. Go figure.  

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Slainte! Erin Go Bragh! Kiss Me, I’m … Irish?

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A long anticipated and much needed visit from my family took over the last two weeks of November, resulting in this delayed post about my not-so recent travels to DUBLIN!

On Friday, November 14, just four short days after returning home from Paris, Mikey and I were headed to Dublin. Mikey’s friend from high school is studying at University College Dublin, and was nice enough to show us around and let us stay with her!

We should really give ourselves more credit when it comes to traveling, especially since like it seems like we jet from one city to the next every weekend, but it always comes as a surprise when Mikey and I successfully make it anywhere together.

IMG_7116The “we made it!” selfie that was sent to Katie, the missing member of our trio, just to let her know everything was okay.

After meeting Mikey’s friend and grabbing a quick bite to eat in center city Dublin, we took the city bus back to campus for an early-ish night. It’s a good thing we did, because our day trip to the Cliffs of Moher called for a sleepy-eyed departure at 7:00am.

We booked a day tour through Paddy Wagon, a well-known tour company throughout Ireland. Leaving center city Dublin around 8:00 am, we traveled west across the entire country, eventually reaching the Galway area. We made several stops along the way, each accompanied with a short history lesson from our leprechaun bus driver.

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Dunguaire Castle in the village of Kinvara.

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Corcomroe Abbey, surrounded by the mountains and valleys of County Clare

IMG_1297Burren landscape – the “mini cliffs”

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The Cliffs of Moher

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I thought I was on top of the world. 

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Just a short 700 ft drop to the bottom. 

Say we’re boring or whatever, but after traveling on the bus for all those hours, we were worn out and totally okay with staying in for the night.

After a late start the next day, we took the afternoon to explore center city Dublin. The streets were decorated for the holidays and there was a Christmas market with cute gifts and delicious food. Wandering in and out of a few stores, I had the chance to see handmade Irish Aran Wool sweaters, and even made one purchase (Merry Christmas, Mom!).

We eventually made our way to the Temple Bar area. This is the picturesque tourist area that is popular for its culture and nightlife.

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The infamous Temple Bar. 

Challenged by my mom to cross a few things off of her Dublin bucket list, I made sure we found a local pub where we could “drink some pints and do the jig.” Sitting in a corner booth for about four hours, we definitely drank some pints and enjoyed singing along to the live music.

After making our way back to the campus where we were staying, Mikey and I packed our stuff and prepared for our early morning departure.

Leaving the campus around 7:00 am, we arrived back in Amsterdam in the early afternoon – just enough time for Mikey to head to class and me to take a nap!

Picture Perfect Paris

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I fell in love with the city of love.

This past weekend, Katie, Mikey, and I packed our bags and traveled to Paris (!!!) for three days. The rest of our friends were extremely nervous and worried about the three of us traveling together; sometimes it seems like when you combine the three of us, we’re incapable of doing anything.

I’m here to tell you that our weekend was PERFECT. Seriously. Not one thing went wrong. We did not get lost, we all traveled well together, we saw everything that we hoped to, and even mastered the metro station! We couldn’t change anything if we wanted to. 

Leaving for Paris on Friday evening and returning back to Amsterdam on Monday night left us plenty of time to see as much of the city of Paris as possible!

Upon arriving at our hostel, St. Christopher’s Inn – Paris, we were pleasantly surprised. We were greeted by the most hospitable staff, enjoyed delicious food and drinks and listened to the live band at the in-house bar, Belushi’s, and relaxed in our 10-person dorm room. Never having been to a hostel before, we didn’t know what to expect; I don’t know if what we experienced was the norm or not, but we all agree that we wouldn’t change a thing about our stay.

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Katie and Mikey enjoying their mojitos made by the best bartender, Rhys. 

After having a couple drinks at the bar and planning out our itinerary for the next day, we headed to bed. A night filled with tossing and turning was followed by an early 7:15 am wake up. We were off to The Palace of Versailles

Through our hostel, we bought tickets for round-trip transportation and entrance into The Palace. Leaving at 8:20 am, we spent half of the day in amazement, returning home around 1:00 pm.

There were four other people on the day trip, one being an older woman who was traveling alone. After finding out she was from the northeast like the rest of us, we immediately established a bond. We spent the entire day together, discussing everything from the history of Versailles to personal details, even making plans to meet up again in Philly sometime!

As soon as we stepped out of the bus, we were all struck with amazement.

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Look at that gold.

First we walked through a museum. Holding personal speakers up to our ears, a guide told us the history and significance of what we were looking at. We learned how and why the palace was built, how it changed over the years, what life was like living there, etc. Each room was more outlandish than the last, leaving all of us to wonder why something of this grandeur was even a thought back then.

IMG_6946The Palace of Versailles. 

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Chapel view as seen from the tribune royale, where the king and other members of the royal family heard mass. 

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Look at that wallpaper … 

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Hall of Mirrors. 

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Chandeliers in the Hall of Mirrors. 

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Marie Antoinette’s bedroom.

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Just a snapshot of the 800 hectare gardens.

After Versailles, our bus driver from the hostel took us on a surprise car tour around the city center of Paris!

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We stopped right under the Eiffel Tower! 

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I don’t even know if I’m supposed to make a wish in this Fontaine de la Concorde. 

It was so generous of the bus driver to go out of his way to show us a little more of the city. Yet another plus for St. Christopher’s Inns! 

Hitting a wall as soon as we got back to the hostel, we collectively decided to grab a quick lunch and nap before heading to the Montmartre District.

Home to the Moulin Rouge. My. favorite. movie. 

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Eeeeeeeeeek!

After exploring the area and arriving back at the hostel, we decided to take advantage of happy hour at the bar. Closing down the bar, led to going to the in-house club, which led to us all staying out way past our bed time.

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Cowboy hats were a thing. 

After taking it slow and getting a late start in order to recover on Sunday, we made our way into center city paris. Our itinerary for the day included seeing the Arc de Triomph and the Eiffel Tower, walking down Avenue de Champs-Elysees (aka – 5th Ave, NYC), and taking a boat cruise on the Seine River.

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The Arc de Triomph left each of us speechless. 

IMG_7003I was seriously brought to tears when I first saw the Tower light up. 

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View of the city from the very top of the Eiffel Tower! 

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Paris has definitely stolen my heart. 

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Panorama of the Louvre Museum from the boat! 

Since we got a late start, we didn’t get home that night until around midnight. Exhausted from our busy day, I was out for the night as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Waking up on Monday, our final day, was definitely the hardest. Having to check out of the hostel by 11:00 am, we woke up early, gathered all of our belongings, and headed to Cathedrale de Notre Dame.

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Between the gothic architecture, massive size, creepy gargoyles, breathtaking interior, and infamous rose stained-glass window, were were all left speechless yet again.

IMG_1240Gargoyles. 

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View of the Eiffel Tower from the top of Notre Dame. 

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Ornate decorations.

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The Cathedral’s altar. 

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Famous rose colored stained-glass behind the organ. 

After exploring Notre Dame inside and out, we decided it was time for lunch. Realizing we haven’t really had any traditional French food, we wandered up and down several blocks to find the perfect local cafe.

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I meant it when I said we wanted traditional French food. We tried, and loved (!), escargot! 

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I also enjoyed a delicious bowl of French Onion soup. 

After lunch, the last thing on our list of things to do was visit the Love Lock Bridge. Right next to Notre Dame, in what is considered one of the most romantic sections of Paris, the love lock bridge was full of locks with various messages and initials. Not really sure how securing locks to the bridge started, we decided we had to jump on the bandwagon.

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They have to cut the locks off every couple months.

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Our addition – “A’Dam good time in Paris!”

After locking our memories in Paris forever, we strolled around the area, people watched, and enjoyed just taking everything in.

Before we knew it, 5:00 pm showed up, and we had to make our way to the airport. A metro, train, airplane, and tram later, we finally made it back to Amsterdam, all in one piece.

I don’t think my words or pictures do this weekend justice. I had the best time with the greatest people, and I couldn’t be happier.

October?

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So I just looked at the calendar and apparently it’s November. I’m not really sure where the rest of October went, but I guess it flew by somewhere between my visitors + AMF + exam week + London + Halloween!

It all started with Natalie coming to visit … 

I never thought that when Natalie asked me to sit with her at lunch during the first week of Freshman year of high school, that we’d still be best friends. Or that we’d be taking on Europe together.

Most would say having your best friend visit you while abroad is a great opportunity and amazing experience, but when word got out about me and Natalie spending a week together in Amsterdam …

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 5.43.44 PMThankfully we successfully made it through the weekend with only a few blurry memories.

After a short plane ride from Birmingham International Airport (England) to Amsterdam Schipol and a getting on a wrong train trying to make it to Centraal Station (typical…), Natalie and her friend Lea arrived in the evening on Thursday, Oct. 16.

After what seemed like a 5 minute hug at the train station, our time together seemed to have flown by. They were only here for about a day and a half, but between showing them what nightlife is like in Amsterdam and trying to cover all the touristy spots, I think it was a pretty successful weekend.

Ams6We saw the famous Iamsterdam sign (w/ Rijksmuseum in the background). 

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We enjoyed poffertjes, mini pancakes covered in butter and powdered sugar, a traditional Dutch sweet. 

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We experienced the Heineken Experience

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And, of course, we went out. 

Before I knew it, it was Saturday night and Natalie and Lea’s visit was coming to and end. After spending most of the day in the Red Light District, the girls had to catch a cab at 3:00 am to start their journey to the airport so they could travel to their next destination, BARCELONA! (Ugh, lucky them..)

While they were packing and setting alarms for the early morning, I was getting ready for a much anticipated night at Amsterdam Music Festival.

640x853q=90_AMF14_LineUp_A3_32930_32931_282x376_90_0_0_cAmsterdam Music Festival (AMF) was held in Amsterdam ArenA and was the biggest show of Amsterdam Dance Event. This show was a true representation of the EDM music scene that Amsterdam is widely known for.

From 9:00 pm – 6:00 am the world’s top DJs played for a crowd of over 40,000 people. The place was packed, the atmosphere was insane, and the music was incomparable.

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Katie and I at AMF’14. 

After getting home around 6:30 am, Sunday was dedicated to sleep.

When Monday morning showed up, the last thing I wanted to do was get back into school mode, but I had to. Still exhausted from my busy weekend of visitors and late nights, I had to pull it together and prepare for my first final exam.

Thanks to my procrastination and half-ass study habits, the exam was just as hard as I expected. Thankfully I passed the class and that part of this experience is behind me. Only having a short, take-home midterm for my other class, I had the rest of the week off to complete it and prepare for my weekend getaway to Wroxton College to visit Natalie! Because clearly our weekend in Amsterdam wasn’t enough … 

Wroxton College is part of Fairleigh Dickinson University, and serves as the study abroad destination for FDU students. Located in rural England, I had to take a plane, train, and automobile (like, actually though), to reach the beautiful Wroxton campus.

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It’s basically Hogwarts.  

After enjoying a drink at a small, local bar called The White Horse, Natalie and I decided to head to bed early so we could spend a full day in London on Sunday.

I was able to experience morning tea time at the college. Before Natalie and I left for the train station, I ate a delicious cinnamon roll while enjoying a cup of English breakfast tea.

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I’m pretty much a local. 

After dealing with several over-crowded trains due to a NFL game in London, our one hour trip into the city turned into a two hour trip, but we eventually made it. Since we were only going to be in London for the day, we did our best to see and experience as much as possible.

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Buckingham Palace + grounds

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The London Eye

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Westminster Abbey

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But first, let me take a #selfie. 

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Big Ben + Houses of Parliament 

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A pretty cool background if I do say so myself.

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Yumm, local fish and chips dish! 

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View from the top of the London Eye. 

Seeing everything on my list, I had an awesome day exploring and experiencing life in a different kind of European city.

My trip was over before I knew it, flying back to Amsterdam on Monday afternoon.

That brings us to last week, which is when the second “block” of classes started. So far so good, but we’ll see how these classes compare to the ones from last block …

As usual, my October ended with Halloween. My friends and I dressed up in costumes thrown together at the last minute and struggled to find a club throwing a Halloween party. It just isn’t a holiday here, at all.

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A cheetah, a vampire, a beer maiden, minnie mouse/a present?, and another cheetah. I meant it when I said we just threw some costumes together. 

We ended up at Paradiso, which wasn’t even having a Halloween party. Whatever, we still had a good time.

Phew. So I think that about sums up October.

CIEE Day trip to Groningen & Mikey’s 21st!

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Even though it was two weeks ago, I still remember cursing my alarm as it started blaring at 06.45 6:45 am.

It was Saturday, October 11 and time for another CIEE sponsored day trip, run by Jonathan! This time, to a Northern city called Groningen.

AMStoGrogMap.

Because the trip would take about 2 1/2 hours, we had to be ready and at the CIEE office by 7:45.

After spending the night before with Katie and Mikey, the two girls I signed up for the trip with, we parted ways and set our alarms for the early wakeup. Between that time and the 7:45am meet up, it seemed as if I had lost the two of them. Whatever.

A quick two hour nap in the back of the bus, and we were at our destination. First stop, COFFEE. We went to a famous cafe/bar, Drie Gezusters. Apparently known for their rotating bar and nightlife, we were lucky enough to experience their great atmosphere, awesome coffee, and delicious, local “spice cake” treat.

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Our pick-me-up breakfast was followed with a walking tour around the city. A University city much smaller than Amsterdam, it was interesting to see what life would be like as a student in Groningen.

Our guide told us the city’s population was about 200,000 people, 55,000 of them being students. When I asked Jonathan what Amsterdam’s numbers were like, he said something like a population of 800,000 people, with 50,000 of them being students. So basically, Groningen is an extremely student-friendly city. Rumor has it, your night doesn’t end until around 8:00 am – after you eat breakfast! 

Besides all of the fun-facts that I learned, the city itself was extremely beautiful.

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Martinikerk (Martin’s Church)

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University of Groningen Academia building.

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I wish I remember what this was. Pretty architecture?

After the tour, we had lunch at Het Goudkantoor.

IMG_1101Front of the restaurant.

Jonathan suggested we all try the mustard soup; he insisted it was a local delicacy and this was the best place to try it. Me being a kind-of picky eater, opted for the tomato soup. That was good, so I assume the mustard soup was good too … 

After finishing our soup and sandwiches, we had the option of going to a museum or exploring the city on our own. Not being much of a museum person, I chose to walk around the city. It happened to be market day; getting a chance to see some local goods and foods was interesting. Between wandering in and out of some stores and getting caught in the rain, the time flew by and it was time to meet the group, get on the bus, and sleep the trip home away.

Once again, CIEE does it — another amazing day trip!

As much as I wanted to get into my bed and cuddle up with Netflix, I had to rally because it was also the night of Mikey’s (yes, one of the girls that ditched me at 7:45 in the morning) 21st birthday! 

IMG_6560Apparently this is what 21 looks like. 

We got dressed up, did typical 21st birthday celebration things, and had an amazing night!

10407657_775458769179572_3963249360504978817_nPhoto Credit : Chupitos Shooter Bar

Finally, about 21 hours later, I finally got to crawl into bed.

Don’t even ask me about Sunday …. ZZzzzZzzzzZz

Gouda: the city, the cheese, or the city of cheese?

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Little did I know, but the city that’s responsible for that delicious Gouda cheese is located just a short train ride away from Amsterdam.

Saturday morning afternoon, four of us rode our bikes to Central Station, ready to start our day trip to the city of Gouda.

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For visual reference. 

Before we could swipe our cards and board the train, we all had to load more money on.

The public transportation system uses an Ov-chipkaart for travel on trams, metros, busses, trains, etc. Like a Metro card in New York, the Ov-chipkaart is a prepaid card that you swipe before and after your travel. When you walk onto a tram or through the train station, you see machines where you “check-in” by scanning your card and then “check-out” by doing the same at your final destination.

Not really too sure why, but in order to be able to check-in for the train your card must have at least a 20 euro balance.

Anyway, we all had to load more money on our cards.

After waiting in line for several minutes at the customer service desk, I was the first to approach the counter. I asked the man to load 35 euro on my card, paying with my credit card with super special, safe, security chip in it. He asked if my card had a PIN, and when I confirmed he allowed me to swipe to pay. When faced with the message “Press OK if amount is correct,” I went ahead and did so.

Well was that a mistake.

The grumpy, old man behind the counter immediately yelled at me, telling me I shouldn’t have hit OK and that I completely messed up his system. He went on to rudely ask for my ID, so I handed over my NY drivers license. He then asked for something with my signature on it. Well, this led to a two minute argument over the fact that my signature was on my license. After that discussion went in circles, he asked me to sign a receipt. Well, silly me, used my short signature (just CKozlow) instead of my full name, as seen on my license.

This is where things got interesting. 

It was at this point that he threatens to call the police on me because my signatures don’t match and I’m definitely a fraud. Boy, was I nervous. 

I kept calm the entire time, kept looking back at my friends behind me (who were extremely angry for me), and eventually talked my way out of that police call. He threw my cards back at me, and it took all I had to keep my NY attitude to myself. I just had to keep thinking, it’s not worth risking arrest. 

Once that fiasco was over, we were finally able to board our train for the hour long ride to Gouda.

After a pretty scenic trip, we were in the little village of Gouda.

Not knowing what to except, because obviously none of us did any research, we were genuinely surprised when greeted by a carnival.

My eyes immediately lit up and I was so excited that we chose this day to explore. Although it wasn’t the traditional way to see a city, I still had a great time. It’s all about the journey, not the destination. Right?

After a delicious lunch, mainly a Gouda (duh) toastie grilled cheese, we were finally able to get to the carnival.

IMG_1020I was trying to be artsy and take a picture of the ferris wheel. 

IMG_1024Rosalie and I on the ferris wheel!

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It was such a beautiful view from the top! 

IMG_1042Then I rode this super scary, super fun ride … alone. 

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This ride was actually a lot scarier then it looks.

Okay so maybe I went a little crazy at the carnival, but I definitely enjoyed myself.

When we were done acting like children, we finally went for a walk around the city. Even though it was Saturday, surprising everything was closed. We still wandered around the village for a while; just looking around is a good way to get to know a city. We ended up going to one cheese shop and seeing a cute windmill.

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We definitely did not see the city of Gouda in a traditional way, but I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything.

This is how I see it – being in that super scary ride at the carnival gave me a great view of the entire city, something that not everyone gets to experience. Oh yeah, and the fact that I almost got arrested.