Hello Family and Friends 🙂
What a fantastic last two weeks it has been! I’m getting in to the swing of things with school, in fact the quarter is already half way over. I have midterms this week, which is worth 30% of my overall grade. Luckily they give us the week off of classes to study and my midterm is not until Friday!
I am still loving every second in Amsterdam. It really does feel like the perfect city in so many ways, every street corner is so picturesque and I love exploring different parts of town on my bike. I am always stumbling upon the cutest boutiques and cafes! The city itself feels very old school in terms of the brick roads and old buildings, but I love how modern and fabulous the shops and restaurants are here. It’s almost as if the coolest parts of Downtown LA were scrubbed clean and wiped clear of cars, it would be Amsterdam. Another super cute thing I love about Amsterdam that I’ve been meaning to blog about is the horse drawn carriages! Although they are mostly used as a tourist attraction, I see people riding on horse carriages all the time on the streets. It makes me feel as if I was transported back 100+ years to a simpler time, when everyone bikes or takes a horse carriage.
Last weekend, I went with the International Student Network (the organization that plans all the events for students abroad) on a day trip to two cities in the Netherlands called Delft and Rotterdam. Delft was an adorable town about an hour and a half way from Amsterdam. It was a super tiny town that only took about 30 minutes to walk across the entire area. There were tons of old cathedrals to look at and they also had lots canals going through the streets just like Amsterdam. We went on a day where they were having a huge flea market and carnival on the streets, so we walked from booth to booth and explored some of the shops in the area. Apparently a lot of people in Amsterdam come to Delft to shop because they have a lot of specialty stores and really cute clothes for people my age. We also heard that Delft goes all out with Christmas decorations and has a huge tree lighting ceremony in December, so I definitely want to go back towards the end of my trip to see all of the Christmas lights.
After a few hours in Delft, we took the bus another hour away to Rotterdam, which is the second biggest city in the Netherlands and the largest port in Europe. Rotterdam is often referred to as the “NYC of Europe” because it is super modern with huge skyscrapers and such. We did a lot of walking in Rotterdam, we only had a couple hours there so we didn’t really do much except walk through downtown.
Fast forward a week! On Friday night, I left Amsterdam on a 12 hour bus ride to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest which is the largest beer festival in the world. I went with the student international network again, and about 100 study abroad students piled in two buses to Munich. The bus ride there was pretty miserable. We arrived to Munich at around 6 in the morning and we immediately went from the bus to the festival to wait in line. At around 9 AM, the beer tents finally opened and we were able to grab tables for our group and our first beer of the day! They serve the beer only by the liter, the glass was giant! Although I am not a big fan of beer (especially at 9 in the morning), the ambiance and vibe in the beer tent was amazing. The tent must have been packed with over 10,000 people, all dancing on the tables and screaming and dancing. There are about 10 different beer tents to go to, but we went to the international tent first where all of the study abroad people go. We stayed there until around 11 when we got kicked out because someone made a reservation for our table.
After that, we walked around the festival which reminded me a lot of the Orange County Fair. Lots of greasy food, carnival games, and rides of course! We even went on a rollercoaster. To our surprise, we found a tent that served wine! Such a happy moment. After we drank our wine we went to another beer tent, this one was much more “authentic” and German compared to the international tent we were in before. We sat down with a few German students and drank beer with them for the next few hours, and ended the day with getting pizza! We left the festival at 8PM to go back to the bus where they took us to a camp site to get some much needed sleep.
On Sunday, they woke us up at 6 AM to get to the festival at 7:30. At this point, my friend Alanna and I both agreed that we could not do another day of Oktoberfest and that we would have a better time if we went site seeing in Munich instead. We had a fantastic breakfast at a cute cafe that was recommended on Yelp and then visited the English Gardens, which was the #1 rated attraction in Munich. The English Gardens is their version of Central Park, it was massive!
After the gardens, we took a metro to the downtown area of Munich. It was really beautiful with lots of old churches and castles. It also reminded me a lot of Rodeo Drive, there was every designer fashion store I could think of! It was a city that I wish I had more time to explore, we only had a few hours in downtown before we had to meet up with the group at Oktoberfest for the bus ride back to Amsterdam!
We left around 7 PM and got back around 7 AM this morning, luckily I had no classes today and was able to sleep in my bed for a bit once I got home this morning :). This week is midterms week so all of the lectures are canceled so that we can have time to study. Tomorrow I have a presentation in my Regulations and Reform class that is worth 10% of my grade, but on Friday I have a midterm exam for my most challenging class that is worth 30%. I will definitely be spending lots of hours in the library the next few days! I’m not going to go on a trip this upcoming weekend but I have my tickets booked to Dublin, Ireland in two weeks. I will fill you in on all the details after 🙂 , but until then wish me luck on my midterms! Miss you all ❤ thank you for reading.