Hello Family and Friends!
It’s been a few weeks since I have blogged last – I’m excited to be back in Amsterdam and relaxing after two crazy weeks of exams and traveling! My finals went really well, I ended with an A in my Economics of Markets and Organizations class and I am waiting to get my final grade for my other class…but I am hopeful that I did well on that exam too. I just started classes again this week. I am taking two “fun” classes, a Dutch Language course and a course on Dutch Culture and Society. I thought it could be useful to know a thing or two about the culture and language of the country I am living in!
After I took my finals, I hopped on a plane to Barcelona! I stayed with my friend Maria, who grew up in Barcelona and lives there with her family. I absolutely loved staying with Maria’s family – they cooked us traditional Spanish dinners every night and really made me feel welcome in their home! Maria and her friends took me to all of the ‘touristy’ places and also showed me a few local gems. It was so nice to have a friend who knows the city so well, I didn’t have to do any planning! I really loved the culture of Barcelona, the people I met were so friendly and helpful. I could definitely see myself visiting Barcelona again in the future! It was truly a special 5 days that I will treasure forever.
After five days in Barcelona, I hopped on another plane to Lisbon, Portugal! Wow, I must say that Lisbon has been my favorite destination yet! I only spent two days there and it definitely wasn’t enough time to see everything I wanted to see. But I was amazing by the city, it was incredibly beautiful and I liked that it didn’t feel as touristy as Barcelona or Nice. I think that Portugal is somewhere that people don’t usually think of when they are planning a vacation, so it is somewhat a hidden treasure. Lisbon still feels very authentic and cultural.
On my first day in Lisbon, I took the train to a small village called Sintra, which is famous for having really nice castles. I took a tour of an ancient Arabic castled called Castelo dos Mouros as well as walked through the gardens of a palace called Palacio da Pena. Both were so beautiful and really nice to walk around in! The hostel we stayed at was also the best hostel I have been to yet! For only $13 a night, it including breakfast and dinner as well as many excursions such as walking tours of Lisbon. I met so many cool people in the hostel and I wish that more hostels were as great as this one. On the second day of Lisbon, I took the free walking tour with the hostel and explored the city by foot. It’s a relatively small city, just extremely hilly! Its easy to walk everywhere if your prepared for some steep uphill climbs.
Just a few days after I got home from Lisbon, I packed my bags again last weekend for a trip with the equestrian club to a horse ranch two hours away from Amsterdam. We spent the first day riding through the trails of the ranch, which were covered with beautiful autumn leaves! This was my first true experience of autumn. The colors of the leaves were breath taking. The second day, we went on another trail ride and then after lunch we had a jumping lesson in the arena. It was a great weekend to spend time with the riding club girls and Im excited to keep taking lessons with them until the end of my trip. This horse ranch excursion was actually my Chanukah present from my mom (thanks Mom!). I couldn’t have asked for a better present it was SO much fun!
Well, that’s all for now! This weekend, I’m visiting my friend Gaby in Scotland – I’ll make sure to write another blog after that weekend. I found out this week that my dad is going to visit me for a week over Thanksgiving and I could not be more excited!
Until next time,