Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day Seven

Today we started out our day having wont with the dean of the Antwerp architecture school. After that was over we rushed home to pack for London. Riding the train through the channel tunnel was kind I scary, tunnels for trains in general freak me out and that was a really long tunnel and a fast moving train.

When we got to London we had a little trouble figuring out where to stay, but we ended finding a be and breakfast to stay at for two nights. We are going to try and find a hostel or some place cheaper to stay.

We did a bit of walking around and I got to see Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and The London Eye at night already. They were so awesome. I can't wait to go back in the daytime and see them better.

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben

The London Eye

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day Six

This morning we met with our professor and walked to an architecture firm. It was raining out again, of course. The firm was really neat. They actually designed their own office and it's mixed in with three residences. The guy who showed us around owns one of the houses and he let us look in his home as well. It was a quaint little house that had a lot of cool elements.

We did some shopping most of the afternoon, but I didn't buy anything. I did, however, find a yarn store so now I know I can get more yarn if the eleven different small skiens that I brought aren't enough.

Currently I am making dinner for all of our group with the three other girls that came on this trip. We are making alfredo with ground hamburger instead of chicken. Hopefully it turns out. The boys will be making dinner for us sometime in the future.

I have no pictures to post today because I didn't feel like I should be taking pictures of some guy's home and I obviously wouldn't be taking pictures while shopping. Tomorrow we are meeting with the dean of the architectural college we will be attending while here and then we are off to London for the weekend.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day Five

Today we took a tour of the courthouse in Antwerp. We had to walk quite a ways to get there and it was raining out. On our walk we stopped to look at the tunnel that runs underneath the river. It was really long. The walk was worth it though because the building was really interesting. It felt very light and open much unlike the courthouses in America. We got a tour of the building from a lady who I think said she was the building manager. The building had an awesome rainwater collection system that is used for flushing all of the toilets. Overall I really enjoyed the design and layout of Antwerp's courthouse. For the trip back home our teacher bought a group tram pass so we didn;t have to walk the whole way in the rain again.

We went to the train station in the afternoon to reserve seats on the trains to London and Paris only to find out that they are expensive because the rail lines are owned by a private company which charges larger fees. Our group decided that we were going to pay the fees so that we could see London and we already had to go to Paris for a class trip. The fees for other train will be a lot cheaper though is what we have found out so hopefully that stands true.

The tunnel that goes under the river

The lobby of the courthouse building

A hallway in the courthouse building that shows the whole length of it

One of the courtrooms. They had really awesome ceilings

Monday, January 28, 2013

Day Four

This morning we met with our teacher and went over our schedule for the week. The meeting didn't last very long so afterwards we all decided to head to Rotterdam for the rest of the day.  The train didn't have many seats open in a large group so we had to split up a little. Apparently there are multiple stations in Rotterdam because the part of the group I was with got off the train at one station to find that the rest of the group was still on the train and waving to us from the windows.

Rotterdam was a really neat city. Once we got out of the train station there was instantly some really amazing architecture. We found a really neat restaurant to eat at that had all kinds of pasta and it was really delicious. Like always we walked around a lot and took a lot of pictures. There were a lot of awesome things to see in Rotterdam. Nothing really eventful happened during our visit to Rotterdam other than the train mix-up, but I had a really great time walking around with my classmates.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day Three

I decided that today is a good day to show my apartment in Antwerp since I didn't really do a whole lot other than crochet and wander around a little bit with my classmates. It's a kind of small apartment with no bedrooms and a small kitchen and bathroom, but it will work just fine for the three months that I will be living here. I didn't really make an effort to clean up before taking the pictures so pardon the mess....

The bed area where my roommate Kelsi and I sleep. We have very large windows that swivel open 180 degrees.

Our couch and table right outside the kitchen.

The teeny kitchen that we have. There are only two burners for a stove and they are hard to cook with. There is no oven and we don't even get a toaster.

Our bathroom with the lovely mint green tile.

The odd shower with a mini-tub for a base.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day Two

This morning I got up early and tried out our peculiar shower. It has a tub base, but it's only the size of a single stall shower. Quite odd.

We took a day trip to Bruges (or Brugge to the Dutch) and it was pretty awesome other than some speed bumps I ran into. Trains were the bane of my existence today. I didn't realize I needed my passport to validate my rail pass so I left it at my apartment. I ended up having to buy a ticket to Bruges. On the way back from Bruges, I tried to buy another ticket back and I swiped my card just like I had done in the morning to get there and the cashier asked to see it. He told me I wasn't able to get a ticket because I had written "See ID" on the back of my card rather than signing it and even though I handed him my driver's license he still refused to sell me a ticket. He wasn't very nice about it either. What a cranky, old jerk. I didn't even have enough of my own cash to pay for it so luckily someone in my group offered to pay for it and I will pay them back as soon as I go to an ATM.

Actually being in Bruge was really great, even though the trip there and back was horrible. We walked all over and went into three different cathedral-type churches. One of them had a tower we were able to climb to the top of. There were 366 stairs to get to the top! I didn't get too overly tired, I was mostly just getting freaked out by how narrow the stairs were and the fact that most of them didn't have risers. There was only one set of stairs and both the people going up and the people going down had to share them. That was a nightmare. Once I finally made it to the top, it turned out to be a really great view of Bruges.

After getting back down from the tower, and living, we walked around some more, had some dinner, and then headed back to Antwerp.

Typical street in Bruges

Pipe organ in one of the cathedrals

The tower we climbed to the top of

View of Bruges from the top of the tower

Neat building in one of the squares

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day One

This morning we met up with our professor and headed to the local architecture school where we will be having our classes while we are here. We got a tour of the school from one of the professors from that school and he also showed us around part of Antwerp afterwards. We went to the top of one of the few tall buildings in Antwerp where we got to see a great view of most of the city. We also walked around a lot and went through some shopping districts. The Belgian professor even took us on a path which went through the red light district which was a bit odd.

Some pictures from my day:

The front of the architecture school

The building we went to the top of

Some strange guy we saw while walking around

Later tonight we plan on going out for some dinner and then we might watch the movie "In Bruges" because some of my classmates were talking about taking a day trip there tomorrow.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Made it!

To my family and anyone who may read this blog..... I HAVE MADE IT TO EUROPE! The flight was quite long, but it wasn't too bad. I'm still waiting to be able to check into my apartment, but there's tons to do until then

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Only one week left in Fargo

There is only one week until I get on my flight for Belgium. Packing has been a slow process. Every day I throw a few more things in to my suitcase when I remember I will need them, but I have yet to actually organize everything and make it all fit. Hopefully it all does when it's time to pack it all up for real.

I'm still scared to be leaving Fargo for three months, but this trip is going to be a very awesome experience and I'm sure it will fly by so fast.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

15 Days to Go!

There are only fifteen days until I leave on my flight to Belgium. Today seemed like a good day to start my travel blog for my semester abroad since I have finally started thinking about what I might pack for my three-month adventure. There are so many things that I want to bring with me since it is going to be three months, but I only have so much space to fit it all and It's difficult to decide what to leave behind. Maybe since I am starting so early it will be easier to eliminate unnecessary things later. I currently have piles of clothes laid out on my living room floor and a list going on my computer for what I am currently planning on packing. Over the next couple weeks I will be trying to cram it all into the suitcase and carry-on that I will be bringing with me.

I am very excited to be able to go on such an awesome trip, but I am also very nervous and scared. I have no idea what it is going to be like living in another country as well as a completely different continent. It will be a great experience though, and I am happy to have the opportunity to join eight of my classmates on this trip.

Before I know it I will be boarding the plane for my flight across the Atlantic.