Hello all from Bad Oeynhausen,
Today we started off by visiting Schloss Buckeburg palace. I was very impressed by the chapel and some of the other rooms. I think I enjoyed the outside as much, if not more, than the inside. The grounds outside are like a beautiful park area. There are horses, ducks, & other wild life seemed to fit in perfectly.
Off to Exeternstein. This is a rock formation that is located on protected lands. It is similar to Stonehenge. Unlike Stonehenge, the formation of Externstein is known. Tectonic plates slid and pushed up through the earth to form these four tower like structures. Items have been found from the time before Christ proving this area was used by nomadic people as a place of shelter. There are carvings on the outside of one of the towers that were created by two different stone masons. The grottos are normally gated & locked but we got to go inside.
Today was an awesome day. We had the opportunity to visit a German College, Felix-Fechenbach- Berufskolleg Drs Kreises Lippe in Detmold, where we all were divided up into our perspective areas of study and integrated with the students of the college. I was very honored to shadow the Chef of the College. He showed me new tricks of the trade that I have never seen before and explained many of his past events. It was truly an honor to have the opportunity to shadow a TRUE GERMAN CHEF. He also gave me a discount card to shop with in Germany to buy German knives. SOOO Excited!!!!
After we left the College we visited Weidmuller which is a company that has over 90,000 products and operates in many different countries. They also make parts for formula 1 race cars. They have apprentice students that go to school and work for them at the same time. It really amazes me how early they introduce their students into the work force. Finally, to bring a close to an adventurous day we visited a brewery, where we had dinner pool side. It was amazing.
There was so much to see and do today! After a bus ride of 45 minutes to the train station from Bad Oeynhausen and a two hour train ride, we made it to the city of Berlin! Some big highlights of today was seeing the Berlin Wall, The Jewish memorial and Checkpoint Charlie, while having an awesome tour guide. He helped explain some of the history here and shared some of his childhood memories when the wall was being taken down. There is so much history here; it was such a pleasure to have this experience. I loved how many languages people know here. English is a second language to mostly all in Germany. Most people will know at least three different languages. (German, French, English). I loved hearing about their education system and the differences between ours. I am impressed.
Today was day two in Amsterdam, and let me tell you…It is amazing!
We arrived at 8:30 yesterday morning. There is a 6 hour difference between Amsterdam and Atlanta, Georgia. I was extremely jet lagged and could not keep my eyes open yesterday.
We were greeted by Margeaux who is our CEPA guide from France. She greeted us with the stroopwafels and European water bottles. I did not realize that this Dutch syrup waffle would become my new favorite candy!
Some things I have noticed that are similar to Georgia are the trees and the weather. (The weather is read in Celsius not Fahrenheit). I’m very glad I brought my wind breaker & beanie along with me.
One of the biggest things I have noticed is how amazing the transportation system is here. Yes, there are “more bikes than people” but I didn’t know that that was the main transportation. It is very easy to get hit by one, as we all had a frightening moment. It was said that there are over 600,000 bikes in Amsterdam. There are not too many cars. They are all electric and are very silent. You do not realize they are right in front of you until you look up.
Most people here speak Dutch, French, German, and it is really no problem speaking in English. In the morning, we had complimentary breakfast. I was amazed how they had a salad bar, fresh juice, fruit, and even an expresso machine that made great coffee for coffee lovers like myself.
We had quite an eventful past 24 hours. Earlier today, we explored the Van Gough Museum and learned about all the wonderful paintings. I found it interesting to know only one of his many paintings were sold.
Later, we had a chance to do some shopping! I thought it was pretty neat that along the way as we stopped in a leather jacket store. As I was looking for gloves for my dad, we were offered a bread and cheese sandwich from the salesman and his friend who were having lunch in the store. I decided to take his offer and told him to prepare it like it was for them. It was very tasty, and a genuine act. As Margeaux said “a sandwich is very popular in this city”.
One of the moments I have been waiting for that was difficult for us, was seeing the Anne Frank museum. It didn’t hit me until we went behind the book shelves and were in her secret hiding place. I found it interesting to see that Anne and Peter would go upstairs to the attic to get some fresh air but always had lived a dark and quiet life. It was a very sad but unique experience I will never forget.
Later on in the evening, we left to get dinner at the Pancake house (which is common here). I think we all learned a lot and it is noted that you should not ask to customize the menu. Overall, It has been such an amazing trip and tomorrow is our last day here! I honestly can say that I’m going to miss this place for all the diverse culture, new things I’m learning, and the beauty in this City. So here’s for now and will write later…goede nacht!
Today we began with one of the events of this trip that I was most eager to partake it, The Van Gough Museum. I have learned about the battles Gough struggled through with his depression, but I have never taken the time to notice how his emotions are truly depicted in his art. My favorite painting is the sunflower painting. It always has been favorite but now knowing it was created in his happier moments, I have come to appreciate it even more.
After the tour of the Van Gough’s Museum. We had some free time. We spent a lot of time shopping. Rachel, Janicia and I sat at a café and ate some of the best calamari I have ever had. At the Café, we met a man, sitting at a table to our right, from Spain who spoke 7 languages. He told us how he has a studio apartment in Spain as well as in Amsterdam. He says whenever he gets tired of one of his places of residence he packs up and lives at the other one until he gets bored again. At a table to our left there was a couple from Holland, we shared our lunch with. They weren’t able to answer questions about Amsterdam, as they stated they were tourists, too. They came to see a concert for the weekend and had an hour drive back this evening to Holland. It was nice to be able to speak with local people.
I must be honest. I am not a fan of not having it my way at restaurants here. At the café, we ate during our shopping time, the waitress put in the wrong order. When we checked to verify our order, we found out she had put it in wrongly. Unfortunately, she stated it was already being made and left it at that. This is actually how we ended up having lunch with the couple from Holland, we gave them the food. Later this evening at the Pancake Bakery, I wanted to order a ham and cheese pancake. However, I wanted my ham and cheese on the side. I was told that could not be done it had to be made together. It was definitely a learning experience, and was very different than the ones in American restaurants.
Words fail me in my attempt to express how much I love this city. It is so beautiful. I love how everything is in such close proximity, how bike friendly the roads are, and how friendly and sociable the people are. I have enjoyed exploring this city, and all I can say is I will be back.
Geode Nacht Amsterdam, en Vaarwel!
We started Day 2 off with a trip to the Van Gogh Museum which turned out to be very educational and in many ways inspirational as the exhibit allowed us the opportunity to view his short, self-taught life as a painter and a few of the works that inspired him to ascend to the level of the greats. Afterward, it was back to the wild to fend off the cyclists who are always a treat. Even on Sunday, one must always be aware of their surroundings here in Amsterdam-not just from common threats of modern-day but from the bicycles!!
After grabbing a bite to eat and surviving the cyclists we found ourselves at the Anne Frank house, a museum dedicated to reproducing the living conditions of a family who hid in a secret compartment from the German soldiers during the Holocaust regime. This is an extremely sad story, and I hope the world takes the time to reflect on the situation and other similar situations that have occurred throughout history so that history does not repeat itself. Afterward, it was once again to fend for our lives from the bicyclists as we navigated thru the city to our next destination.
While awaiting dinner we were afforded the opportunity to view stroopwaffles (a national snack) made fresh and to try samples which were excellent!! After a pancake dinner and navigating the dangers back to the room, it was once again time to call it a night and prepare for the next day.
I enjoyed going to the Anne Frank Muesum. I admired her father’s commitment to fulfill her daughter’s dream to become an author. Even though Anne Frank didn’t survive to see the legacy she set, we see it for her. Anne Frank helps us to see the struggle thousands went through from a different perspective. Anne Frank draws insight and withdraws emotions through many. If Anne Frank resurrected and saw the impact she set on the world, tears would probably draw from her eyes. I think the best part of going to her house was learning her personality. Many said she could be mean, many said she was full of life, but to me; that means Anne Frank was just a normal human being. I can’t say who any Anne Frank was, but I will say that I wished she survived long enough to share more of her story.