by Pei Yu Lin
From Amsterdam Centraal to Utrecht is a short train ride – 20 minutes.
Remember to have some changes so you can use restrooms in a public place (this includes train stations, libraries, and tourist information centers) – .25 to .50 €.
Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands and it has a rich history that goes back to Roman times.
Dom Cathedral – the highest medieval tower in the Netherlands
Houses on the canal
Restaurants on a canal
Inside the Domkerk – the oldest Saint Martin’s church in the Netherlands
There are 12 main churches open for people to visit and we visited 5 that day.
Forgive me for not able to remember the name of this church because of the difficulties understanding Dutch and all that.
It is gorgeous.
by Maren Hunt
The Netherlands uses a card with an embedded chip for people to pay for travel on public transit. People load money onto the card and tap it on a card reader to pay for trips on trams, trains, subways, etc. It’s all very practical and efficient – except when it’s not. During the trip to Hilversum, the card reader didn’t register when I tapped my card at Centraal Station to leave Amsterdam. If you tap the card at one station without a corresponding destination, you’re charged the maximum fare for the type of trip you’re making. For trains, the maximum fare is €20. I didn’t realize my card hadn’t registered in Centraal, so I tapped my card at the reader in Hilversum. When I left Hilversum several hours later, I tapped the card at Hilversum and then again at Centraal when I got there. I thought everything had worked out correctly until I took a tram last night. When I got off, my balance read €2. I had been charged €40 for a roundtrip that should have been about €10. So I spend the afternoon at Centraal talking to a super nice (and attractive – I think they’re all supermodels here) guy at the service desk. He explained to me that unfortunately, he could not refund any money directly to my chip card; refunds can only be deposited into Dutch bank accounts. I, alas, don’t have a Dutch bank account, so I begrudgingly added €30 to my card balance so I can keep using it for travel. There are several morals to this story, but the one I’ll keep closest to my heart for now is: Make sure you hear a beep when you tap your card.
I heard the babies cheeping in the grass and the next thing I knew, the daddy swan was hissing and chasing me up the hill.
by Nathalie Wargo
Amsterdam is an amazing city. It’s very existence defies laws of nature. Artists are inspired by “Venice of the North,” while college students around the world see the chance to “live free.”
However, sometimes a girl just can’t stay in the city. So out I went, sans map or any form of communication, to see what I could see. After a long and winding route, I ended up in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. On the way I went through Amsterdamse Bos, a 2,471 acre English style park owned by the City of Amsterdam. It was very neat and had petting zoos, horseback riding, sports arenas and boating. Then I cut across east to the Amstel River, which has its own interesting park with a small maze (which I never saw) and a tour train (which I did see). I followed the Amstel south and then back north from Oudekerk.
Swan Mill. I still don't know the history. Even the Wikipedia page is in Dutch.
The countryside offered up enough beauty and uniquely Dutch views to satisfy even me. I got some great pictures that I can’t wait to play with. I hope you enjoy them, also!
The houses were amazing. So many little cool details.
Near Amstel Park is the Mill where Rembrandt did many of his sketches.
by Myria Jacobs
Having been in Amsterdam officially for six days now, iStudents have been plugging in to keep in touch. With approximately 15 computers from the states and two house computers, access is available to everyone. Students on the upper floors have to work around the lobby hours, and when walking downstairs while it is closed, one often finds students perched on the ladder-like stairs, just trying to get a signal. At times, the lobby at The Bicycle Hotel looks more like a computer lab than a place for visitors to share travel stories.
Looks can be deceiving. We are in fact writing blog posts, managing Facebook, emailing friends back in America, sharing pictures via Flickr, Skyping, or just chatting with other students who don’t want to brave the stairs and come to the lobby. A few students have cell phones they are using to keep in touch and we even have a Tweeter. Another common method of communication is the classic postcard, with the overwhelming message of “wish you were here.” And we do.
by Matthew Hicks
Today the program visited the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this inspired. Willem Jan Neutelings, Michiel Riedijk, and Jaap Drupsteen designed the amazing architecture and it was, in short, breathtaking to be in there. I came out of the building with so many ideas for projects that I want to tackle in the future.
We took a tour and them were able to experience the exhibition. Our tour guide explained that the archive was like a living, breathing human-being. As the tour guide was taking us around the building and explaining the structure and where everything is kept and archived and then how it is easily made available to users, I realized that this is how information is supposed to be – readily available to users so that they can interact with it in inspiring, thought-provoking, and intriguing ways.
After our tour we were given a lecture by Dr. Roeland Ordelman titled “Audiovisual content exploitation in the networked information society.’ There’s a lot more to say about this experience, but I really haven’t been able to digest it all yet. Here are some pictures from the tour:
And a couple pictures from the exhibit: