Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sailing outside of Aalsmeer

Aalsmeer is "the world marketplace for flowers and plants. Every day Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer sets the world price for flowers and plants." In addition to numerous plants, gorgeous flowers, and lovely houses, are the Westeinder lakes where me and some friends were fortunate enough to go sailing on a fellow student's family boat. The day, as it does so often here in NL, began on a very dreary note. By the time we set sail, however, the clouds were breaking and the sun shining through. Here are some photos of the all-day adventure. I had a fantastic time, and even sailed much of the way back to port myself!

Herman is the one standing and the same who was so gracious to host us for the sail. Brian, another American, is wearing the yellow hat and I am to his right, if you couldn't figure that for yourself.


Brian and I are really happy....


Some scenic shots


Ended the day with some hearty food and drinks

L-R: Hope, Brian, Jaap, me, and Herman

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A day to remember....

...I finally bought a bike! A good, used, silver, Dutch bike; the "Monte Carlo." Yeah, baby, yeah! Listen to those brakes squeal and to the chain rattle...haha, it's not that bad. Quite a nice ride, if I do say so myself. Check it out. I've spent most of the day exploring town by bike and I am exhausted! Not to mention, today has been the hottest day yet (by Dutch standards), almost 80 degrees! Thank goodness there's no humidity...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A sunny day in Leiden, 17 August 2005

The past two days have been as perfect as they can get here in Leiden, and anywhere for that matter, a pleasant 75 degrees with no rain clouds in sight. Quite rare and much enjoyed by the Dutch (and myself). I thought the sunset had some spectacularly vibrant colors in it (shot from my balcony).

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These are from the river which is just 2 blocks from my apartment. Really peaceful around here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

09 August - 15 August 2005

So, this week begins my 3rd week in Europe and, I must say, it seems like it's been 3 months! I recently traveled to London to visit some good friends of mine and it was a really nice time.

Other recent highlights: bought nearly 5 pounds worth of mussels for a mere 5 euros; cooked them nicely in a tomato sauce; made mashed potatos from scratch; learned where the washer and dryer are located; tango and swing lessons in South Kensington; relaxed in Regent's Park; Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Tate Modern; and drinking some pints in a real pub, not Mackey's...

Photos include some of me and a couple friends, Regent's Park (my fav park in London), Trafalgar Square & Parliament, shot of the iconic Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam (above), and part of my outfit for a friend's "hoe down" party in London.

Photos with Philip and Nita


Shots from Regent's Park


Some touristy sights


The Frida wall in the Tate Modern near the cafe and I dedicate this photo to a certain someone, Frida's biggest fan ( you know who you are ;) )


You'd never believe it, but there is a shortage of country/redneck attire in London. All I could find was a cowboy hat and this piece of paper I wrote on saying, "I'd rather be huntin me some deer."

I should have some more photos from the party once my friend posts his. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 07, 2005

06 - 07 August 2005

Den Haag (The Hague)
Photos of some of the skyline, the Binnenhof (main government building), and some cool sculptures in the water. I will spend most, if not all, of my second year in the Hague studying at the Clingendael Institute (see and probably interning somewhere, so I will have plenty more photos to add later.


Some liberal art which just seems to be a bunch of bumper stickers combined together - found some of them to be pretty entertaining, i.e., "If you want to wear fur, stop shaving."


Back to Leiden

This is my apartment building. I am on the fifth floor and I put a red square around my apartment, just behind the tree branches.


This is the building where I'll be taking courses in Leiden.

Friday, August 05, 2005

First week in Leiden, 01-05 August 2005

After what had to be the most painstaking trip to Europe ever, which included: a multiple hour de-fueling of the plane at Dulles; the subsequent missing of two connecting flights; being re-routed through London to arrive in Amsterdam 7 hours later than initially expected; and arriving without any luggage (delivered 3 and 5 days later), I am finally settled in my humble apartment at Smaragdlaan 246.

Since arriving, I've shopped at the largest open air market in Western Europe located in Den Haag (The Hague) for fresh cheese, fruit, and veggies, I've begun exploring the town of Leiden, and have simply worked at making my place a little more comfortable. I've concluded that, at a minimum, I need a bike and to learn a fair amount of Dutch to get along here over the next two years...

Here are some photos I've taken in my first week here. Enjoy!

The infamous windmill in the town of Leiden.

Another view

View from bridge overlooking canal, rowhouses, and boats.

A "floating" terrace cafe. These are like miniature barges which various restaurants/cafes own and just sit in the water. Some are quite neat looking.

These are taken from an area nearby several University buildings. Very quaint and picturesque around there.