First week

Trip Start Aug 16, 2007
Trip End Dec 13, 2007

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Flag of Netherlands  ,
Monday, August 20, 2007

We're here! Landed in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) at roughly 8:00 am Dutch time. There was finally some time to sit and relax before the next flight. Emily and I enjoyed a cup of coffee before we headed down to the Maastricht gate. Upon boarding the plane we met two other students going to Teikyo, Amy and Kristi.

We arrived at Teikyo University at approx. 11:00. I was tired and dirty so I took a shower almost immediately. The rooms and facilities are very nice. I get my own bathroom and sink and there's lots of closet space for the over-packer that I am. Emily, Amy, Kristina, and I went down to eat our first lunch. Afterwards, the four of us went to explore the best we could.

Following brunch the next day, we had a brief orientation with the on-site director, Randall. Afer the meeting, Professor Rampall was nice enough to show the group a short-cut to the local grocery store. He generously agreed to take Emily and I on a walk to show us the Central Market, which mainly included clothing stores but there were some other things too. We stopped at a department store (much like our Macy's but with a restraurant and fresh food market) where the Professor offered us a glass of beer. We obliged! A little later in the day Emily and I walked to another shopping area, Brusselspoort, to get a few items. I got some wine, beer, coffee and filters, and bananas (the essentials) for about 10 euro...not bad.

On Sunday, a few people from the group decided to check out a local music festival in what appeared to be the central downtown plaza. Hardly any shops are open on Sunday so the locals are sure to have a good time. The beer was flowing. After listening to the music for a while, Emily and I took a long walk (and our first) around the city. Beautiful, historic architecture abound and there are lots of great churches and statues. We walked along the Maas River for a while and crossed a very lovely bridge called the St. Servaasbrug, which is one of the oldest in the country. It crosses to the "other" Maastricht: the narrow streets of the historic Wyck district which was once the commercial center of town. Many elegant 17C and 18C mansions, most of which are now bars, restaurants, art galleries, and antique shops. Farther on is a new commericial and residential area which shows no traces of the area's rich past. Along the river, we walked past the Bonnefantenmuseum, which looks a bit like a spaceship. There was much more to be seen but with school starting tomorrow we thought we'd head back. While certainly smaller than Amsterdam, Maastricht is still a fairly large city with a population of about 123,000. There is a whole semester to explore it.
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