S: NSPICE - Spring 2007
FC: My European Adventure NSpice Spring Semester 2007
1: On January 18, 2007, I flew out of Des Moines to spend the semester in The Netherlands. I couldn't speak any Dutch, really didn't know any of the people I was going to be studying with, and had never met the family I would be living with while I was there. The Lord was so faithful and the following months were a time of learning, exploring, and taking some incredible adventures. While it's difficult to capture the experience even with pictures, I am truly thankful for such an incredible, once in a lifetime opportunity full of wonderful people and memories I will treasure forever.
2: I was fortunate enough to be placed with Piet and Trudy Van der Krieke. They had never hosted a student before and Trudy requested a girl because she claimed she needed some reinforcement with her 6 sons. This was certainly not the true reason as the boys could not have been sweeter. I quickly grew to love Gerard (13), Kornelis (16), Harmannus (18), IJsbrand (21), Chris (23), and Johan (25) as though they actually were my brothers. I was also able to get to know Johan’s girlfriend Ester and Chris’s girlfriend Chantal.
3: V a n d e r K r i e k e
5: Biking | Adjusting to using our bikes as our main form of transportation was one of the biggest adjustments. We biked through rain, snow and every other weather condition.
6: The first week we were in Zwolle we took a bike tour of the city and ended at Sally O'Brien's. We made our first of many trips to de Joffer on the Tuesday Student Night and discovered that biking to Hattem should only take 30 minutes instead of 2 hours. We ended the first week by exploring the Saturday morning Farmer's Market in the center of Zwolle.
8: On January 31st we took our first class trip to Amsterdam. We visited the Anne Frank house and took a canal boat tour.
9: On February 3 we took a day trip to Groningen. We explored the market, some gardens, and a beautiful cathedral.
10: The beginning of February was full of opportunities to form friendships within our group. We had a bowling night with our host families and Kelsi and I attempted to bake cookies in spite of the unfamiliar ingredients. | We tried raw herring at the market in Kampen and on Valentine's Day we took a train to Heereveen to watch a hockey game. My sweet host mom packed a bag of treats because she knew I was excited for the holiday
11: On February 15, we had a day off from class and so a group of us decided to bike the 13 miles to see the castle in Heino.
12: On February 17-18, we took the train to Pieterburen to visit Joel Prins' family. We stayed at their farm and celebrated the carnival event with some of his cousins. The next day we saw the De Vier Winden Windmill and went to a rescue center for seals.
13: We took another class trip to Amsterdam on February 21. This time we went to see the Bodies Exhibit, the Rijksmuseum and a museum called Our Lord in the Attic. From the outside, the building isn't very exciting, but in 1661, the owner built a full chapel in the attic, complete with a small pipe organ. The next day, Marcus organized a fishing trip with homemade poles.
14: Brugge Belgium
15: February 23-24 we visited my favorite city in the world, Brugge. We stayed at a quaint hotel called 'T Keizershof, went to the top of the Belfry and walked along countless canals. We ate Belgian Chocolate, Belgian Waffles and tried Speculaas Ice Cream. The boys kept us entertained by showing us the 'sweetest tree in all of Belgium'
17: Our class's spring break trip started on February 26. We took a bus down to Prague in the Czech Republic. While the city itself is beautiful, the weather while we were there was not. We took a 7 hour walking tour in the pouring rain and after the first few hours we were all soaked through our clothes.
18: Before leaving the Czech Republic we toured a winery and visited the concentration camp Terezin. The sign below is above one of the main entrances and means 'Work Makes One Free"
21: Berlin was one of my favorite cities. We were able to see a lot of historical places such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall, and the Holocaust Memorial. We went to the top of the Reichstag Building and saw the Brandenburger Tor. One of the highlights of the time in Berlin was when the boys formed a band to sing their own rendition of 'Hero' at our hotel.
22: On March 8 Johanna and I went to Koln, Germany because Kenric and Carol were there for a conference. We went to the Dome, walked on the Roman Road and ate at the Elephant Cafe. It was a brief visit but great to see them. Johanna and I took a train from Koln to Paris to meet up with Heidi, Jolene, Marena, and Sarah.
23: P A R I S
24: In the 2 days we spent in Paris, we saw the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Montmarte. We saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum and also took the train out to the Palace of Versailles on a very rainy day.
25: On March 14 we had a day off class so Marena, Sarah, Jolene and I took the train up to Delft. It's a really cute little town and we even ate Poffertjes at a sidewalk cafe.
26: Class Trip to Leeuwarden March 15
27: Josh Harmelink, Chris Kramer, David Dykshorn, and Clark and Brady DeVries came to visit during Dordt's Spring Break. We showed them around Zwolle and took them to Amsterdam to the Heineken Experience.
29: Dad, Mom, Kristi, and Grandma came to visit March 17-25. We were able to go to Leiden and have supper with Gert and Hubert. We also went to Paris and explored the city with help of a tour guide named Christian who chauffeured us all around. We also went to Normandy and saw the Caen Memorial and the Utah Beach. It was great for Dad, Mom, Kristi and Grandma to see where I was living and fun for my 2 families to get to know each other.
30: M Y 2 F A M I L I E S
31: On March 28 we took a class trip to Rotterdam. We saw the Cube houses, went to the Architecture Institute, and took a Watertaxi tour. A few of us stayed later in the evening and had a delicious dinner on the Pannenkoekenboot
32: Trip to Heidelburg, Germany - March 31
33: Westerbork | On April 4 we took a class trip to Westerbork. This was a refugee camp where the Nazis would gather their prisoners and transport them to other concentration camps. Anne Frank was held here until being transported to Auschwitz.
34: Switzerland April 5-9
35: We went to Switzerland to visit Johanna's friends, the Broeks. We stayed at their home in Zurich and then they took us up to their home in the mountains. We were able to go skiing and hiking in the Alps and event spent an afternoon at a spa. We were there over Easter and so it was a huge blessing to be able to attend their church. Before we left Switzerland, we explored Luzern and took what we thought was a round trip boat tour. Two hours later we were a long way from where we had started and had quite an adventure getting back.
37: Den Haag & Scheveningen April 11 | We had the opportunity to visit the Mauritshuis and see the Girl with the Pearl Earring painting and also go to the sea. We highlight of the day was seeing the miniature village called Madurodam.
38: IRELAND | APRIL 12-15
39: For our second major class trip, we decided to go to Ireland. We flew into Dublin and toured Trinity College where the Book of Kells were on display. We went out to the coast and had a picnic on the shore. We also went to the historic Temple Bar and met a lot of really fun Irish people.
40: Johanna, Jolene and I decided to take a train to Cork to see the Blarney Castle. The train ride was definitely a highlight of the day because the Irish countryside is so beautiful. There is a legend that if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will have eloquence forever so naturally we had to try it.
41: BLARNEY CASTLE
42: Otterlo April 18
43: Our class went to the Kroller-Muller Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Otterlo. We biked all throughout the park and were able to climb on and in some of the sculptures. The museum is famous for having a considerable collection of van Gogh paintings.
44: Johanna's brother Chad and his friend Russ came to visit. We went to Haarlem and visited the Hiding Place at the Corrie Ten Boom House. We also took them to the Keukenhof and saw acres and acres of beautiful tulips.
45: Harlaam April 19
46: Greece April 26-29
48: The best day of the trip was the day we rented vespas and rode all around Aegina. It was the most perfect weather and the water could not have been more beautiful.
49: During our trip around the island we passed a gas station multiple times where a family was roasting a pig and preparing to have a birthday party. They invited us to join them and it was surreal. They fed us tons of delicious food and taught us some Greek dances. We couldn't speak the same language but they made us feel incredibly welcome!
50: Our time in Greece was my favorite trip of the semester. We started in Athens and saw the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Temple of Dionysos, The Temple of the Olympian Zeus, and one of the original Olympic Stadiums. There are so many ruins throughout the city that we spent a lot of time walking and exploring. One of the nights we decided to get all dressed up and walk down into the heart of the city to go to a music festival. This ended up being a bad decision when we had to walk all the way back in our high heels When we got tired of being in the city, we took a ferry out to the island of Aegina and spent a few days there.
51: FERRY RIDE FROM GREECE TO ITALY | We took an overnight ferry from Patras to Bari. Being Dutch, we decided not to pay the extra money for seats and just camp out on the deck all night. It got very cold and so we attempted to sleep on the stairwell....until we got kicked out. We were very thankful when we made it to Italy safe and sound!
52: ITALY | APRIL 30 - MAY 4
54: During our time in Rome, we saw the Coliseum, St. Peter's Basilica, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and a lot of Roman Ruins. We also went into Vatican City for an afternoon. The Catacombs of St. Sebastian were very interesting to tour. They were 7 miles long and made up of 100,000 underground tombs. The most unique thing about our trip to Rome was that we stayed in a campground instead of a hostel.
55: P O M P E I I | We decided to take a day trip to Pompeii since it was only supposed to be 2 hours away from Rome. Due to some train delays, it took us about 7 hours to arrive but we were still glad we made the trip. The city of Pompeii was covered when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 and was lost for almost 1700 years until it was accidentally rediscovered in 1749.
56: MILAN | We flew home through Milan and stopped just long enough to see the Duomo.
57: Our last class trip was to take boats through the canals in Zwolle. It was a great way to see the city from a different perspective. My host brother Chris also invited me to play pool with him and some friends.
59: After a long, wonderful semester full of traveling, Sarah, Johanna and I went to Barcelona for a few days of pure relaxation. We saw La Sagrada Familia and many of the parks and buildings designed by Gaudi. The highlight of the time in Barcelona was just enjoying the beach. Our hostel was right on the water and so we took advantage of the easy beach access.
60: On May 14, one of my favorite traveling buddies Shannon arrived in Barcelona to travel with me for a week. I took her to see many of the same sights that Johanna, Sarah and I had gone to. On May 15, we took a very eventful overnight train to Seville to visit Adam Van Gelder for a few days. Seville was a beautiful city and it was nice to have Adam for our tour guide.
63: Shannon and I went to Paris from May 19-21 on our way back from Spain. We encountered a bit of a setback right off the bat when we found out our hostel had burned down the day before we arrived. However, even with a rough beginning, we had a great trip seeing all of the major tourist attractions. We also enjoyed having a meal that wasn't only bread and cheese.
65: Saying Goodbye
67: I flew home on May 24. Throughout the semester, the relationships among our class really deepened. We traveled countless miles by bike, train, plane, and on foot in rain, snow, wind, and some extreme heat. We laughed a lot, traveled a lot, danced a lot, and studied a little. I grew to love the Van der Kriekes so much and feel like I truly gained 2 parents and 6 brothers. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to live and learn in Zwolle that semester. It is one that I will never, ever forget.