Notes from the Netherlands is my feature where I discuss my time studying at Leiden University. I want to blog about this amazing experience as much as I can!
I was going to do separate posts for every event, but I’ve gotten pretty far behind so I think I will just do a roundup!
- At the end of November, I went to see the Vengaboys with my friends Jack and Ella. It was an event called ‘Leiden Loves the 90s’, with 2Unlimited and the Vengaboys playing live, and then DJs later on. We just went for the Vengaboys really, and someone *cough*Jack*cough* got really excited and even got to touch a Vengaboy when he reached out into the crowd! Definitely something that won’t be forgotten 😉
- It was a really fun night, exhausting but amazing! Definitely worth the three months wait… we were overeager and booked our tickets in September, as soon as we heard about it. And guess what? We made it to the official video, we’re at 0:11!
- The following weekend, I went to Cologne with some friends to visit the ‘Weihnachtsmarkts’ (Christmas markets). This was something I had to wanted to do for ages, and I hadn’t been to Germany for years. The train only took two and a half hours, we were in Cologne by early afternoon and then it was time to explore! To get to the centre from our youth hostel we had to cross a huge bridge – which has become a lover’s bridge, with thousands and thousands of locks attached to it!
- The trip meant that I got to test out my rusty German – I studied it for seven years but haven’t used it for about five or six, and I was happy to find that everything came flooding back and I was able to get us by. I felt so pleased with myself!
- I think there were seven or eight different markets, and we managed to cover five in a day and a bit. Each one had a different theme, plus a different collectible mug that you could keep when you bought a drink. Talking of drinks – there was of course the classic Glühwein, but OH MY GOD there was also hot chocolate with amaretto, which is quite possibly the best thing ever. So SO delicious, I may have had many mugs of it… I urge you to try it if you can!
- You can see some of the different themes in the photos above – one was all covered in gnomes, another had an angel theme and was covered in beautiful lights. We went to another which was meant to be like a little village, and the lesbian & gay Christmas market later in the evening, which had some really fantastic live music. The one next to the Dom (cathedral) was probably the least interesting of the lot!
- On the Sunday, we paid a brief visit to the cathedral – naturally, as Archaeology and Heritage students, it being a World Heritage site – but it felt a little awkward because there was a service going on, and there were just loads and loads of tourists milling about and taking photos whilst people were trying to worship. I felt really uncomfortable actually, and had to leave – along with another friend who felt the same way.
- Our final stop was the Römische-Germanishes Museum (Romano-Germanic Museum). I’ve been to a lot of museums in my life (shocker), and I really liked this one – it felt very open, and there was so much to see, but it was also set out in a way that made it easy to see everything. Some museums have loads, but their layouts mean you have to zigzag back and forth to see it all – this was nothing like that. And I found Serapis, the god that I did my Bachelor’s dissertation on – I’m always looking out for him in museums! 😉
- I didn’t get to see quite as much of Cologne as I wanted, and it was insanely busy EVERYWHERE, but I liked what I saw and would happily return again one day! That’s the beauty of being here – so many places within easy reach, although time and money are the main issues at the moment…