trip planning

Well, it’s that time… time to plan all the awesome traveling I’ll be doing while I’m in Europe. So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to see Amsterdam, The Hague, Maastricht and tomorrow, Rotterdam. I think it’s really important to see The Netherlands while I’m here, since it’s my adoptive country (says the Alberta girl who has been to Banff once, ever).

But it’s time to plan for trips further away! We have a two week break for exam period, and I have no exams! So I’m joining two of my Canadian friends (one from Concordia, one from Carleton) as they make their way east. On March 22, I leave on an overnight bus to Berlin, on March 25 we take off to Prague, March 29 is to Budapest, April 1 we head to Vienna, and April 4 (tentatively) we head to either Munich or Salzburg and then back home to Utrecht. I’m so excited!! Eastern Europe is my dream, and ideally I would go even further east – Poland, the Ukraine, Russia. But one of the big things I am trying to remember about this exchange is first, that I need to be a student, and second, that it’s not feasible, money-wise and time-wise, to see everything I’ve ever wanted to see in Europe. So I’m trying to do the essentials and I’ll come back. I know for sure I’ll be back. My number one dream while I’m here is to visit Auschwitz. I don’t want to go into detail about how I feel, but I will say that I have always felt a need to visit that place, and I don’t want to miss that while I’m here. I am also have a great desire to go to the Vatican and Rome – but it’s expensive from here to there. So I’m trying to focus on closer places.

Looks like we will do Spring Reading Week in Ireland!! I have to talk to the Austrians more and then book it… the other Canadian girls are headed to Greece, but I want to save that for another time. I’m hoping to do Dublin and some traveling from there, then maybe even over to Edinburgh? We’ll see. Then in April, we have the “Discover Holland” weekend with ESN, us three Canadian girls are going to Wales, and it’s Queen’s Day in the Netherlands. Then in May it’s the ESN “Weekend Abroad,” which is Bruges and Brussels (yay!), then the Erasmus Sound Festival and PinkPop, where Bruce Springsteen is headlining and Mumford & Sons is opening for him (OHMIGOSH)!! Then in June, ten of us bought tickets to see the Netherlands play Northern Ireland in soccer – I refuse to say football – and then the weekend of my birthday, I just booked a 27 Euro round-trip to PARIS. I will turn 22 in Paris!!

There are so many more things I want to see and do, like Barcelona, Ibiza, Morocco, Marseilles, Lyons, London, Oxford, Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan, Athens, Krakow, Kiev, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Helsinki, Stockholm, Geneva… but I am taking deep breaths and remembering that I can’t do it all in one trip. But it’s a start!! I absolutely can’t wait to leave for Eastern Europe, but first… I need to get all my assignments done! This exchange is so beautiful and happening so quickly that sometimes I forget that I should be studying… whoops!

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