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My last days in Utrecht.

Written on: Sunday September 2nd, 2007

A journal entry from: Northern Europe

Wow, it has been a while since I have had some time to sit down at a computer and update this journal.  My summer school ended on Friday, August 24.  The night before, some of us went out dancing to celebrate finishing since that was the last night we would see each other.  We had our project presentations and farewell lunch on Friday.  Our presentation went well.  Our "real" advisor (who we only saw for about 10 minutes on the first day of projects) even said we did a great job and he was proud of us.  Well, it was no big deal to me because I have given many presentations, and I didn't feel like we learned very much.  But I guess in 10 days it is hard to really get into a project.

After the lunch was over, I went with Sarah and some Dutch students to catch a train to Delft.  Sarah was going to check out the university there, since she is interested in one of their PhD programs.  I went along to tour the town for the afternoon.  It was pretty nice town.  There were a bunch of roudy students there doing some sort of initiation for the start of university (which was a week away). They were all lined up with camping stuff outside of this building, and also sitting along the edge of one of the canals.  Luckily, this was just near the train station, and after walking a few blocks, the town was quite peaceful.  It was nice weather, so I spent my time just walking around outside and viewing some old buildings and churches.  I had a hard time finding a place to get a snack, so I ended up having french fries (not very healthy, but better than nothing).  Plus I knew I was going to have a good dinner once I got back to Utrecht with Sarah.

Originally, I had planned to stay in the student apartments for the weekend, since I figured that was easier than moving my luggage again.  However, I went to dinner at the apartment of a nice couple who Sarah had stayed with her first night in Utrecht.  The whole thing was arranged through a project called couch surfing, with the idea that travellers are hosted for free by people around the world.  This couple had an indescribaly nice place, especially in comparison to the dorm I had been staying in.  Anyway, some time during dinner, I mentioned that I was staying for the weekend.  They offered to let me stay with them if I didn't already have something arranged.  I said I had already booked the dorm.  Well, a few days later it dawned on me that I could at least try to cancel my booking at the student dorm.  I found out that I could get a 75% refund, so I went ahead and changed my plans to stay with Olav and Femke.  Sarah was also staying on Friday night, so we could still hang out together for one more day.

We got back from Delft fairly late (around 9pm), but a nice dinner of Indian food was waiting for us.  After stuffing myself (which didn't take long since I gave in and ate a banana at the Utrecht train station), I made my way off to bed.  Sarah and I were sleeping in the same bed, so she warned me that she sometimes keeps pushing other people over.  I warned her that I sometimes kick people in my sleep.  But in the morning, we were both on our own side.  I think we were both just too tired to do anything but sleep and be still.

Sarah had to leave that afternoon to get her next flight from Amsterdam.  I went with her to Utrecht central (and helped her carry her bags as we ran to catch the train) from Olav and Femke's apartment, and then went on my own way.  I hadn't seen too much of Utrecht, since the previous weekend we went out of town both days.  I walked around the center a bit, and then decided to climb the Dom Tower, which is the highest tower in the Netherlands.  The tower used to be attached to the adjacent church, but the building in between was built last and they were out of money, so they used cheap material.  That section fell down when a hurricane hit Utrecht.  But the tower itself is still in good shape, and once the tour got to the top we had an excellent view of the city.  Luckily, it was a nice sunny day.

After that I was ready to head home.  Not too much is open after 5pm on a Saturday in Utrecht.  Olav's high school pal, Mike (who lives in Haarlem) came over for dinner.  He was a math teach and a pretty interesting guy.  We spent the evening chatting about various topics, and I felt right at home.  The next day (Sunday) was warm and sunny.  However, I was a bit exhausted and still trying to recover from my nagging cough.  I decided to stay in and start reading Moby Dick.  I spent a good deal of the day just reading on the balcony.  In the afternoon Olav and Femke invited my to go to a nearby park/forest with them.  We walked along some trails, past some bunkers left over from World War II.  There were people canoeing in the little river, some fishing, and some riding there bikes around on the lovely afternoon.  We walked over to a pankcake restaurant in the park, which was a popular destination.  We found some chairs to sit in outside and asked if they were able to make pancakes without egg or milk.  They were able to, so I got an apple/cinnamon pancake.  It was pretty good, although the cake seemed a bit watery.

Afterwards we headed back home.  A few hours later, we were starting to get hungry again.  So I started cooking the meal I had promised to make them:  vegan pizza and spinach strawberry salad.  They both were very curious about the salad, but ended up really loving it.  The rest of the evening I spent packing up my stuff so that I wouldn't forget anything.  Finally, the next morning I got up and left with Olav and his way to work.  From Utrecht central, I caught a train to the airport and said goodbye to Utrecht.


From Susan on Sep 6th, 2007

How come you didn't kick her!?! hahah.. Sounds like a really great trip. Mom is going to tell you to see a doctor about your cough.. Love you!