Another Corner Explored

March 12, 2012 § 7 Comments

This past week I joined thirty of my peers from DIS on an academic travel tour to explore another corner of Europe, the Netherlands and Northern Germany.  Our travels started in Amsterdam with a day trip to Utrecht.  From there we bused back across Northern Germany with stops in Essen, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamberg and back to Denmark.  It was a full week indeed!

Each city we visited were very distinct from one another.  In The Netherlands I strolled along the picturesque canals that knit the city together.  In Germany I explored many previous industrial sites that have been repurposed into new culture centers.  And on the bus…I slept.

The trip was very diverse which is why I am struggling so much to knit the story and pictures together.  Well sorry folks, I give up.  I can’t find a focus. These might not be your typical tourist photos, but these are the pieces of the trip I want to remember best.

Enjoy the pictures and descriptions!

Canals of Amsterdam.  The right is the traditional homes located in the city center.  The left Borneo Housing, a new development with flair on the outskirts of Amsterdam.  Which do you prefer, the old or new?

Yes, Amsterdam might be known for things other than their cheese.  However I stumbled upon this fabulous cheese shop with samples galore.  I felt like I was in Costco.  Yes, I went twice in two days.  Free lunch!

Concertgebouw is one of the world’s most renowned concert venues known for its excellent acoustics.  Although I know nothing about acoustics and can’t carry a tune, there was something special about the sounds within the concert hall.  Our group was treated with a Spanish Guitar Concert at the Concertgebouw.

I found a quaint little coffee shop (yes…a real coffee shop, not an Amsterdam ‘coffee shop’) in Amsterdam city center that reminded me so much of the coffee shops in San Luis Obispo.  I got to sit down, sketch and chat with the barista, a fellow West-Coaster (Washington State) studying in Amsterdam.  These are the memories I love.

I love this city!  Dusk in Amsterdam.

Hop over to Germany now. We spent a day in Essen wandering through the historic Ruhr District. The Ruhr District was once full of industrial cities characterized for its coal mining and associated heavy industry.  During WWII the district served as Germany’s primary weapon factory and was bombed heavily by the allies.  Much of the production has been moved elsewhere and the factories lay abandon.

Recent developments have repurposed many of the former industrial sites into cultural centers and museums.  The factories have been kept in tact with exhibits artfully placed between the remnants and machinery of the old building.

More of the factories that are planned to be repurposed.  Who needs an exhibit? I think these buildings are cool enough without being repurposed into a museum.

One last stop in Hamburg, Germany.  Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany behind Berlin and is Europe second largest port.   We visited several sites that were once industrial harbor centers and are being transformed into sustainable living and commercial environments.

So as you can see the trip was quite diverse, in a good way!  I got the opportunity to see and experience another corner of Europe and I can’t wait to return!

I am so thankful.

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