Brussels, Amsterdam, and Things on My Mind

This past week was Innovative Learning Week, which was basically the halfway point of the semester. During Innovative Learning Week, the university hosts a variety of events and more importantly, everyone gets a break. These events ranged from painting with bacteria to a lecture on emotional intelligence. Sadly, I signed up for multiple events, but had to stay in to finish my two papers. It was worth it because I took off on Wednesday for a 4.5 day trip to Brussels and Amsterdam and stayed in a hostel for the first time, which was a surprisingly pleasant experience (probably because they served free breakfast). Here are a ton of random photos.

If you’re ever in Brussels, try a Leige (crispy and chewy-not soggy, pictured above) and Belgian (crispy and flaky) waffle at Maison Dandoy. They’re also known for their speculoos biscuits.
Apparently, this little guy has an entire wardrobe. #jealous
Drunk food: Mitraillette. Look it up. I also have a new love for fries with mayo.
With Maria, taken by Fernanda, at the Grand Place. Funny story: they’re high school friends who randomly ran into each other at the hostel.
Immortality by Paul de Vigne. Or as I call it, 19th century dabbing. Taken at the royal museum.
Anne Frank Museum. Buy your tickets online because that line wrapped behind that building on the right.


Things on My Mind

  1. As a class representative, I collect feedback from the class. As I was doing this yesterday, it became apparent that about half of the class, including me, was unaware that our weekly assignments were optional. Cue the surprise and disgruntled faces.
  2. Almond butter is expensive and not as popular here as it is at home.
  3. In Amsterdam, I ran into a high school friend at a bus station, after tripping over her luggage.
  4. As an overpacker, I struggled with American Airlines’ 50 pound baggage limit. This is a list of what I should/should not have packed:
  • SHOULD NOT: extra pair of black knee-high leather boots, clothes I don’t wear on a regular basis, sweatshirt (I purchased a new one from the giftshop), clarisonic face brush (I can’t use it because my skin is insanely dry for the first time ever)
  • Flip flops (I couldn’t find any in convenience or pound stores nearby before my trip to Brussels. Luckily, I found a pair of Havianas in the corner of the men’s section at a charity shop)
  • A windbreaker (My down coat has a slight smell after being worn in the rain so often. It takes up quite a bit of room and doesn’t transition well from winter to spring)
  1. Tips:
  • pack your toiletry, shoes, socks and underwear in reusable grocery bags so that you can save $$
  • I was lucky enough to have had the previous study abroad student leave behind her comforter, pillows, sheets and utensils. You can easily purchase these things at Primark (Princes St.) or Sainsbury’s (Cameron Toll) for ridiculously low prices. However, I would recommend that you land earlier in the day so that you get to these places before they close (I feel like stores close too early). Basically, if you can buy it here, don’t pack it. Also, contrary to other packing suggestions I’ve read, I have not seen any charity shops down South Clerk Street selling comforters or sheets.
  • Do yourself a favor and start budgeting. For me, I separate my expenditures into eating out/having fun, groceries, necessities, aesthetics, and travel.
  • Take advantage of free walking tours. Almost every city offers them.