Monday, July 11, 2011
Until next time Europe...........
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Our speaker Thomas, who happens to be a good friend of Dr. V's, came over from London to speak with us and tell us a little about what he does for a living. With his background in economics I enjoyed being able to relate to his conversations from a marketing point of view. Also today, myself and the other girls visited The 9 Streets district, filled with Dutch designer's it was very popular among the people here. I was able to speak with some of the boutique employees and get a great sense of the style and the views on fashion here in Amsterdam. Another spontaneous day of weather we had today; I woke up to it being very overcast and rainy, and when we first got out it was very chilly. But on our way back to the Hostel it warmed up and welcomed us with a little nice weather. We made our way to Bagels and Beans once again, a bagel and coffee chain that they have here in Europe. If you like bagels this is the place for you, the food is really good and the service as well.
Throughout the past few days our group has done a canal ride, took a journey through the red light district, and taken a trip to the U.S consulate and the Van Gogh museum. And I can't forget the Flower Market, Thursday the marketing students took a trip to FloraHolland. I huge flower market where people come and place their bid on flowers to buy. The venue is huge and it seems like serious business goes down when it comes to bidding on flowers. All the flowers were beautiful and the place was filled with any type of flower you could think of. All of these places provided the perfect setting for pictures, and i made sure to get lots of them. Well.....until the next blog, enjoy!
Friday, July 8, 2011
[GreenPeace link coming soon]
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
So to back track a little bit, I can't believe I forgot to blog about the accident we saw in Rotterdam. Take my word for it the bikes here are DANGEROUS, they will run you over and pedesirtions do not have the righter way! And cars here drive so fast, there can't be a speed limit because nobody in Europe abides by it.In Rotterdam kristin and I actually saw a bike get hit by a car; while it is really not funny, at the same time it was. That is of course when your not the person that it is happening to. They really just hit you and keep going, they might throw a sorry out the window...maybe not because nobody believes in manners, or they might help you up if they really feel bad. But at the end of the day its just like a little bump in the road, you get hit and you keep going lol. The European way.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Earlier today I went for a cup of coffee at Coffee Company, the largest chain in Holland, and observed rather peculiar accident. A brand new Mercedes rammed a tram with significant and very visible damage. Of course, it had to be removed immediately from the scene because of very busy tram traffic. The cops on the scene were more amused than inquisitive. Gotta love Dutch.
Well the July 4th came and went, and though we did not do much celebrating over here, I'll always give remembrance to the day that continues to recognize those individuals that work hard to serve our country of the U.S. Europe is still continuing to be good to us, so as of now I have no major complaints. A little less bread to eat and a little more variety would be nice; but hey, "when in rome do as the romans do".
Monday, July 4, 2011
Next we headed toward the Red Light District. The first stop on this portion of the tour was at the Old Church; which is very ironic. The Old Church is 700 years old and 100 years older than the New Church. The Old Church was in the business of saving souls which resulted in it becoming very wealthy. Jo told us that churches often turn into different things such as hostels or clubs even. I thought that was crazy initially but then I figured it was just another culture difference. Nearby to the Old Church we saw Gable Stones. Gable Stones were the old way of finding where someone lived and their last name. The next site that stuck out to me was in the Red Light District. Then we came across what was the Jews Square. A lot of the houses were very cubic. This was architects attempt at bringing the cubic movement to architecture.
The last thing that made my top five list was the crest of Amsterdam. It symbolizes the three struggles that had to be overcome: Fire, Flood and Disease.
The rest of the tour was very informative and beautiful. The real adventure began after the tour when Jasmine and I were lost for about two hours. To make a long story short, on the quest for food one wrong turn can turn into 30 wrong turns. You should always keep your map on you in case of these kind of emergencies. Overall today was tiring but good at the same time. I am looking forward to the Anne Frank Museum and exploring some more.
Throughout our tour Jo told us about this church, that is actually called the "Old Church". In Dam square lies the church named the "New Church", even though it was built roughly around the 1400's the name holds on. I really took interest to some of the history within the Old Church. About 700 years ago the Old church was actually built, years ago, back when Amsterdam was first on its rise the Catholic religion held control. Many things went on within the church and all was not necessarily in the best interest of everyone. Throughout the Catholic religion, they have what she described to us called a Contest pot. The people would go into the contest pot before or after they did something wrong and confess their sins to the priest. They would brag to the priest about how the enjoyed whatever the deed was they did and in the same sentence ask for forgiveness. After asking for forgiveness most times the people would go and perform a good deed, and supposedly the action of sin was erased. They were back in good terms and everything was ok again, until the next time....
The Catholic system was eventually abused, meaning that priest would use this time as a way to take money from the people. Those would come and confess their sins and the priest would charge them a fee afterwards.
The hand on breast sculpture is one that is embedded in the sidewalk right in front of the Old Church. This sculpture marks the leading way into the Red Light District. Rubbing the sculpture is said to give you good luck and the symbolism behind this, is that it represents the ladies of the Red Light District. Sort of a way of letting you know what goes on in the area you are about to journey into. The hand on breast is a hidden sculpture and most would not realize that it is there. Myself, actually being one of those persons that had walked straight over it the day before. Years ago, there was small debate about removing the bronze sculpture, but through the test of time the hand on breast lies in it's place.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
As we are still on the topic of rituals, today we went to the Museum Rotterdam. At the top of the museum is a level solely dedicated to rituals and this is some of the knowledge I discovered and took away from it all.... Easter, a holiday that my family and I take part in yearly was acknowledged in this exhibit. History on this holiday stated, that before the 1900's it was very difficult to preserve food which brought about starvation for many people. When spring arrived the harsh period was over and eggs symbolized the beginning of new life, along with large amounts of food to come.Bringing light to why Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunting is so popular during the holiday. Also during this time the ritual of cleansing the house and yard was done, to represent the time of spring cleaning. On Sunday people would go to church in their Sunday best, and during this Christianity ceremonies would bring remembrance to the death and life of Christ.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Today's assignment was to explore outside of the norms and to find out about the rituals/traditions of any nationality of our choosing. . . Also, to compare to the U.S. . I decided to approach a male, who works here at the Hostel. . . One of the traditions that he spoke to me about was getting acquainted with others by shaking hands or rather giving each a kiss on the cheeks. . In the U.S., we don't do too much kissing on the cheeks rather giving a hand shake or two. . He also mentioned to me that during breakfast in the mornings, they either eat breads or potatoes in the a.m. which is odd to me because in the U.S., we have scrambled eggs, bacon, fried bologna, etc. . . There's always going to be a difference in certain cultures. . . We do celebrate birthdays the same by having a cake I might add. . . But another thing thats different is when we're presented a gift, we might wait to open it but for the Dutch culture, presents are unwrapped straightaway. . . But one thing that's crazy to me is they celebrate Christmas on a Saturday actually December the 6th to be exact. . Lastly, they also eat pancakes like a deep fried one but I'm guessing it's a tradition that's been around for a while or so. . .
The Dutch culture is very unique. . . This can, of course, be said of each culture BUT they physically set their selves apart from any other cultures. .
Talk about rituals. Today’s assignment was one of the best we’ve had. Our Mission-- go out and talk to a Dutch person and find out about one of their rituals.
Meet Gebbe De Vet. He works at our Hostel and I must say he’s one awesome guy. De Vet told me about one particular ritual they have in celebration of the Queen’s birthday, April 31, which by the way really isn’t her birthday, but her mother’s birthday. They celebrate by going to Amsterdam. The event normally brings about one million people from everywhere, and it’s a must for everyone to wear orange.
During the day, kids and their families have a “second hand” sale day on the street and everything sells for one Euro. In Dutch, they call it Vrij Mart. DE Vet told me you can get almost anything for a Euro, along w/ drinks and entry into the Kermis, which is carnival. When I finished talking to him I felt as if I had been right along with him celebrating the Queen’s birthday!
Sasha and Katzin from Moscow said that a very popular holiday in their country is New Years, similar to the U.S in the name, but very different. New Years for the people of Moscow is a holiday that is enjoyed for two weeks!Below are some of the traditions and things they do:
- Like us they also go buy fireworks
- At 12 midnight they write a wish on a piece of paper and light it, as the paper burns they put it into their glass of Champagne and drink it. By doing this it is supposedly said that the wish will come true.
- A very common dish that is prepared throughout this time as well is the Russian salad which is called oliv'e, which is the name of the man who fist prepared the dish.
- Depending on what type of year it is, being the year of a horse or rabbit for example the people usually eat vegetables representing the animal.
- Christmas for this country is celebrated on the 6th of January and it starts at night on the 6th and goes through the 7th. On this holiday families often prepare a duck, like we would a ham or turkey.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Then, it was time to do the laundry. Since den Blaak location does not house washer and dryer, we had to find one. Of course, the nearest one was 20 minutes biking distance all across the town. I think that there are closer ones but I just didn't have time to look for one. Plus, this Waserrettee is very inexpensive - only 7 Euro for 7 kilos. It is full service, as well (meaning that they will fold it and iron it for us).
Finally, we went to the really old part of Rotterdam that survived the German bombing. The buildings were just like what you see in Amsterdam, even more beautiful. I just wonder what the city looked like before the WWII. I think that last year I saw a poster of an old Rotterdam, so I will try to find one tomorrow.
Today was absolutely a great day. It was hot and sunny, so we took a boat trip on the “Spiro” to see lots of different sites along the river and beyond. We learned that Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, and from 1962-2004, it was known as the busiest port in the world. In the first half of the Twentieth century, the port activities moved toward the North Sea and a large canal was built to connect the river to the sea to make it easier to load and unload crates onto the ships. Over the years, the seaport expanded with it, the development of a new dock. Even though this boat ride was supposed to be more educational than anything else, I was totally relaxed with the soft sway of the boat and the wind blowing a cool breeze, I could see towering windmills on the horizon.
Monday, June 27, 2011
An Interesting class assignment today required us to go to a Rotterdam market and pick one item and compare that item to one In the states. . I selected a pack of cigarettes, though I must say I don’t smoke. First thing I noticed was the cost. Cigarettes here start off at five dollars and up. Cigarettes in the state can cost eight dollars and up, depending on the state you live and the taxes. Advertising is the other noticeable difference. You’ll see adds in some publications in the U.S. and on billboards that show people smoking and looking “cool” because they’re holding a cigarette in their hand. At least that’s what the advertisers want you to think. Here in Rotterdam, no cigarette ads area allowed on billboards, magazines or newspapers. It’s only approved if it’s in a tobacco shop. There’s also a message on the label here in the Netherlands that’s not as scary or threatening as the warnings you find on U.S. packages. Labels in the U.S. have different messages: Can cause cancer, lung disease, death or hurt an unborn child. Now cigarette makers in the U.S. will also have to carry graphic pictures of the health effects of smoking. Variety and brand names also seem to be limited. You’ll find a greater selection in the state. In Rotterdam, sixteen years can legally smoke, but in the U.S. you have to be at least 18 or older and you have to show an I.D. Smokers here don’t seem to be treated like outcast like in the states. You’ll even find people smoking inside buildings and that’s absolutely prohibited in the states.