Posted 13 Mar 2012
Hello! It's February; the semester is well under-way with lectures to attend, practicals to do and the assignments have been set! But I am going to take some time off and write about my trip to The Netherlands last month!
I visited Den Haag to help my friend Ayana settle into her new University. I met Ayana when I went to Japan in 2009. She showed me around the area where she lives, Nara, and we have stayed in touch ever since. She decided to spend a year of her English degree studying abroad in Europe, but was very nervous about the trip.
I went for 5 days. On the first two days we got all her stuff settled into her new student halls and explored the city; buying all the essentials she couldn't fit in her suitcase
On the third day we had lunch in Den Haag, trying some local food we had never heard of and then took a trip to Scheveningen by tram... to the beach! ... In January! ...!
Luckily I knew the way as it was on the same tram as my bus (I had never taken a tram before) however, we got a bit more then we bargained for on our trip to the beach. Although it was chilly in Den Haag we had no idea it would be THAT windy a few miles away. The gales wiped up all the sand and slapped it across your face! It was quite painful and I felt like we were stuck in some cold winter sand storm as we tried to cover our faces and walk at the same time.
I tried to make a video for you but the wind was so loud that you couldn't hear what I was saying. But to describe it to you; the beach was clean and the sand was golden, it stretched down as far as you could see. The wind had arranged the sand as dunes across the beach and even on the streets. Near to the tram stops were many hotels and a promenade of shops and restaurants that stretched down the seafront. In the centre of the promenade a pier reached out far into the sea. By the time we got to it the light was fading and the lights of the pier looked as if they were floating on the dark and angry sea.
The pier was enclosed and when walking down the pier there were many points to step out onto a balcony. It was lined with shops and at the far end there was a large restaurant and a Casino! It was incredibly lavish.
A little while after night fall we hurried back to the tram to go and warm up in my hotel, which luckily was not far away. I am glad I didn't go paddling that day! I will save that for the summer!
On the 4th day Ayana had her first day at uni so I slept in very, very, very late (I was on holiday!) and went for late-lunch time pancakes in Den Haag; the largest I have ever had. When Ayana came to meet me we went to the Parliament, only a short walk away. It was stunning from all angles, especially when the sun began to set. It even contained its own church inside! (see my video tour http://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergraduate/ask-us/videos/view-video/57/my-video-blog-of-the-parliament-in-den-haag-the-hague/ )
From the exit at the rear we navigated our way down the charming back streets to ‘China town' were we ate a hearty last meal together. Afterwards we went into my favourite bar near her Halls in Laan and toasted a successful trip. I was sad to say goodbye to her and Den Haag! But she promises to come to London in her next break.
The next day I got up early as I had not packed yet and check out was soon! I headed to Den Haag HS station and caught the next train to Amsterdam. I spent an intriguing afternoon there, taking a bus tour which I had all to myself! Usually with one ticket you can get off any stop and rejoin again later after taking a look at something, but I had my suitcase so decided to save that for next time. The tour was very interesting and I enjoyed seeing the picturesque canals and learning a bit of history.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening walking around the streets looking at the shops and cafes and having something to eat before my flight. I met lots of people whilst I was just walking or sitting. Tourists and locals are both very happy to have a chat; perfect for me as I was not in the mood for an energetic day but enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere whilst not really doing anything, hehe.
At 7pm I began to make my way to Schipol, I was in no rush to get to my 9:30 flight as I knew the way and didn't want to be waiting around alone in the airport on this very cold evening. I still managed to be very early and get a window seat on the flight home; in the dark the lights of the city look brilliant.
Thanks for reading! Charlie.
Course: Pharmacy MPharm
Level: Third year
Other information: I came to Kingston University after studying at college. I have dyslexia. I am currently a member of the Pharmacy society, the Dance club and the Cheerleading club. I do a placement with Boots pharmacy as part of my course. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... I did not reach my expected grades for A-level and Kingston offered me my current course of study instead. I looked around at what other unis were offering through clearing an...