Summary of the Netherlands Trip: From Beginning to End


**April 28, 2010** The trip started at 4:30 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010. Of course that meant as a girl I would need to get up extra early to shower and check my packing for a 10th time. After saying my goodbyes to the girls at the house (they got up just to see us all off) Cara, Sam, Abi, and I headed to the charter bus where we loaded our bags and met our bus driver Jack. Everyone had boarded and attendance was taken when Jack started his comedy hour, Jack was an older many who was funny and had jokes but it might have been a little to early for these jokes. After a two hour drive to St. Louis Airport we went through security and found our terminal. We boarded the plane at 10:15 am to head to Houston, Texas. Our flight was short to Houston and we were back on the ground around 12:15 pm. The group had about three hours to kill in the airport so some of us went to the Fox Sports Sky box restaurant. We boarded the plane at 3:40 pm and were on our way to the Netherlands... it would only be nine hours and twenty-five minutes until we arrived. **April 29, 2010** We arrived at the airport at 8:30 am and went to get our luggage. CHECK 1: All luggage was accounted for!!!! YAY! Our tour guide, John, met us outside the gate and we began our trip. The group loaded a bus to head to the Amstel Botel (a boat that is a hotel) where we would stay for three nights. John took us across the canal on a ferry to have lunch at a Pizzeria. We ordered a four cheese pizza and it was delicious. The group was tired by now and we all traveled back to the Botel to rest before dinner. The restaurant for dinner was within 100 steps from the Botel so it didn't take long to walk there for dinner. It was our first taste of real Dutch food, we had beef with sauce, the famous frites and mayo, and chocolate cake for dessert. The group was then free for the evening and most of us mingled at the Botel when we got back. **April 30, 2010** The day started off with breakfast on the boat... for breakfast there was an interesting assortment of sandwich meats along with toast, cereal, bacon (that looks like it's boiled), and boiled eggs. We then started our tour by taking the ferry back across the canal then took a trolley to the Rembrandt House. the group had about an hour to tour the house which included paintings, etchings, and some floor plan decor. Afterwards Cara, Abi, Anna, and I went to the Pancake House for lunch. The pancakes were delicious but quite sweet. We then walked around the town for while until it was time to meet the group. Our group was slightly split up when we arrived at the Rijks Museum but even this was okay because our tour guide Marco was a fantastic art historian. We got to see the most famous painting in Dutch history then "Night Watch" by Rembrandt. John then gave us some free time and since it was Queens Day we got to see the city jam packed with people. A group of us went to Central Station to shop then met for dinner at the floating Chinese restaurant. After dinner and wonderful ice cream with fruit we all stopped by some souvenir shops and got to see some more of the chaos from Queens day. With all the crowd and commotion today we were really tired from walking everywhere today (all public transportation was shut down). **May 1, 2010** Today started the same as yesterday except when I awoke my body was rocking from the boat. Our first thing was to catch the shuttle bus to the Anne Frank House. We arrived at the Anne Frank House and got a short educational session on the timeline of Anne Frank's family. We went through the whole house and this was really moving because the story of her life was so dark and depressing and actually being in the place where all this happened made this experience moving. So far Anne Franks house was my favorite part of the trip. Afterwards we went to the Van Gogh Museum, the line to get in was wrapped around the block. John went to see if we could get our tickets early and when he came back he had gotten our tickets. The museum was pretty interesting to look through and very big. Afterward we went for a little shopping and I found a beautiful watercolor painting by a local artist. We went into a few cute shops then sat on a patio and watched the crowd. Later we watched a group of dancers dance for money. It was awesome! We at dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe over the canal and then I went back to the Botel for the evening. **May 2, 2010** This morning we left to go to Antwerp to view the diamond museum. We road on the coach for two hours and finally arrived at Antwerp. Cara and I went to a Food Marker place for lunch (which consisted of making your own sandwiches, pasta, etc.) We visited the Diamond Museum which ended up not being that great after I got my hopes up. The group walked afterwards to the Rubens Museum which was beautiful and very eye catching. John then took us on a tour of the local cathedral. It was very beautiful and the stain glass windows were amazing. We went to Chez Leon for dinner and the meal was pretty decent, especially the dessert, chocolate mousse. **May 3, 2010** This morning we ate at the hotel and the food wasn't that great (it was advertised as being American breakfast but it was like ravioli and hot dogs along with the usual). We then took a coach ride to Waterloo and visited the Wellington Museum. This museum is where the leader of the army (Wellington) had his headquarters for the battle. Michael was our local tour guide, he was and older man and was very knowledgeable. we then went to the Waterloo battlesite. Michael gave us a brief description of the timeline of the battle and then we got to walk the 226 steps up to the top of the mound. The mound was built by the King in memory of his son who was injured in the battle. At the top of the mound was a large lion which is the symbol fo the country. You could see everything from the top of the mound, the four farms that were used in the battle were visible from the top. We then went to the Panorma building to view the paintings from the war. The cafe at the site is where we ate lunch, pasta and salad. We had dinner at Rosa a Blache where we had roast and potatoes along with Belgium waffles for dessert. Some of the girls hung out the rest of the evening back at the hotel. **May 4, 2010** Today started off a bit slow when we went to the Royale Museum. The artwork was interesting but a lot of the works were really similar in style and subject matter and the museum was very disorganized when it came to group entry. The best part of the museum for me was the modern artwork on the 8th floor down (another thing about the museum... it was huge). Next we got a quick bite of food, I had frites (french fries) and met Andrea our walking tour guide for a tour of Brussels. She told us all about the square and the architecture of each building then we proceeded around the area. We visited the peeing statue, which is a iconic symbol there, and also went to a pretty garden with many statues of nobility. The best part of the day ended up being the tour of the two cathedrals within the city. They both were of the gothic style and massive in space... I would say breath taking. We finished our tour and had some free time to shop for the famous chocolate. Sam, Cara, and I also got to try one of Belgium's famous waffles and man was it delicious! At 7 pm we met for dinner, which consisted of Indian food. For dinner we had guests to accompany us, a C-SC Alum that lives in Belgium and two friends of Bob's that live on the border of the Netherlands. The rest of the night was free after dinner. **May 5, 2010** Today we left Brussels to travel to a towns called Antwerp and Bastogne. The reason for traveling to Antwerp was for the Diamond Museum and then to Bastogne to see the sites for the Battle of the Bulge. We ate before our tour at a small sandwich shop and we had more frites. We then met our local tour guide, Henri, and he told us about the town. The town of Bastogne is a full fledged American town because of the support from the Battle of the Bulge. This town flies American flags and loves when American groups come to visit. We got to see the tanks from the sites and the museum where all the machinery from the war was. Henri then took us to the monument that was dedicated to the American soldiers that fought in the Battle. The coach then took us to some wooded area where the Allies had fox holes and John and Henri told us stories about the use of the fox holes. We jumped back on the coach and went to another dedication, this is where they planted special trees for each of their soldiers along with each American soldier. We then went back to the coach and went to an American cemetery and German cemetery. There were over 7,000 people buried in the German cemetery. The group went to Liege next to spend the night. **May 6, 2010** We woke up at 4:30 am to board the coach for the ride to the airport. Our plane left at 9:45 and we arrived back in the states around noon and then we boarded the next plane out of Newark at 3:23 pm. We arrived in St. Louis around 5:20 pm and got our bags and headed back to school. Home Sweet Home!

Posted at 8:38 AM by Emily Johnston

The Trip to this Point


Europe is different, simply put. Far different politics, prices, and culture. They tend to fall to the left of where I find myself, which tends to be a very Libertarian stance. While in Amsterdam there was a Communist Rally, which is something I chose to avoid. The price of everything here is ridiculously expensive. The culture here is also laid back on not necessarily consumer friendly. While in restaurants the waiters sit around and do not serve, and are only at the table for the orders and the delivering of food. Other than the differences though, it has been a great trip. I have learned a lot about the history of the low countries and examined many of the fine pieces of art and architecture that they have to offer. Though I would never in my life live in a place like this, it is definitely a place I would like to visit again someday.

Posted at 5:45 PM by Lance Smith

1 Mayis 2010


So if you keep up with the blog, you already know that I was present at the socialist/communist rally on May Day in Amsterdam. Having some rather socialist ideals myself, I was incredibly interested in everything that was going on, even if I couldn't read most of it. We were typical Americans standing in the middle of a huge political demonstration that was clearly anti-capitalism. Standing there in my bright blue (most Europeans wear drab colors, and the only color at the rally was red, I stood out like a sore thumb) drinking a coca-cola light and holding a bag of souveniers, I'll admit I was mildly terrified at some points, particularly when one of the communist Dutch rappers started singing a lullaby punctuated by him miming shooting random people in the audience. We were completely safe the entire time we were watching, and in fact we were welcomed to browse the various booths, I was given a free poster from the Socialist party, but it was enough to make us sweat a bit. After two days in Amsterdam of art museums in the morning and afternoon, and the utter insanity of the Queen's Day crowds at night, we were finally in the middle of something alive and active. The government in Holland and the way the political parties handle themselves was incredible. Nothing like what we witnessed could ever happen in America, not just because of the far leftist ideologies, but because political parties in America simply don't cooperate. The Labor Party of Iran, The Socialist Party, the Groen Werkt (Green) Party, and numerous other that I didn't understand the names of all gathered around, pushing their shared ideals in an effort to gain seats in Parliament, it was kind of inspiring in a way. I walked away with a poster, a wristband, an English print Socialist paper, and several videos of some completely ill communist rap. Then, just as I began to flex my Dutch and speak a bit of the language, we left for Antwerp, then Brussels... where they speak French.

Posted at 3:32 PM by Aaron Robertson



It's May Day everyone, the only problem was that I didn't realize it until later in day. The beginning of the day involved waking up at 7 AM to make it to the Anne Frankhuis. As we leave the ferry that carries us into downtown Amsterdam I notice that all of the trash from the crowd gathered at Queens Day was completely gone. At least in the area we were at.

This isn't really part of my story of May Day but I felt it was relative to the overall feel of the city the day after Queens Day, When we came to the Anne Frankhuis so the tour guide John could gives us some background about Anne Frank he stopped by a famous statue of a little girl just outside of the museum. People start taking photo ops in the rain and we noticed a smell. The smell came from the fact that this part of the city hadn't been cleaned yet someone had defecated on the ground just five feet from the statue, one of my classmates almost stepped in it. Gave me a kick in my step which I really needed at this point in the trip. Amsterdam had been exhausting.

Well, back to the story. After we got through with the van Gogh museum we were allowed to break and tour the city one last time since today was our last day. They gave us too much time before dinner, upwards of 4 hours, so after getting lost on the tram briefly, Kaysey Rodgers, Aaron Robertson, and myself went to just tour the city when Queens Day wasn't going on, you know, just enjoy the normal tourists. As we were walking from Centraal Station to the Dam Square we noticed Middle Eastern music playing from across the street. There were a bunch of red communist flags waving in the air and a lot of booths set up for various political parties. We saw that the music was coming from a live band on a transportable stage playing Iranian Communist Music. We sit down at a place with a canopy and start to chill out and enjoy the music but we realized that we had no idea why this was happening.We go to the booths and no one spoke American but we could make out "Take one" from a nice woman representing the Green party over there. She was pointing to this magnificent wristband I am wearing right now.

We float through the crowd as a rap group comes on. Rap in in foreign languages are amazing by the way. This guy specifically sounded like Aesop Rock, but in Dutch, which was awesome. We bounce along to the music until a woman comes up to us to ask where we are from. She noticed Aaron's Delta Upsilon Hoodie that says Culver-Stockton on it. We explain that it's a school from Missouri and she thought we were from Stockton California. She had to have been about 45 years old and as it turned out was from Las Vegas and was just visiting for Queens Day. She starts talking about how much she loves the French rapper Sinick and came out to this because she really enjoys whatever the rappers name was that we were listening to. After some back and forth I asked here what all of this was. Turns out it was May 1st. Which is a huge celebration for Communists all over the world and it's called May Day. I had completely forgotten about that and felt dumb for it slipping my mind so easily. The only things we could collectively understand from the rapper were all of the slurs and hate he kept yelling about America and Capitalism. Because when you want to show how much you hate something, you better speak their language. This though made us three feel like we had a target on our chests. To counter attack this we just started dancing, all the while wondering if some anti-American communist was gonna come up and knife us. It was invigorating, scary, and awesome all at the same time.

So, as it turns out as we walked through the city taking in the 30-40 different cultures slamming into us on the streets, that the highlight of my day would be bouncing along to anti-America/Capitalism rap at a communist gathering. I honestly don't ever want to leave this place.

Posted at 11:30 AM by Kyle Darnell

Things I wished I would have known before leaving


Dear Theo,

Within my stay here in the Netherlands I wish I would have known some things. I'm not as much in a culture shock anymore, but I've gotten used to the ideas that now lay before me. I wish I could of read the tram schedule. There was a terrible language barrier. I never really needed to learn how to read a bus or a tram schedule. I eventually learned how many stops I had to take in order to know how to get to where I needed to go. I wish I could have know how to walk. I know it sounds crazy and strange, but one really needed to understand how to move around. First thing, there isn't a lot of personal space when walking. I was literally walking on the heels of everybody else as everybody else was walking on my heels. Also, bike paths. They are right next to the sidewalk. If you'd walk on the outside of the side walk too far, then you ran the risk of getting hit. If you ever hear a bike bell, it doesn't mean "get out of the way." It means "I'm hitting you going full speed on my bike!"I wish I would have known that their aren't any free refills. When first arriving in Amsterdam we stopped for lunch at a pizza place and I got a soda. I finished the soda anticipating getting a refill, but it never came. If you ask what the procedure for free refills is, they will get mad and not want to serve you your food.I wish I could have known how delicious their sodas are. Coke Light (Diet Coke) and Fanta are the soda of choice among everyone in the group. I have no idea why it tastes so good. It's fairy magic or something.I'd now like to have a brief intermission from the blog to give you a haiku about
Coca-Cola Light: To my gut I pull delicious Coke Light I drink.
Why does it taste so good?

Posted at 9:28 AM by Andrew Rutherford



Dear Theo,The trip to Amsterdam was the longest trip in my life and trying to stay up all night long to attempt to avoid jet lag is a terrible idea. Our first stop was St. Louise (2 hour drive). We took our flight to Houston, Texas (roughly 2 hours). Then we took a nine hour and some odd minute flight straight to Amsterdam. I didn't get much rest on the plane when I was in the air. By the time we got to Amsterdam I was in need of a shower and sleep. But, no. It was 8:30 am in Amsterdam and it was time to walk. We met our guide, John, and headed out. Even though we were all exhausted, finally being in the Netherlands Woke us up. We were all blown away by the beauty of everything.We then caught a bus to our Botel (boat hotel) and tried to check in. We were not allowed to put our things in our rooms because they weren't ready. Apparently it's kind of a casual thing. We then stuffed all of our things into a tiny room/closet thing and went out for our first tour of the city.We got to ride a ferry into town. We quickly learned that it was going to be our portal into Amsterdam and it would eventually become habitual to us. It was our portal into the culture shock that is Amsterdam. We took the Canal Curse. It was awesome. But because I was exhausted and on the verge of 34 hours of no sleep, I fell asleep. I went out like a baby.I woke up to someone calling my name and telling me it's time to leave and head back to the Botel.We took the ferry back and our room was ready. We relaxed for an hour and it was dinner time. We had a a salad that resembled my father's yard trimmings. Then we were served a beef dish and fries and mayo. There is now a hole in my heart that can only be filled with fries and mayo.After dinner, the smart thing to do would be to go to bed. I didn't I decided to run about the town and see what there was to the time we booked the trip, it was unannounced to the group that it would be Queen's Day. Queen's day is the day that the queen celebrates her Birthday and throws a two day party. However, the Queen was not there for the party.The streets where packed. We basically ran around that night and collected Queen's Day and Amsterdam goodies.I went to bed that night in a bubbly haze of joy. I was excited about what the Netherlands could offer me and what I could give it back in return. To the Netherlands: We are to be friends. We can learn so much from each other and still have more to give. You are my new muse.

Posted at 11:11 PM by Andrew Rutherford

Rembrandt House


The Rembrandt House in Amsterdam was magnificent. The home was a simple Protestant style 17th century town house with green shutters but inside was a large three-story home filled with the art of the Dutch master. The two art studios were inspiring, the painting studio on the second floor had a large easle used by the artist. The walls were surrounded with his paintings and shelves housed plaster busts of famous classic and renaissance sculptures. The printmaking studio had Rembrandt's original printing press made completely out of wood. Next to the press is a table where he created his copper etched plates some which were on view.

The rooms on the next floor contained Rembrandt's collection of exotic treasures that he used for inspiration in his artworks. He had items of clothing including exotic fabrics and armour which served as props for portraiture. He also had a vast collection of taxidermy animals including an alligator, armadillo and pufferfish. He also had a vast collection of art by artits of his generation that he admired including paintings by the famous landscape artist Hercules Seghers.

The living room, bedroom and kitchen were decorated with beautiful blue and white porcelain tiles and two fireplaces in each room with ornate decorations. He lived her with his wife Saskia and his son Titus. After Saskia's death he lived in the house first with Geerte Dircx and then Heindricke Stoffells both were his mistresses and helped take care of his son. Later in his career after he went bankrupt, Rembrandt had to sell his house and all his possessions because of his obsession with spending more money than he earned. At this time, Heindricke and Titus took over Rembrandt's business and served as his art dealers until his death.

I will never forget this experience! As a art historian and printmaker, Rembrandt's art has always been a great influence on my own style of creating copperplate etchings.

Posted at 2:43 PM by Robert Kennon