Amsterdam, Netherlands, Granada, Spain

An Unusual Thanksgiving

As the semester wraps up, two weekends ago we were taken on the last of our program sponsored trips to Granada, a city in southern Spain. We were able to see a clear view of the Sierra Nevada mountains as our bus drove into town five hours later. You could faintly see patches of snow at the very top and  I was told that the ski resorts opened up the following week. Granada has easily been my favorite city that I’ve seen in Spain thus far and I’ve previously visited Segovia, Salamanca, Barcelona and of course Madrid where I live. We visited the Alhambra Palace which contained the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen before. I could’t help but think that my Mom would’ve absolutely loved it, so I took an overwhelming amount of pictures of all the trees and flowers. The flowers seemed to never end and we finally made it to the Alhambra Palace after hours of walking through the lush gardens. The palace designs reminded me so much of the buildings in Morocco since it was built in Arabic form. Every detail was so intricate and detailed, it was absolutely breathtaking. I loved everything about Granada from the mountains to the giant tapas!

This past weekend Madison and I spent our Thanksgiving in Amsterdam. By far the most unique Thanksgiving of my life spent flying and eating a subpar meal around midnight when we finally arrived. It was pretty tough being away from home for the first time on a major holiday, but at least I got to spend it with my best friend in yet another very cool city. The following day, once all of the t-giving posts had subsided and we had made it through the jealousy of seeing everyone’s food snapchats, we visited the Anne Frank House. It is the original house built on top of a warehouse that her family and others spent in hiding during the Holocaust. Most of the house had been preserved and it held mostly scripts from her original writings and not very much original furniture from that time, but it was still extremely interesting nonetheless. Later that afternoon we walked to the A’Dam Lookout point where we had to Ferry just to get to the opposite side of the biggest dam in the world. It seemed like a huge waste to have multiple ferry’s transporting bikers, walkers and even a few drivers from side to side all day everyday, but it was a rather efficient process. To get to the top of the lookout, you ride in an elevator that takes 22 seconds to transport you up to the top. We were told to look up at the ceiling during the ride because they had these intense lights and music similar to an EDM concert (I also received quite a few snapchats asking where the hell I was and I may have confused a few people when I said it was just an elevator.) Once we were at the top, we got in line to swing on the highest swing in Europe. I am not someone who is particularly afraid of heights, but this was a little unnerving. When I posted a picture of us in the swing to my family photo album, my grandma commented “No thanks” so in case she’s reading this, I’m sorry if I made you or anyone else a bit nervous! The view on that swing was entirely worth it and despite the windchill, 10/10 recommend to a friend.

The next day we went on the Heineken Experience which was a big tour of the original brewery. It was by far the coolest brewery tour I have been on because it featured free games, photo booths and finished off with a canal boat tour. The boat tour was absolutely amazing and our tour guides were funny and knowledgeable giving us facts about the houses bordering the canals, the giant houseboats and the sites nearby. They served Heineken’s on the boat as well so that was a major plus. I loved Amsterdam because everyone spoke English and their native language is Dutch, which is such a beautiful language, I thoroughly enjoyed all the accents. I enjoyed the fact that we could walk everywhere and it was surprisingly easy to get around. The city center resembled something out of a movie set, with all of its hanging lights and lit up buildings. Walking through town and buying way too many souvenirs was how we spent the remainder of our trip. I also very much enjoyed the fact that there were cats in a bunch of the stores and restaurants.  Makes me miss my cat, Fatty, that much more!! Amsterdam is definitely something you need to see for yourself. This weekend will be my last trip to Dublin, Ireland, where I’ll go on the Guiness Tour as well as take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher. Looking forward to this trip and my last weekend in Madrid, and very much so looking forward to heading back home to the states. See you all soon enough!!