's Hertogenbosch en Breda
I went on some adventures last weekend!
Something that is so crazy to me is that so many of the buildings and architecture here is older than the whole United States. The concept of just how long the bricks have been standing in these exact places will never fail to baffle me.
's Hertogenbosch is exactly that type of city. As the capital of Brabant, it holds a lot of history. That can be immediately recognized as you walk through the wall surrounding the city. I don't think I've ever been to a city, not including the Vatican, with a legitimate WALL around it.
As soon as we got inside I realized that this was the Netherlands that you see in movies. The houses were pastel and in the heart of the center was a church that made me question if I was in Italy. Sint Jans kathedraal is definitely one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen. Even though I am not a religious person, it is impossible not to appreciate the beauty and be simply astounded by this structure.
Naturally, we had to find a way to climb to the top. I mean, who do you think I am? Thankfully, it was monumentendag throughout the Netherlands, meaning all monuments were free to the public for the weekend. After climbing what seemed like 1,000 steep narrow steps, we arrived at a gorgeous view of Den Bosch.
The thing that immediately struck me was how structured and perfectly organized everything looked from above. Every house was exactly in its place. When I pointed this out, Luts told me it would be chaos if it was any other way. There's just too many people living in such a confined place!
Walking through the rest of the city, there was a tiny candy store, a market in the square, and the most beautiful town hall I have ever seen in my life. We also bought a cheese infused with caramel and, though I was doubtful at first, it was the BEST cheese I have ever eaten.
It already felt like a pretty accomplished weekend but the next day I met all of the other exchange students in the south of the Netherlands; Brabant and Zeeland. That was so exciting because up until now, I only knew of the 4 other Americans in the country. There are people from Chile, Argentine, Italy, and even Thailand. It's crazy that I had only known these people for a couple of hours and we already shared a crazy strong bond.
We all met up in Breda, another city far older than the U.S., to have a cup of tea. Breda was granted city status in 1242, over 200 years before Christopher Columbus! That's INSANE and it's nowhere near the oldest city in the Netherlands. We also visited the church and guess what we did, climb it! Different city, different views! There was the same sense of organization and picturesque orange roofs under our feet at the top. I honestly don't think I'm ever going to get used to the sheer beauty of this country.
It was incredibly refreshing to talk to people going through the same things as me and it only makes me more excited for orientation camp next weekend when we get to meet all of the exchange students in the entire country!