28/03/2013 – 2/4/2013 – On Thursday after the firm visit to Kortijk Steve and I went to Paris to meet up with his aunt and parents for Easter weekend. Since we had already been to Paris we showed them around the city but we also got to see a few new things as well. We saw the Sacre Cure, Moulin Rouge (something that we did not see the first time), and walked along the Champs Eyleses to the Arc de Triomphe. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower(we were glad that we did it that night because on Saturday the area was evacuated due to a bomb threat).
Saturday we saw the Notre Dame, and then went to have fondue at the same place we ate at the first time. We walked across the love lock bridge and then went to the Lafayette shopping center which was a very opulent building. On Monday we travelled back to Antwerp and showed Steve’s aunt and parents around the city. We went to the top of the Maas Museum to see the panoramic view of the city. Tuesday, Steve’s family and I went to Cologne, Germany for the day. We went into the Cologne Cathedral, got pretzels, went to the Birkenstock store, and ate at Gaffel em Dom for dinner (a Germany Brew House).
3/4/2013 – Wednesday Steve and I said goodbye to his family. We had a work day at school and got prepared to leave for Amsterdam in the morning.
4/4/2013 – We travelled to Amsterdam in the morning and got there around noon. We locked up our luggage in the train station since we could not check into the hotel until later in the afternoon. We ate lunch at an Italian restaurant for lunch then we started to explore the city. Paul led us to the Puizenboot (Cat Boat) where cats are brought if they are stray, or cannot be taken care of by their owners anymore. Some of the cats were up for adoption and some of them have a permanent residency in the boat.
After walking around the city a little more and looking in a few souvenir shops we headed back to the train station to pick up our luggage and check into the hotel. For dinner we went to an Argentinian steak house where we had a friendly server, and after met up with a sister of Tyler’s friends’.
There were a lot of interactive exhibits one of which you can make your own flip book that can be purchased in the gift shop. A camera records any movement for 5 seconds then takes each frame to make a page in the book. Heather, Karissa and I did the. After spending a couple hours in the film museum we took a ferry to the NDSM-Werf which is an abandoned port containing unused boats. There have been many new buildings constructed in this area in efforts to revitalize the port. Paul toured us around the area and we saw an old port building that was turned into offices. He also took us by student housing that is constructed out of shipping containers. We took the ferry back to central station and walked to the Nemo science museum, designed by Renzo Piano. We spent about an hour and a half exploring the exhibits and roof terrace of the building. Following the science museum we walked to the new library and Jakob entertained us by playing a song on the piano.
6/4/2013 – Saturday we met Paul in Wester Market and he told us a bit about the traditional architecture in Amsterdam. We hopped on the tram to Mercator Plein and went to a new community center that contains a pool, fitness center, banquet hall, and a KFC. The building was unique because it had green walls. The community did not want the green space to be eliminated so the design solution was to make living walls and roofs. Hopping aboard the tram again our next destination was to get a
tour of Het Schip (the ship). Het Schip is an apartment building, meeting hall and post office. The guided tour informed us about the interesting shape of the building. We toured the post office and a dwelling unit.After the tour we had lunch in the cafe and then took the tram to Steiger Island, the newer part of Amsterdam. The housing community was beautiful and unique. First we walked around a modern house boat community. All of the houses were afloat and were connected by a network of docks. We crossed the street and walked along new row houses, all of which were different in design. After we took the tram back to the city center and walked through the red light district. Paul had made reservations for dinner at Restaurant Du Lac for all of us so we ended the evening with a nice group dinner.
7/4/2013 – On Sunday we went to the Anne Frank house. The tour was very intriguing because we walked from the main house through the bookcase to the area that was used for hiding. Since we were unable to take pictures inside of the house on the tour I purchased a post card of Anne Frank’s diary. The part of the tour that impacted me the most was Otto Frank’s (Anne Frank’s father) interview about his daughter and the publishing of her diary. Since it was a sunny day, for part of the afternoon we rented bikes and made a large loop around the city. We were searching for the I Amsterdam sign so while looking at a map a friendly local asked where we were going, and he took us all the way to the sign! After we saw the sign we biked through Vondelpark enjoying the nice day. We took the train home in the evening back to Antwerp.
8/4/2013 – Monday which also was my birthday I spent the morning working on the project. In the afternoon Karissa Steve and I got lunch and after I walked around the city with Steve. For dinner we ate at the Bistro which was very delicious. I enjoyed a nice filet of steak and creme brûlée for dessert.