Eindhoven & Den Bosch, the final CIEE day trip
Sad to say our final CIEE day trip has passed, but happy to say I had a great time. I finally got to see the southern part of the Netherlands!
We took a bus to a city called Den Bosch, or "the Duke's forest." The city was surrounded by an impressive and medieval-looking city wall. We later learned that Den Bosch is one of the last remaining cities with some of its original city walls still intact. The free time given to us upon arrival was spent with a few friends wandering the city's fish market, exploring the high-end shopping streets, and finally, passing through St. John's Cathedral, an extremely old gothic style church which appeared to be the centerpiece of the city. Imagine walking through shops and restaurants on small streets and all of a sudden a giant gothic cathedral appears around the corner. It didn't quite blend in, it was absolutely beautiful. It was lined with gorgeous stained glass windows and even better, entrance was free.
The group reconvened for the next activity, a boat tour of Den Bosch and the surrounding area. Before the tour, we learned about the historical significance of the city in the “Bastion” bunker from the 1600s. We walked to our boats along the edge of the city wall, which made a sharp drop to the river below. The guide cautioned us to stay away from the edge. The scenery was really nice. There was a big contrast between the calmness by the river and the business of the city center. We were given fleece blankets, which were appreciated given the cold and cloudy day. And then the moment came which we had all been waiting for, the "Bossche Bol" - a.k.a., a chocolate-covered pastry the size of my fist, and stuffed with whipped cream. But it was the specialty of Den Bosch and thus had to be tried. Cato passed around the box and everyone grabbed one. Some finished it, while some were more than satisfied with just a few bites. It was delicious. The joke was whether someone could eat their Bossche Bol and then the leftovers remaining in the box. I don't think there were any takers because we were expecting a dinner no less than 2 hours later.
If you've been on any other day trips, you know never to say "no" to a CIEE dinner. After the tour, we waited eagerly for our bus, which took us to a local restaurant, or rather farmhouse turned restaurant, called D’n Boerderij. It did not disappoint. We were served generous portions of soup, salad, meats, fish, and to top it off, an ice cream sundae... all the food one could have hoped for. It is just a shame that we couldn't finish it all! After dinner we hurried back to the bus to get to the next stop, a 40-minute drive further south to a city called Eindhoven. All I knew about Eindhoven beforehand was that there was a supposedly cheaper airport there to fly out of. Little did I know that Eindhoven is known as "the Dutch City of Lights." That week Eindhoven was showing off its title with its annual GLOW Festival, a festival displaying the true capabilities of light.The theme this year was "Urban Playground" and throughout the town there were artificial light projects and installations related to this theme. Our walking tour started at a "tree" which lit up to the beat of the music that was playing. It was cool, but it was only the beginning! We saw many different displays and decorations of light created by artists, designers and even architects. The city had tons of energy between the crowds, the music, and the lightshows. The artists manipulated shadows and the architecture of buildings, optical illusions and tricking our perceptions of what was real. It was cool to learn about the motivations of the artists and what they were thinking in the process. Back on the bus by 9pm, we survived the busy day and were ready to pass out on the 2-hour ride back. Den Bosch and Eindhoven were awesome, but Amsterdam, as always, remains my favorite.