Amanda Goes to Sweden: Exploring Amsterdam

02/21/2014

Well, I’m back! It’s been a busy past couple weeks. Two weeks ago some MechSE alumni came to visit for a couple days! It was cool to have them around, and it forced me to be a bit more of a tourist. But it was great to have some friends come visit.

Andrew Widlacki (BSME expected May 2014) is also studying abroad in Sweden with Amanda. They're pictured here in Amsterdam.
Andrew Widlacki (BSME expected May 2014) is also studying abroad in Sweden with Amanda. They're pictured here in Amsterdam.
Also, I just got back from a long weekend in Amsterdam and it made me appreciate just what an awesome city Stockholm really is and how easy it is to travel in Europe. First of all, it was absolutely crazy to be able to just casually hop on a plane Friday night and go to a different country for a weekend, then be back in class on Tuesday morning. No reason for the trip really, just because we could. Crazy. We don’t have many exciting things like this two hours away from the U of I. :)

Amsterdam was really cool. Definitely a lot more hectic than Stockholm, but it was a really pretty city. I was absolutely terrified of being a pedestrian though. It’s really awesome how accommodating the city is when it comes to bike lanes and whatnot, but it was absolutely terrifying having buses, trams, cars, motorcycles, motor scooters, AND bikes driving around while I was lost and confused.

Amanda and Andrew enjoyed a visit from several familiar faces, including Erik Anderson (BSME 2013), Henry Firth (BSEM 2013), Traci Grosse (BSME 2013), and Val Laguna (BSME 2013).
Amanda and Andrew enjoyed a visit from several familiar faces, including Erik Anderson (BSME 2013), Henry Firth (BSEM 2013), Traci Grosse (BSME 2013), and Val Laguna (BSME 2013).
At one point, a biker was crossing the street and a car continued to drive, so the biker started punching the hood of the car. It was quite the spectacle. But all the craziness definitely made me appreciate the calmness of Stockholm city life. We did the whole museum thing—Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, etc.—but it was also really cool to just wander around and get lost. We saw a lot of the city that way!

Another way Sweden has changed me? Recycling. Even though I’ve only been here for a month or so, I was really surprised how confused I was when we were in Amsterdam and there weren’t tons of places to recycle. I’ve gotten so used to recycling everything here. It’s not like “feeding the thing” in Chambana—you actually have to separate things, and recycling seems like a much bigger deal here, which I like. Also, you can get one or two kroner if you turn in cans or plastic bottles at the grocery store (so sweet!).

Anyway, I’ve got another trip coming up this weekend to Lappland in northern Sweden. There will be dogsledding and snowshoeing in an attempt to catch the Northern Lights, so I’ve got some catching up on work to do…

This week I realized: it’s apparently possible for spring to come early in Sweden. It hasn’t snowed in over a week! 

Read more from Amanda >>

Amanda and Andrew in Amsterdam.
Amanda and Andrew in Amsterdam.