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What’s up everybody? It’s Dzhem again and with one more blog post and unfortunately my final blog :/ however there is no time to cry because I have a lot to tell you!

Finally, summer is here!

Euro 2016

This year was one of those years when we had Euros to watch and this time there were a lot of surprising elements to say the least!

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source: uefa.com

To begin with, unfortunately the Netherlands couldn’t make it through the qualifications which I was not expecting and I bet some Dutch people will agree. However, it doesn’t mean the Dutch team isn’t good, sometimes there is also a bit of luck. If you recall the last world cup, the Dutch team defeated Brazil 3 – 0 and made it to the third place!

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source: rantsports.com

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source: skysports.com

It is sad we couldn’t see orange ties this year in the Euro 2016 but there will be more chances in the future and hopefully we will celebrate victories in the streets of the Netherlands!

Nonetheless we watched the games with my friends and supported different teams. If you are an international student studying abroad, that means you will most likely have friends from different countries and it is so much fun to watch the games together and to support sometimes same and sometimes different teams 🙂

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This game was France against Germany and there were so many people watching it and of course we were there! What’s funny is that you can see two TVs in the photo because those belong to two venues next to each other and they show it to their own customers, they could have shared one TV instead 😀

While we were watching the game, some Dutch people were enjoying their HotTug which is a Dutch invention! Basically when you put a hot tub inside water and you can enjoy the warm water while being in water and you can heat it by burning wood! What a crazy and original idea, I have not tried it yet but why not!

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Irish fans are the best fans of Euro 2016!

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source: espsnfc.com

Another thing I want to talk about this year’s Euros is the Irish fans!

Most of the times, news about fans of football cover the violence and damage caused by hooligans. Every time it makes me wonder why people do it. Isn’t the purpose of sports to bring people together and to have fun? Well, this year Irish fans have reminded us the real reason why we are watching sports!

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source: telegraph.co.uk

Irish fans soon became the stars of the tournament by showing their good deeds one after another! It was a wakeup call for me to see fans behaving like this and it made me realize that it is possible for people to behave well and to make everything nicer, even in football!

When Ireland lost 3 -0 against Belgium, Irish fans celebrated together with the Belgians after the whistle ended the game! This shows that there is more to it than just winning a game. Sometimes it is more important to have fun and celebrate than to leave with negative feelings. You can watch the clip showing the fans below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aD3OWMyFKo

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source: mirror.co.uk

Another thing that happened more than once is when Irish fans serenade people around the city. Once they serenaded a French girl in the crowd and sang songs!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LutOL4YcoSQ

Another time was when they serenaded a French resident who was standing in his balcony:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ipg4oxNw2b4

Or when they sang songs together with the French police!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83X_UXPvB_w

And when their team have lost against France 2-1, it meant that Ireland was out of Euro 2016. All of the fans stayed in the stadium to show their respects to their own Irish team for their bravery and performance in Euro 2016. Now that is every team’s dream to have fans like the Irish fans!

And before we move on to next part, I want to mention the winner of Euro 2016. The final was between France and Portugal; both teams made it to the final and competed to win! The French tried to win the title in their home and that would be amazing for them however at the end Portugal was the team to lift the cup! Still the French team made it to the finals and that is a great achievement and they should be proud to do this in their own country!

SUMMER IS HERE!!!

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Summer is finally here and it is time to enjoy the nice weather, absorb the hot sunshine and dance and party! If you are staying in Rotterdam, make sure to keep an eye on the festivals and events around the city as there will be a lot of them and they are really nice.

I have recently been to the Metropolis Festival with my friends in Rotterdam and it was quiet enjoyable! There were different stages with different kinds of music you could enjoy. The weather was really nice and the entrance was free!

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I wish everyone a nice holiday! Make sure to relax, have fun and to recharge for the next year 😉 It was a lot of fun to write this blog and I hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂

This is my last blog!

OMG!

Guys, you are probably just as crushed as I am to think about how this is the last time I get to tell you about my adventures in Rotterdam! But before I get emotional, let me tell you about my very last month here. I realize that in my last blog I mentioned something about it being time to get serious and to start focusing on my thesis, like for real! That, however, did not stop me from doing many lovely things in the little spare time I did have.

For example, the Boothstock Festival at Kralingse Bos! I am definitely not into house music but this festival was such a great time! The location, especially, was amazing and the perfect start to my summer. My friends and I had such a great time that we are already planning our next Rotterdam reunion around the date of Boothstock 2017! And let’s be honest, the Boothstock sign is the perfect backdrop for selfies, don’t the three of us look great? 😉

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Knowing my time here was almost over I also spent as much time as possible just soaking up the atmosphere and going back to my favorite spots all over Rotterdam, seeing as I fell in love with so many different places all over town, this was no easy task. However, as always, I persevered! Here are some of my final impressions (and just to let you know, I did this after handing in my thesis, because I am actually a very hard working student!)

My favorite park (Het Park), right around the corner from my apartment in Rotterdam (obviously the lighting was supposed to be this way, the sun illuminating my face only, which took me HOURS to get right…nah I’m just kidding, the lighting just happened to be this perfect! God I love this place). This is where I spent so many wonderful hours lounging, reading, exercising, mostly lounging, though, if I am being completely honest!

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Delfshaven, an old port with really lovely art galleries and cute little restaurants (if you are ever looking for a romantic spot to bring a date, this is THE place, trust me! I recommend going at sunset)

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And finally, one of the most striking views of (parts of) the skyline of Rotterdam (this is my personal opinion so don’t judge ok?)

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I sincerely hope that my blog gave all of you guys some inspiration as to what to do during your studies here in the Netherlands, it has been a real pleasure blogging about my many adventures and sharing my experiences. So I guess at this point there is really nothing left to say except……..it has been a blast! THANK YOU ERASMUS UNIVERSITY! And of course, THANK YOU ROTTERDAM! See you again, soon!

Ti amo, Milano!

4Jul2016

A few weeks ago, I visited a friend of mine in Milan for a couple of days and loved it! I’ve always been a fan of Italy but this holiday I really had a blast. Every day we discovered something new and exciting to do, plus the weather was great, so even just hanging out in a park, eating gelato was good enough for me. Anyways, here are some of the highlights from my visit.

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Most people go to Milan to shop but I was determined to experience the city beyond that and aimed at spending money on experiences that I would remember for a long time. Besides from walking around the beautiful city, drinking coffee in the mornings and wine in the evenings, eating pizza or pasta, I also visited a few places that impressed me a lot!

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Fondazione Prada

Fondazione Prada is the museum of modern art in Milan and is situated a little bit farther from the city center, of course it’s easily reachable by metro. The whole place consisted of a few different buildings, each unique in its own way, hosting various exhibitions. My favorite was definitely the Golden tower, especially because of the contrast with the glass building next to it. The exhibitions that I saw were really interesting and inspiring but unfortunately some of the spaces were closed during my visit. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the place and recommend visiting it when in Milan!

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Bar Luce

Just across from the Golden tower in Fondazione Prada, you can find the lovely bar Luce, where I had coffee and a treat after my visit in the museum. The impressive thing about this place is that it’s designed by Wes Anderson himself, the director of The Grand Budapest Hotel. So yeah, the bar has a very cute, distinctive atmosphere, the staff is super friendly and the food is delicious!

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Pirelli HangarBicocca

We spent more than 4 hours at this place and it was definitely worth it! Pirelli HangarBicocca is a huge closed space with exhibitions of various modern artists. I sincerely enjoyed the installations which varied from crazy lights to huge concrete block pieces. There were even two slowly moving swing rides inside!

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Monza Circuit

But the most memorable experience for me was the visit to Monza and the race that we watched. I’ve always been a big motorsport fan and my dream was to experience this awesome circuit, I finally did it! We spend a Sunday afternoon there, watching a Blancpain GT race and it was amazing! I had a great time and would love it if next time I’m there for Formula 1!

Barcelona

22Jun2016

This was my favorite trip so far! But, of course, there are more to come! Flying into the airport over the Mediterranean was so beautiful, and from the plane window we could see the beach and even Sagrada Familia! Even though it was February, the 60 degree weather felt incredible after rainy and cold Rotterdam, this was just the break we needed.

After struggling at the airport with getting a train ticket into the city (my years of studying Spanish in school apparently did not pay off) we finally made it into the city. Coming up the stairs from underground, we immediately saw Casa Batllo, one of the many architectural sites by Gaudi in Barcelona.

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Casa Batllo

It was only a short walk away to our hotel. After dropping our stuff off in the room, Oliver and I walked down one of Barcelona’s famous walking streets, Las Ramblas. It was packed with people and pop up stores selling all kinds of treats and touristy key chains. There were also a handful of people selling selfie sticks! We bought one, no shame at all. We also walked through La Placa Catalunya, a huge public square, which was covered with pigeons. I literally don’t think I have ever seen so many pigeons in one place, it was frightening to walk through. I hadn’t realized how afraid of birds I was. But we survived the swarm of pigeons and took a detour through the gothic quarter. I loved the architecture, the old buildings, and navigating the little alley ways (with our new selfie stick of course).

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Las Ramblas

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La Placa Catalunya

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Gothic Quarter

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Basílica de la Mare de Déu de la Mercè

Our second day in Barcelona started with a long walk to Barceloneta beach in the morning, with a stop at Starbucks on the way. Sadly, Barcelona in February isn’t quite warm enough for a warm beach day, however, I did get to dip my toes in the water. The pier was full of runners and dog walkers in the morning, I’ll have to be back in the summer!

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Barcelona Pier

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Barcelona Pier

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Barceloneta Beach

From the beach, we made the one hour walk to Montjuic. After hiking up quite a ways, we had the most beautiful view of the city! Hiking up further, we made it to Castell de Montjuic, an old military fort.

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View from Park Montjuic

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Castell de Montjuic

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Castell de Montjuic

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Castell de Montjuic

After making it all the way up, we walked down the other side of the hill towards the Olympic Park, another 45 minute walk or so. After walking in nearly an entire circle around the massive stadium we finally found the doors where visitors could walk in, so cool! The park itself was gigantic and pompous; and, the fountains were the perfect spot to hang out in the sun.

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Olympic Stadium

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Olympic Stadium – Outside View

It was all downhill from the park (thank goodness) and we walked another 20 minutes or so back into the city. We were going hang out in the area and eat dinner and see that Magic Fountains at night, however, it looked like the fountains were temporarily shut down. So, starving and exhausted from all the walking, my boyfriend and I walked back to the hotel stopping by a small bakery on the way to get a chocolate croissant. For dinner, we decided that we should try some traditional Spanish tapas (spoiler alert: delicious but so SMALL!). We literally needed a second dinner afterwards.

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Near the Magic Fountains

The third day in Barcelona started with coffee (of course) and the Picasso Museum. It was mostly full of Picasso’s early works, which was really cool to see since it wasn’t the ‘typical’ Picasso paintings he is associated with.

Our next stop was the Sagrada Familia! Although it is not finished yet (I’ll be back in 2026!) it was so extravagant and fascinating to see. Every square inch of the church is full of tiny details, all having special meanings and symbolism. After walking around the church, we finally got to go inside and it was probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The colorful stained glass windows, the intricately designed pillars, the stonework– so gorgeous! The building is so big we had such a hard time getting the whole thing in a photo!

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La Sagrada Familia

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Inside La Sagrada Familia

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Inside La Sagrada Familia

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Inside La Sagrada Familia

One of the biggest things I miss about the US is mexican food. So, after finding wifi I googled “places like Chipotle in Barcelona” and, to my surprise, I actually got a hit: Teciwey. It was this super small shop in a side street (thank goodness for google maps) and it was so tasty! We actually ended up going again and getting burritos to go before we flew out of Barcelona the next day.

Since our flight the next day was at night, my boyfriend and I still had all day to explore. Park Guell was the last site on our list. Getting there we walked through El Portal de l’Angel, a street full of high end shops. We also passed La Pedrera (another Gaudi house) on the way. This was the warmest day during our weekend in Barcelona and walking uphill with our backpacks to Park Guell was not easy! But, the park was a great place to relax and hang out and enjoy more Gaudi architecture (which reminds me a lot of Toon Town to be quite honest) before leaving the city.

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La Pedrera – Guadi House

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Park Guell

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Park Guell

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Park Guell

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View of Park Guell

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Park Guell

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Park Guell

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View from Park Guell

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View from Park Guell

 

Loved Barcelona! I’ll definitely have to come back in the summer months to really enjoy the beach and night life!

 

Summer is here!

15Jun2016

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It might be hard to believe but the weather forecast above is real and sometimes Rotterdam gets a bit of sunshine too! What you need to do is to get most out of it!

With the end of the year approaching and the sunny days appearing in our forecast, there are lots of things you can do and I will tell you a few of your options!

Go and climb the stairs at Rotterdam Centraal!

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source: dezeen.com

At the end of May, they have built giant stairs climbing all the way to the rooftop of the building next to Rotterdam Centraal! You should go there and take a look at the fascinating panoramic view of Rotterdam from the top. They will be staying there until the 18th so you better hurry up if you don’t want to miss it!

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Keep an eye on Food truck Festivals!

Food truck festivals are a big thing in Rotterdam. Whenever the summer starts approaching you can find a food truck festival somewhere in the city. It is really nice to sit under the sun while enjoying a selection of diverse food and drinks and to finish it with an ice cream! Of course there is always live music accompanying to the enjoyable atmosphere! Grab your friends and go to a food truck festival, you won’t be disappointed!

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Go to the beach in the Hague!

If you are more of a beach lover, you can also go to the beach in the Hague to satisfy your needs! With the nice weather it will be one of the unbeatable options to enjoy the sun on a beach! There are lots of spots to get good food and drinks right on the beach as well!

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If you are feeling adventurous there is also a bungee jumping option right at the beach 😉

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Architecture Day in Rotterdam is coming up!

18th of June marks the start of the architecture days in Rotterdam! During that time you are invited to visit different architectural buildings around the city that make the Rotterdam the beautiful city it is! I personally love architecture and these days are absolutely amazing for me and for you too! It gives you an opportunity to get inside some of the buildings which you wouldn’t be able to in other days to enjoy the fully immersive taste of architecture in Rotterdam! Both with its modern and traditional architecture Rotterdam offers a lot to explore! For more information visit: http://dagvandearchitectuur-rotterdam.nl/

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Enjoy the first weeks of summer with sunny days and see you in another blog post 😉

So ok, I know what you might be thinking! She only went to The Hague now? After she’s been living in Rotterdam for almost a year? You know what, you’re right and I am ashamed of myself. But, to my defense, I was waiting for the right moment! And that moment was about a month ago, when my friends and I completely spontaneously decided to go watch the sunset on the beach in The Hague. Plan? Execution!

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Judging by this amazing picture (I apologize for the self-praise!), spontaneity does pay off sometimes. Unfortunately, the water was still too cold to take a dip but I am definitely saving that for next time!

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So my next stop in the beautiful month of May was Bruges, which turned out to be one of my favorite trips so far. My friends and I literally spent hours walking around sight-seeing (and taking boat tours, which was an amazing experience) and we could not find a SINGLE corner in this city that wasn’t absolutely stunning. Granted, we had amazing weather to go with it, but still. I have never, ever, in my oh so long life seen such an all-round beautiful city. But I will let the pictures do the talking for once!

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And yes, there had to be waffles! Obviously!

So my final adventure for the month, because let’s face it we can’t turn our backs on our thesis forever, was Utrecht! To be honest, I didn’t really know much about Utrecht and so my expectations did not do this beautiful city justice.  It’s like Amsterdam only smaller and oh so cute! The weather was really inconsistent so we divided our time wandering around outside and visiting museums, both of which are highly recommendable. One of the museum we visited was super interactive and had great exhibitions on the city’s history, so no worries you will have plenty to do on a rainy day. Of course, for those of you that have read my other blogs and know me a little better by now, I seldom go anywhere without indulging in the local cuisine, and this time was no exception. One of the reasons I chose this particular weekend in May to visit Utrecht was to attend the Food Truck Festival taking place there that weekend. For some unfathomable reason, I have a great sense of where to find and eat great food and it did not let me down this time either because my Falafel burger was a real highlight. For those of you unfortunate enough to miss the Food Truck Festival in Utrecht (it’s happening in several cities all over the Netherlands, not to worry ;)) do not fret, you will always be able to have an amazing waffle in one of the city’s cozy cafés.

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After this month filled with amazing trips I find myself hoping I had more time in the Netherlands to discover more beautiful cities and try out more delicious food. Luckily, though, I still have one more month to go, so I will definitely try to make it count! Stay tuned!

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I’ve been to Amsterdam many times but I can never get tired of this city. There’s always something new to do, especially when the weather is nice. Last month, my sister visited me for a few days and we ended up discovering a few great places that deserve to be checked out when in town.

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Van Stapele Koekmakerij

Located in my favorite district of Amsterdam, de 9 Straatjes, Van Stapele Koekmakerij is a tiny bakery that specializes in chocolate chip cookies only. We found out about the place through social media and decided to see what the fuzz was all about. Online people were praising the bakery and were implying that these were the best cookies in town and they sure were! There were always people in the tiny shop and a few girls were making cookies nonstop. Although these were a bit pricey, I recommend trying them out because they are definitely worth it!

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Moco Museum

Just recently opened the Modern contemporary museum, is conveniently located in Museumplein, next to Van Gogh museum. We decided to check out the exhibitions of Bansky and Andy Warhol, and were definitely not left disappointed. Although, the place is not that big, I was happy to find out that some of my favorite pieces were exhibited. The only downside was that it was pretty crowded but maybe that was because the exhibition had just gone live. If you wanna skip the line, I recommend buying your tickets online.

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Coffee & Coconuts

Although this café/bar is a little bit outside of the city center it definitely became one of my favorite places in Amsterdam. It’s on three floors and really spacious, with minimalist, modern interior and great coffee. Plus, I heard that their beer collection from various local breweries is also worth checking out. The atmosphere is very pleasant and the staff was super friendly. Next time you’re in Amsterdam, give it a try!

Kinderdijk

25May2016

Ever since I got to Rotterdam I have been trying to find a good day to go explore Kinderdijk. That day finally came two weeks ago, although the weather was a little cold! From the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, we took the waterbus straight to Kinderdijk. It was a really cool experience to see the city from the harbor on the boat! We even passed by the Noah’s Arc boat!

After the 30 minute boat ride, we arrived at our stop: Kinderdijk! After checking out the information center where we learned how the windmills worked, we started walking through the area to get a closer look at the windmills. My friends are big on walking, however, there are small canal boats you can ride in as well to see the windmills. There are also some small museums in some the windmills so you can learn about the people who lived there!

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Waiting for the Waterbus at the Erasmus Bridge

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Windmill at Kinderdijk

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Windmill at Kinderdijk

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Windmills at Kinderdijk

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Windmills at Kinderdijk

It was a cold and windy day, but a wonderful experience at Kinderdijk.

Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

Follow this blog to learn more about your fellow international students at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Read about their experiences, tips and stories and don't hesitate to comment if you have any questions or remarks.

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