Travelling here went very smoothly. We took a bus from Emerson to Logan Airport, where the whole group boarded a red eye to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The flight was actually shorter than the nonstop I usually take from Boston to Portland, but I can never sleep on planes so my jetlag was still atrocious. After a two hour bus ride, we arrived at Kasteel Well right after 11am. The time difference is 6 hours ahead of Boston, 9 hours ahead of Portland...but I made it through the whole day without passing out from exhaustion. I've taken a few pictures of the area, and the shenanigans that Kristin and I got up to before our arrival. Those will be included at the end of this post.
I really don't know what to write about. The castle is truly beautiful. The foundations are from the 13th Century, and throughout the ages, it was destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed, and rebuilt again. The current structure and design dates to the 17th Century. I don't know much about the history of its past inhabitants or owners, though.
Kristin and I found out about our other roommate on Thursday, so that was a pleasant surprise. Her name is Liz. She seems nice. Not much else to say about that, but our room is nice. Kind of plain, but spacious. All of our beds are bunked, with a wardrobe closet and a desk underneath. Our view overlooks one of the side moats and the surrounding grounds. The weather is just like Portland: rainy, overcast, chilly but not freezing. The grass is luscious, but it will be prettier when spring arrives and the trees aren't naked. The landscape is really something different: flat open areas, spindly trees, all splashed in neutral tones. When the sun comes out, it'll be slightly different, I imagine.
Right now we're just going through orientation, which leaves little free time. I've briefly seen both parts of Well (new and old), but mostly I've had to stay around the castle to go to all of these meetings and information sessions. Meals at the castle are at set times with the entire group of students, which means a lot of lines. The meals are very basic. There's always a counter set up with sandwich and cereal items, a meager salad bar, and then there is a hot food line. So far, brunch today was the best meal I've had since arrival. I'm not really expecting much from the meals here.
I just got back from a drugs and alcohol information session. I'm really impressed with Emerson's respect for its students: the administrators here treat us like young adults by understanding that we can make our own choices but that perhaps we need more tools to make the right choices. So they basically just filled us in on what is actually legal in the Netherlands, unlike all the b.s. that is rumored by foreigners.
Anyway, I'd really like to take a nap before dinner, so here's an end to my scattered introduction to my stay at the castle. Here are some photos from the past two days:
This is after Kristin and I thought our luggage had been lost before we even checked in for our flight. The bus drivers put it in a supply carriage and forgot to take them out. Needless to say, we were in disbelief and then greatly relieved.
When Kristin and I helped to direct other passengers to a different line to check in, one of the Northwest Airlines employees gave the two of us certificates for a discount on our next flight. Snazzy eh?
An attempt to capture most of our room in one photo. My bunk is the farthest on the right side of the frame.
Students outside the Voorburcht.
The gates and bridge of the outer moat.
Kristin on the steps to nowhere.
More photos to follow soon.
Love you all, look forward to another post in the next few days.