• Crowds, Culture, and Cuisine: the Ancient and Modern City

Arrival in the Eternal City

It has taken us a three hour flight delay, an eleven hour layover in Amsterdam, and a forty minute bus ride to arrive in the Eternal City.  It feels like we have lifetime of stories to tell befor even getting our course started.  

Our flight from Chicago to Amsterdam was delayed several hours due to extreme cold, causing minor plane malfunctions.  The delay resulted in us missining our connection from Amsterdam to Rome, leaving the next connection to Romeeleven hours away.  Our plans for Rome had been scrapped, rather than arriving at noon as scheduled we were left no other option than to arrive at midnight.  In the time given to the class during the layover we chose to enjopipit rather than sulk in our misfortune.  Our class aide and former Luther professor Uwe Rudolf offered to take any students willing to visit downtown Amsterdam for a guided walking tour.  All students broke from the stress and tedium of travel and opted to visit downtown Amsterdam.  We bought our ticket just outside the terminal just before one o'clock yesterday afternoon.  Here is Senior Communications Studies Major Kelsey Engbrecht's account of our unanticipated two-and-a-half hour tour in our first European city, Amsterdam.

 More than 24 hours into our travels we still had not arrived in Rome. Although the hang ups were frustrating, the resulting spare time we had to explore Amsterdam was unexpected and enjoyable.

The Amsterdam airport, Schiphol,was extremely comfortable. There were delicious fresh food options, naturally designed seating areas, a big difference from the metal and pleather chairs we got accomodated to in O'Hare.

After a brief lunchat the airport and exchanging our dollars for euros, we took a tram to the heart of Amsterdam to burn through our eleven hour layover. This would mark my first time to set foot in a city outside the United States.

He open area near the airport was scattered with tall office buildings of American companies. Downtown Amsterdam, however, consists of original, centuries-old buildings and structures. All buildings preserve their ancient flair while still being used for modern use. For example, many buildings have a small hook protruding from a wooden arm near the roof. It was revealed to us that this was used to hoist food and goods for storage in the attic before modern refrigeration and storage practices became prevalent. This stark contrast between antiquity and modernity in Amsterdam made it increasingly interesting as we walked cobblestone roads lined with shops selling various meats, cheeses, wines, clothing, jewelry, and coffee. 

After an hour of walking th e narrow streets and bridges and serendipitously finding the Anne Frank house, the class stopped at a cafe. Hewere were able to relax, consume local pastries, and listen to Uwe reminisce about his time spent teaching German and accounting at Luther and his international excursions. Afterwards we departed and walked through downtown and took plent of pictures of the churches, cathedrals, and various other architectural structures before heading back to the airport and catching our flight to Rome. Everything smoothly and we arrived at our hotel at midnight on the seventh.

Althouggh our travels are carefully planned and coordinated, I know that've will have more unexpected divergences. My only hope is that they are just as wonderful as my time spent with my classmates exploring Amsterdam!