The Journey & ArrivalPosted: February 3, 2012
Set off with father from Glasgow at 1pm on Monday, embarking on the 7 hour drive to Folkestone, stopping at a Harvester for dinner. (Half a chicken with fries salad and piri-piri sauce = nom) After I spent a rather uncomfortable night on a travel Inn sofa we then caught an early train through the channel tunnel to Calais. It seems like David Cameron, for all his immigration worries, doesn’t give a rat’s ass about who leaves the country. As I am writing this my passport has not been taken out the bottom of my bag since I packed in on Sunday. Were I a refugee, trains would definitely be my chosen method of jumping borders.
Having arrived in France the sat-nav calculated it to be 2.5 hours to get to Maastricht. Now I have nothing against the Belgians, but a traffic jam all the way from Bruges to Brussels just made the bland scenery even more depressingly dull – Don’t plan on visiting there anytime soon! The only thing that put us out our misery is that Belgian Radio plays some unbelievable tunes. If I were an executive for an international media conglomerate, Club FM would unquestionably be available in the UK.
Finally we arrived at 3pm and once I got the keys; started to move into my new abode. Haven’t paid any rent yet as the Visa card machine is broken – Yass! The flat has a kitchen and bathroom to be shared between 5 people but there are currently only 2 other residents, one whom may be a Portuguese ghost as I have only felt her eerie draft in the corridor and not actually met her yet. Maastricht is Arctic freezing, covered in ice with the only way to get around quickly being by bike. A bit of an initial culture shock but by no means in a bad way.
The first night I went out with Pavel (the flatmate I have met) and his friend Kelsey, who is over visiting from Boulder, Colorado. The bar where international students tend to hang out is funnily enough named The Highlander and, although the bartender was incapable of pouring a proper pint or even knowing what glass to use, I think I could get used to the atmosphere there.
Wednesday’s hangover was cured with a massive continental breakfast in the final company of my dad before he departed for France to visit the WWI battle fields. The rest of the day was spent exploring with Adele, before she cooked spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Two days into my exchange and I have still to make a meal for myself.
The Dutch certainly know how to welcome students into their universities. The induction day was really informative; I met a lot of cool people and it ended up in everyone going with the tutor to the pub for a lunchtime beer.
Then came the pub crawl last night – Guinness and shots all round! Typing this with a stinking hangover at the moment but it was most definitely worth it, again met a lot of really friendly people.
Off to buy a cheap phone now so I can switch to a Dutch number and finally stop getting charged out the arse for international calling!