When I was on exchange, I emailed my parents regularly. Looking back, I realised that I had essentially documented my daily life down in email, which turned out to be useful because 3 years on, I am starting to forget what exchange life was like. Grateful to have something to look back on and reminisce. I have reproduced my side of the email conversation below in its entirety, except that names have been removed for privacy. Apologies for any spelling/ grammar mistakes.
Just got a prepaid Sim yesterday but when we went to the counter at the student service center at 4.49pm, we realised that it closed at 4.30! >:-( so we going again this morning at 9 (opening time).
Haven’t used any knife yet. So far we just made pasta using the rice cooker to cook the sauce and adding chicken minced meat inside. We actually wanted pork but didn’t know how to read dutch and didn’t want to accidentally buy beef. For a country that generally speaks good English, everywhere and everything is written in dutch. And not all speak English. We wanted to order at a cafe but the one who initially took our order was an older woman who didn’t understand or speak English.
Have you seen my photos on Facebook?
Hmm haven’t bought any raspberries yet, but I will try soon!
We just cooked french toast and scrambled eggs for brunch (brunch because it is a saturday and we woke up at almost 10am :/ ). But the french toast is not so nice leh. I remember you added sugar in the egg mixture right? W didn’t because she intended to add syrup after the toast was fried. It is ok but not as nice as adding sugar. How do you do it?
Also, I have just set up a bank account and reserved a bicycle. The bank account needs about 5 working days before they will mail the card to me and I have to go to a bank to activate it. So can only transfer money probably about 1-2 weeks from now. Hopefully the 2000 euros will last me till then.
Oh when I checked into the hostel on the 1st day they wanted me to pay rent for the month of september in advance. Costs 554.75 euros but if I wanted to pay in cash, I had to add extra 15 euros. Reason being that they felt it was insecure for the hostel to carry so much cash so they wanted to penalise ppl who paid in cash. But if you paid by card, it will be the reflected cost. W paid by card (her sg bank card as we haven’t set up the dutch bank account) so at face value I also thought that the card would be a cheaper option, so I asked if W could pay for me first and then I pay her in cash. On hingsight, after proper calculations, we found out that it wouldn’t make much of a difference after paying the bank charges which is also about 15 euros. So I paid W the difference lor. Haiyah, this is daylight robbery! Never heard of such a thing where it is more expensive to pay in cash than pay by card.
At first we thought that there wasn’t a need for bicycles and just walk. But the school and the city centre is a 30 min walk away which is quite sian if you have to go there often. So we reserved bikes from this place called Jules & You where they sell 2nd-hand bikes at a flat price of 65 euros. We won’t get the bikes until about a week or two later as they said they needed to repair it??
The rest of the NTU ppl don’t seem very friendly though, and they are already in a sort of clique. One group has already been travelling around Europe before the term started. There is a smaller group that seemed to have been formed out of convenience (they don’t really know each other before) but one of the girls there seems to be very unfriendly. And the NUS and SMU batch is smaller than NTU’s so they seem to be also in a group of their own.
Anyway, one of the NTU ppl created a whatsapp group and invited as many Singaporeans he knew into that group, and includes those from NUS and SMU. Yesterday W asked in the group what plans they have for saturday (today). So the creator said that a bunch of them intend to head for the gym to explore it. We aren’t interested in exercising but thought it was still good to join them so that we can get to know each other. So W replied asking if they were exercising or not because we don’t have appropriate attire but don’t mind going to the gym to recce the place. But no one replied. I’m quite disappointed in the Singaporeans who are here. While they are generally cordial, it seems that they don’t have much intention to include us in their plans. But we need to find some travelling partners leh. I’m not sure if we could look to the NUS/SMU ppl since it seems that they are in a group of their own too.
Now slacking in the room while waiting for the clothes to wash. Oh it is totally FREE to do the laundry – washing and drying included. So almost everyday we are washing something. Haha.
Yesterday (Saturday) when W and I were walking out to throw the trash, we met some of the NTU ppl in the lobby. They had just finished exercising in the gym and were waiting for 2 girls to bathe first before they headed out to the city for lunch and to walk around. So we joined them lah. Anyway, 4 of us didn’t have bikes yet while the others had. Then the guys who had bikes said that they will ferry us. Sounds a bit dangerous but anyway I sat on the metal rack on one of the guy’s bike. A bit unsteady and scary at first but he soon gained momentum and we rode to the city centre. It’s quite fun but your buttocks can become sore because it is not exactly comfortable sitting on the metal rack, haha.
When we reached the city, we had lunch and then walked around the area. They liked to shop and kept going into clothes and shoe stores but in the end nobody bought anything. Later, we went to the only Asian supermarket in town and we bought some stuff for dinner that day.
Perhaps the NTU ppl aren’t so bad after all, lah!
Today (2 Sep 2013 – Monday) is the first day of school. Because I happen to share the same auditing class with a fellow year 4 accountancy & biz guy, we arranged to meet in the lobby at 7.50am (the lesson starts at 8.30) to walk to school together. But in the end he was late by 10 min because he overslept (why am I not surprised?? haha). Anyway we still managed to arrive in time for lesson.
The class seems ok, but the teaching format in Maastricht is such that there is a heavy emphasis on class participation. So the class directs the lesson and the tutor stones in one corner. The tutor’s presence is only to ensure that the discussion is on track. You have to read the textbook and do the tutorial beforehand for discussion in the class. Because of a minimum attendance requirement for most modules, you can’t skip many classes. Looks like I can’t slack off this semester! 🙁
After lesson (which ended early since it was the first lesson), I went to the library with the other NTU person to photocopy the textbook. I was thick-skinned enough to ask to borrow the textbook from the tutor just after class ended (hey, she did offer to lend to students after all!). As I had to return the textbook by 11am (when her next class starts – incidentally that was W’s class!), we chiong-ed to the library to photocopy. The guy did the hard work of flipping the pages while I just stood by to press the green button to scan, haha. But because of the limited time, we could only photocopy about half of the book, which is sufficient for the 1st few weeks. Will have to wait for a while until the edition that we are using finally comes out in the library, before we can photocopy the rest. Photocopying is so-so in Maastricht. It costs about 0.05 euros per page, flat fee. Not exactly expensive but not cheap too. I also photocopied another textbook from 2 other NTU girls who had photocopied the text already.
W met me in the library after lesson and we went to the supermarket, bought some stuff and went back to the hostel. There was a opening lecture for another module that we are both taking, at 6.15pm and it lasts for half-an-hour only. We attended the lecture but it was such a waste of time. I wasted 1.5 hours of my life (30 min walking to school, 30min sitting in lecture, and 30 min walking back!). The lecturer did not give any new information that was not mentioned in the course manual which can be freely downloaded. Haiyah!
Now in the midst of doing my readings, I am typing this email to you. Sighs quite sian to study haha. And I also don’t like to bathe here. The showerhead is fixed to the wall which means that you can’t really wash the bottom there. Also, the water temperature alternates between ultra hot to cold while bathing. After I switch off the tap to dry myself, I feel so cold too. It is just late summer now. Can’t imagine bathing in winter! Brrrrr!
The supermarket doesn’t sell the sunsilk brand of shampoo and conditioner leh. I already bought shampoo (palm olive brand) but don’t know what conditioner to buy. My current supply would probably last me for 2 more weeks at most.
Oh and W likes to do video chat with her sister and nephew in the room. I can hear their conversation. Sometimes I feel it’s a bit noisy but anyway I just put on earphones to try to drown out their talking. :/
We also have quite a bit of differences in our lifestyles too. For example, she doesn’t have a habit of eating fruits at night so every time I make a suggestion to buy fruits in the supermarket, she is reluctant. Perhaps next time I will just buy my own and pay for it myself instead of splitting the bill. Also, whenever she takes utensils and dishes out from the cupboard, she must rinse it with water first, while I just use it as it is (since it was already cleaned the last time we used it). She was like ‘huh how come you never wash?’ and I said ‘how come you wash! Isn’t it already clean?’. Haha.
But she really brought a lot of food stuff from SIngapore. She also brought sesame oil so now we have a lot of sesame oil! She also brought shallot oil! But it is a yummy seasoning 😀
Anyway I will be getting back to my readings lah. Sian!
Haha ok. Yah. Also she doesn’t like to eat white rice and is only willing to eat flavoured rice like chicken rice or fried rice. Last night we cooked spinach and chicken drumstick (using the teriyaki sauce that she brought but doesn’t taste anything like teriyaki). I cooked white rice (for myself) but when I scooped out I thought it was a bit much for me (but not enough to keep for a second meal) so I asked her if I can give her just one spoon. She was quite adamant that she didn’t want to eat white rice, not even one spoon so that made me annoyed. Later I told her that perhaps we should just stick to western dishes if she dislikes eating white rice so much, since western dishes do not have any rice in it (unless you count risotto) and it is quite difficult to cook white rice for just one person.
That’s nice of Penny! Wah, June and Iceland is already so cold. Hmm. But W said that Iceland is cheaper if you want to view the aurora which is best viewed in autumn and winter. Still, it isn’t cheap to fly and stay in Iceland. Anyway see how first! We might not want to go in the end.
Oh and I finally bought a conditioner. I chose the Loreal brand which costs me 4 euros for a medium sized bottle. However, if you choose the store brand which is called ‘etos’ (named after the store), it is 1 euro for around the same volume. Other known brands like ‘dove’, ‘head and shoulders’ etc etc are at least 3 euros and above, sometimes going up to 5/6 euros. Since this etos brand is so cheap, I find it kind of dubious so I decided to go for a known brand lah. Don’t want to go and spoil my hair using lousy conditioner, haha.
Now slacking in room while waiting for the clothes to wash before we head over to the market place at the city centre. Every wednesday and friday, they have a farmers’ market there so fruits and veg are on cheap sale! And did I mention how I like it that it is totally free to do laundry in the hostel? The dryers are also quite good – at least the clothes come out dry. So every other day we are washing something. But since we are paying 475 euros per month for the hostel, I think it is only our right to have free laundry!
Oh, luckily I spoke to S last time about her stay in Maastricht. That time she was telling me how her room was missing a wok and she simply went to the front desk to ask for another one, for free. The coating of our frying pan was coming off so we dare not use anymore. W wanted to buy a new one but I told her that we should try asking the front desk for a free new one. So yesterday we really went to ask and the guy at the counter brought us to a store room where they had lots of stock! So we got a brand new frying pan. Next time I think we shall try asking them for a deeper frying pan so that we can fry noodles, haha. The current one is too shallow.
W also asked the guy for a knife because the one in our room was blunt. But she wanted a one with a wider blade because the knife he showed us at first only had a 2 cm width. Then he gave us this really dangerous looking knife. It had a wide blade but with a slight jagged edge on the sharp side. It wasn’t what we really wanted but I guess that was all he had. So after that we went to the supermarket and saw the knife we wanted selling at 3.99 euros. Don’t know if that is considered cheap or expensive, but we bought it anyway.
Oh have I told you that my lessons are every Monday and Thursday, 8.30-10.30 and 4-6? The 4-6 lesson will only begin next week so this week is kind of slack. I asked around among the other NTU ppl and it seems that their timetable isn’t as nice as ours. Most only have 1-2 days off while we have 3. Guess I should feel lucky huh? 😉
She’s even weirder than you think. If we cook veg and meat, she will only eat the veg and meat without eating rice. I asked her whether her mother ever forced her to eat rice. She said last time her mother tried but failed. Well, if her own mother can’t even make her eat rice, what more can I say? :/
The other ppl from NTU are ok but haven’t interacted with them much to form an accurate opinion. There are two 3rd year girls from acc&biz who are also roommates. At first I thought one of the girls is quite unfriendly, but after a while she turned out to be ok lah. They are the ones taking the same module as me so I photocopied (and also helped them to photocopy) the textbook from them.
Already signed up for a bank account last Friday but as things move slower here, they need 5-10 working days in order to mail me my bank card and then I still need to go to a bank to activate it and create my pin. Also, I reserved a bike. They actually have the bike onsite but they said they needed up to 2 weeks to ‘repair’ it. So efficient huh.
Haha did I tell you that we tried to make yakun breakfast here? But we boiled the eggs for too long and it became almost hard-boiled eggs.
Today is quite cold, about 10-12 deg celcius in the morning. Cycling was quite difficult, especially someone like me who seldom cycles and when I do, it’s in peaceful east coast park! Here, we have to watch out for traffic and all. Having a dedicated cycling lane plus a give-way culture to cyclists make it easier, but still, stressful to cycle! Also, while Maastricht is a pretty flat terrain, there are still gentle slopes here and there. While I was on foot, I didn’t have any difficulty with them but on the bicycle, I can really FEEL the effect of going uphill! So tiring! Just realised how unfit I am. And I still thought I was getting fitter because of all the long walks to and from the school and city centre. Sigghhhh… I had to stop several times to rest, if not I will ‘peng san’. Haha. I must learn how to relax on the bicycle. My muscles get all tensed up and even after going back to the hostel after morning class, my arms still feel so weak. Even now I have some difficulty typing out this message. 😛
We made the fried rice together. At first W was chopping onions but she like anyhow chop leh. The onion bits are so big and by your standards it is a fail! Haha. Then when she started chopping the next onion, I asked if it can be finer or not. Then she asked me to cut instead, which I did! I tried to make it finer. Perhaps still not as fine as yours, but definitely smaller than W’s. Hehe. Later I told her that that was my first time cutting onions and she was surprised. The fried rice was still a bit soggy even though I tried to reduce the water ratio. I cooked 3 cups of white rice to water level 3. Maybe must reduce it more?
The fried rice turned out to be quite tasty, I feel! At first W wanted to add salt to season, but I thought soy sauce better? After all I rmb that you usually use soy sauce. So anyway I pointed this out and she agreed to use soy sauce. Also, do you usually cook with sesame oil?
Yeah the amsterdam tour is actually organised by this organisation that plans trips for students here. We went there by a chartered bus and back. It takes about 2h30min to travel by bus, which isn’t any slower than taking the inter-city train leh! The bus departed from Amsterdam at 12.30am. We travelled as one big group of Singaporeans. Actually they had tour guides to each group but in the end we broke off from the guide and travelled around ourselves because the guide wasn’t very effective and we wanted to do our own thing. Amsterdam is quite a smelly place. Every now and then you will get a whiff of weed (as many ppl smoke marijuana there and it’s perfectly legal here, unlike in most other countries) plus there are outdoor toilets by the rivers. We went to visit the Heineken museum where they showed you how they make beer and afterwards there was beer to drink, plus a lot of other interactive activities like pouring your own beer from the tap. Apparently there’s a certain technique to it than just switching on the tap, haha.
We walked past the red light district twice – once in the day where some prostitutes were already open for business but most are still kooning. The streets were quite empty. We walked past again at night and the whole scene is totally different. Lots of (horny) men around checking out the girls standing behind their red-lit french doors (hence the term red-light district). The dress code for the prostitutes are like really skimpy bikinis and I bet all have silicon implants! There’s no way that their breasts can be so large naturally. I didn’t take any picture of the red light district because it is forbidden. Rumours have it that if you snap a picture, the bouncers will come out and harass you to delete it or else you get thrown into the river!
I wished that the pick-up time wasn’t so late, because by 10.30pm we had nothing to do.
Ok. But W has very picky eating habits. Like we were at the supermarket today and thought of frying beehoon for dinner. I suggested adding carrots but she die die don’t want to add in because she claims that she dislikes carrots. She said that if I want to add carrots, I can fry my own portion and this remark made me annoyed. Quite pissed off with her over this but I kept quiet after that because I don’t want to start a quarrel.
Yes I got a sore bottom from cycling! And it’s even worse today after one night. Haha can’t sit down without wincing in pain. Hmm right now I give up cycling everytime I encounter the uphill slopes. I get off my bike and walk. Got to try to persevere one day, if not I can never conquer the slopes. Haha.
I collected my residence permit today and also got my PIN for the dutch debit card. But I’m applying for internet banking which will take a few days later.
Actually, sometimes I cook too! Like yesterday we cooked fried beehoon (Wai wai brand – the asian supermarket has it here!) and I was doing most of the stirring and mixing. 😀 When i go back I can cook for you!
I don’t know whether I’m stronger now cos I have only been cycling for 1 day and today I didn’t cycle at all. But I think I am more confident with cycling on the roads. Tmr I think i will be cycling with W to school since she just got her bike today.
Climate is getting cold but when you walk longer or cycle harder you start to perspire and then you feel hot. Then you strip the jacket off but a while later, you feel cold again. That type of weather lor. :/ And I don’t like it when it rains. Cos it’s the type of drizzle where you don’t know whether it is worth the effort to take out umbrella. Plus cannot cycle with umbrella. Got to look for a relatively durable and cheap poncho.
Bought salmon today at the market! I don’t think it is cheap here but W is craving for it. Oh well, see how she cooks it since I don’t know how to cook salmon, yet. ;P
Yeah I received the Iceland itinerary! Dunno if we still want to go or not in late October because it depends on when the exams for the first period are over.
When we made mashed potatoes last week, I used the peeler that W brought over from Singapore. The blade is the sideways kind. I did nick my fingers several times but surprisingly no blood, just a bit of skin came off. W said when she was in Singapore and using that very same peeler, she cut the top flesh of her finger clean off and there was a lot of blood. So scary, haha.
I think I’m getting used to cycling on the roads. On the very first day, I was quite scared of all the other vehicles like cars, motorcycles and even other faster cyclists who want to overtake slowpoke me. But now I’m more confident of siam-ing the other road users and as long as you don’t cycle recklessly, the motor vehicles won’t hit you, cos they are probably more worried about hitting cyclists. In the netherlands, the laws are very biased towards cyclists so in the event of an accident between cyclist and motorist, the motorist is always presumed guilty unless it can be proven that the cyclist was really cycling dangerously. I will still watch out and cycle carefully though!
Life is ok lah. Just got my period which makes things a little more troublesome. It is ok getting along with W as a person. She’s a good friend but then we obviously have different lifestyles due to different upbringing and opinions lah. Anyway i try to accommodate her and I suppose she also tries to accommodate me as well. And, I discovered that she is not the only one in the Singaporean group who doesn’t like to eat rice. Yesterday we went on a day trip to a small town at the German border and I discovered that two friends also don’t like eating white rice. Then I told W and they high-fived each other. Haha.
On 19 Sep the singaporeans here celebrated mid-autumn festival with a potluck dinner. We made strawberry unbaked cheese cake and everybody loved it haha. Apparently W likes to make cakes in Singapore so she has a few recipes and some knowledge on cake-making. I’m surprised! Haha.
And on 20 sep a neighbour on our floor invited all of us to his room for drinks at night. So we made tiramisu and they also liked it! I didn’t drink anything though. The organisers are a bunch of Hungarians and about 12 ppl in total turned up? One from south africa, one from usa, one from hong kong, one from australia and the person’s roommate is a turk. I told the turk that I went to turkey before and he said he lives in Ankara. Oh there is one girl from Singapore but I didn’t realise she was on our floor and I don’t know her very well.. only glimpsed her briefly at the mid-autumn gathering the night before. Anyway I find her very pretentious cos she put on a fake ‘ang-moh’ accent… W thought so too haha.
Below is a list of where I’ve been and where I am planning to go!
Aachen, Germany (14 Sep)
We crossed the border to explore this small town in Germany. There isn’t much there so mostly we took group photos and not photos of the place haha. We spent a Saturday there. There is a Lindt chocolate factory shop selling chocolates at discounted prices. I bought a few for personal consumption but haven’t eaten any yet. And all the more I can’t eat since I am recovering from a sore throat. :/
Kinderdijk (pronounced ‘kinder-deck’ in Dutch) (22 Sep)
We went with a large bunch of ppl to the place in Holland where there is a lot of windmills. Apparently, windmills don’t really exist everywhere in the Netherlands despite them being an icon of holland. A brief history of the place: kinderdijk was a water-logged place. so to make the land arable, they had to pump the water out. Since Holland has a very flat terrain, the winds here are quite strong and gusty. So the old ppl made use of wind power to pump the water out. Hence the concentration of windmills there. Now they are made redundant cos of electricity but they are still there because it is pretty. However the blades don’t turn anymore as they locked them in place.
The original plan was to go with a small bunch of ppl – me, W, and a few other NTU and SMU ppl that we are closer to. But somehow word spread and suddenly a lot of other Singaporeans want to join in. Which in theory is not a bad idea as we can purchase group online tickets at a better discount – it costs 6.40 euros for a return trip that lasts 3 hours each. But the bigger the group, the harder it is to organise and manage.
Anyway the journey there is complicated. As the place is quite rural, there are quite a lot of transfers we must made. First, we had to go to Rotterdam which is a modern city near the place (the train there needed 3 transfers). Then we walked half an hour to the ferry boarding place. On the river, we stopped at some random pier to change to another ferry which dropped us at Kinderdijk. In my mind I was imagining that when the ferry drops us at the pier we will see rows and rows of windmills spinning in the wind. Haha. But of course not. Immediately surrounding the pier was a housing estate. Then we had to walk 15 minutes to get to the entrance of the windmill fields. Troublesome or not?
Oh and at Rotterdam, a few random SMU ppl wanted to gate crash our outing but they told us a day beforehand. But they are quite irritating and very stand-offish. There are 3 issues:
- When we said we were walking to the pier from the train station, they said that they will take the tram instead since they bought the pass. So we separated there. (at this point I thought it was weird. If they wanted to join us, why can’t they just walk with us? and the ironic thing is that we reached the pier BEFORE they arrived.) They rejoined us at the ferry.
- Then when we alighted, there was a sign at the pier saying ‘kinderdijk’. Being tourists, we stopped to take pictures. But one of our SMU friends overheard the random SMU ppl (the gatecrashers) commenting “This type of thing also want to take meh”. Which we felt was quite uncalled for.
- As we had to walk quite a distance to the fields, we heard one of those ppl commenting “I hope they know their way” and we also thought that the remark was quite rude.
Anyway we couldn’t tahan them anymore so our smu friend told them that we are going our own way from there. Haha.
Ok that’s about it. Here is a list of my travel plans for the next few weeks.
1. Munich, Germany from 26 Sep (night departure from maastricht) to 30 Sep (reaching maastricht in morning): going to attend Oktoberfest (an annual party to celebrate beer). Not really going there to drink but more for the atmosphere. I’m going to travel with W only cos we booked our tickets and accommodation ourselves quite a while back. The other Singaporeans are going the same week but with a school organisation. So we plan to meet them in munich for oktoberfest. But as we are going to be there one day earlier than the other Singaporeans, we plan to visit the Sleeping Beauty Castle which is a few hours away from Munich. The disney castle is based on that. We are going there by train.
2. Poland (4 to 9 Oct): going with W and this other ntu girl. Will have to skip one lesson each from my two modules for this! Flying to Krakow from Brussels in Belgium.
3. Iceland (23 Oct to 28 Oct): This iceland trip will only be W and me, cos others’ exam schedules don’t match ours and those that did match thought the air tickets were expensive. We got ours at 250 euros each but by the time the others tried to see if they could book, the price rose to 300+ and they weren’t so keen after that.
4. Amsterdam (sometime in early november): although we already went to Amsterdam with the school organisation, we have plans to go back there again by ourselves and in a smaller group since we didn’t fully explore the place. This time we plan to go to the Anne Frank house and also try the space cake (which is erm… weed aka marijuana which is legal here in the netherlands). Haha. Just a small mouthful only!
5. Brussels, Bruge and Liege, Belgium (the week after Amsterdam): Yeah going there for the scenery and chocolates. Will buy back some as souvenirs! Probably going there with yuren and 3 other smu ppl.
6. London (probably 16 to 21 nov): going to have to miss lessons for this too. Planning to visit Stonehenge or even Edinburgh too if we have time! Tickets are dirt cheap too. If we book now, we can get it at 30 euros!
7. Prague, Czech Republic (22 to 26 nov): Heard it’s a nice city so planning to visit there. The school organisation has a trip there which is quite cheap but it’s a bus ride all the way, I think about 16 hours?? So i’m not whether to go with the school org or go ourselves. See which one is cheaper first.
After exams in December, we plan to travel to Italy (rome, florence and venice), Switzerland, Paris, Austria and Hungary
No more rainy weather already? 🙁 There is a brief spell of warmer weather here even though autumn has officially started with the passing of the september equinox. A week before, it was quite cold and rainy!
Btw, I’m going to try to send a postcard to our house for free. Heard that if you write STS (student to student) on the stamp corner instead of pasting a stamp in Europe, the postman will still deliver your letter as it is a tradition that students who study in Europe are very poor so they can’t afford money for stamps. Of course they have no way of verifying whether you are a student or not, but W tried and her postcard got delivered to Singapore! So I’m going to try with a free postcard first! Expect to receive it in 1-2 weeks time, if I rmb to post my postcard. Wanted to do so yesterday on the way to/back from school but kept forgetting. 🙁
Getting along well with her lah. She has different habits and all but we try to accommodate each other.
Belgium is ok lah but not very interesting. We went to this place called Brugge which is supposedly dubbed ‘venice of the north’ because it has canals, but actually amsterdam has a lot more canals than Brugge! Also, the architecture of Brugge is very similar to Maastricht because they are both historical towns. Perhaps that’s why we didn’t find Brugge as interesting since Maastricht is already something like that.
Of course when in Belgium… buy belgium chocolates! We went to Brussels (capital of belgium) and took the metro to one of the chocoate factory warehouse where they sell chocolates at a discount. The brand is called “Neuhaus” which is supposed to be one of the premium belgium chocolate brands. Bought one box of chocolates (1kg) to bring home! The original packaging is just a cardboard box stuffed with the same type of chocolates. 1 costs 20 euros and 3 costs 40 euros. We each bought a box with different flavours inside, so total 6 boxes for 80 euros and then we divided the cost and split the chocolates among ourselves so that there is a variety inside. Sounds complicated but you will understand when you see the chocolates when I’m back in sg!
I also bought a few other chocolates with nicer packaging to give away as souvenirs to friends/relatives.
Oh yeah I’m going to London again starting from this saturday! want me to buy more fortnum & mason / whittard’s tea back??? 😀 which one is nicer? haven’t had an opportunity to try the whittard’s tea yet before I flew off. 🙁