Monday, May 26, 2014

Day 7/8: Made it to the Netherlands

This won't be a long post as I am exhausted after another long day.  Today we arrived in the Netherlands after a 14 hour overnight train ride where we could barely sleep and an alarm on the train went off at 5am to make it even more difficult to sleep.  After the 14hr train ride we took another train to Leiden which is a smaller town in the Netherlands that is absolutely beautiful.  We were in Dresden for most of the day yesterday and it was interesting to see the difference a couple of miles and a border makes as Dresden seemed more Westernized.  Much of this is due to the firebombing of Dresden in 1945 by the US as most of the buildings and most of the town has been rebuilt.  The Netherlands is another country that seems more Westernized than the Czech Republic as it is very clean and has much more green space than Prague.  It has also been interesting to see that the closer we go to England and the West the more fluent people speak English.  In the Czech Republic very few spoke English and those weren't very fluent.  However, in the Netherlands people seem to speak excellent English and at times better than I even do!  It is hard to explain what that means, but the people are very proper with their English pronunciation and word usage.  It is very nice knowing that people here can speak English and speak an understandable English.  The Czech Republic was a great time and a great experience, so I don't want people to think that I didn't enjoy it but it is interesting to see how much we take fluent English speakers for granted in the US and how people in the group felt safer and more comfortable when they realized that people here could speak English and speak it well. I probably won't have a post tomorrow as we are at an observatory in Utrecht and won't be back to the room until midnight. I thought I would sign off of this post with some pictures of Dresden, Germany (where we were yesterday) and of Leiden.

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