Hi, it’s me again. Can’t believe it’s December and that I am leaving the Netherlands in less than 2 weeks. It feels so surreal that my exchange is coming to an end! Before studying for my Management final and saying goodbye to my friends here in Maastricht, I went to Poland with my friend Janice for our last trip together in Europe.
I had always wanted to visit Poland. It’s not a very popular destination for many tourists, but I didn’t want to miss the chance to go to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and learn about the history that impacted millions of people. It was disturbing to see things like the gigantic mass of hair that was shaved from the prisoners’ heads and to learn that the brutal images displayed in the museum were merely a tip of the iceberg. Nonetheless, I think it is so important that we look back at this part of the history, and remember and learn from the lessons it teaches.
On a lighter note, we did an underground salt mine tour in Poland that was incredibly fun and interactive. We took the miner’s route to experience what it’s like to be a miner instead of the visitor’s route, which shows tourists some amazing sites (like a beautiful church) built inside the salt mine. We changed to the uniform and put on the gear before going in. Only 4 people including the 2 of us were in our group, so it was so easy to ask questions and talk to our guide. From time to time our guide would give us simple and fun tasks: cutting wood with a saw, braiding a rope with a machine, finding maps and guiding the group to the next site, etc. It was super interesting and definitely something you can’t experience elsewhere, haha. We also saw a beautiful chandelier made out of salt. At the end of the tour, we even got a certificate to show off our “hard work” underground! I recommend anyone to try this salt mine tour.
After that, we followed a free walking tour to explore Warsaw but it was so cold to be outside and we couldn’t really pay attention to the guide while trying not to freeze to death. Then we had lunch at the famous chain, Zapiecek, to try traditional Polish dumplings and sour rye soup. I also got their house special- pork knuckle. Everything was delicious and very reasonably priced. Would definitely want to go again the next time I go to Poland.
And then we are back in Maastricht. My 8:30 am PBL has been fairly interesting, though I would for sure enjoy it a lot more if it was after 9 am, LOL. My exam is in 9 days, but most of my attention has been focusing on my Christmas trip to Portugal and Spain that is happening after finals. My friend from Hong Kong is coming to the Netherlands and we are spending Christmas together in Europe. It’s going to be the first time for both of us so I’m extremely excited.
If anyone reads to this point, I am so happy and (proud of you HAH) thank you for reading! Sadly this is my last blog here, but I will continue posting on my travel Instagram (@hollandayssophie) if anyone is slightly interested in seeing how spending Christmas in Portugal is like. For future exchange students coming to Maastricht, you won’t regret it and I wish you have an amazing experience!