This past weekend I ventured to Leiden and I had so much fun.  I sometimes think that I maybe should have gone somewhere that I haven't visited before, but I couldn't pass up seeing some of the friends I've made during my time there, as I unfortunately probably won't be seeing them for a long time now.

Let's start off my trip - I left for the train from work, of which I had to run to catch because I maybe pushed my time limit a little bit too far.  As I was leaving too, Juliane gave me some nice 'reading material' for the train ride... also known as 200 pages to proof-read! 

On my train ride there, I sat next to a very nice man from Amsterdam.  He works at the ING Bank in Paris but his family still lives in Amsterdam.  He pointed out some of the rivers and landmarks the train passed as well.  He'd heard of UNAWE before too!

When I got into Leiden, I met Wouter for coffee.  It was very nice to see him, even for a short bit, and I learned that Pedro was actually still in Leiden!  I thought he had already left for Africa and so I hadn't contacted him before (though my trip to Leiden in the first place was planned a bit last minute).  Unfortunately after I called him, my phone died and was unable to get back to him before he did leave on Saturday for Cape Town.  Fortunately I will get to see him during the International Astronautical Congress at the beginning of October.

Then I headed to Mattia's place and we played games and I met some of the new PhD students that had just arrived from within a few days to a few weeks.  I am very jealous that they will get to stay in Leiden!

After that we headed out with some other friends.  It was great night and I got to see many people.

Marissa was very nice to let me stay at her place while I was in Leiden, and her and her roommates were just moving in to their new place.  In exchange for letting me stay, I wanted to help as they were getting all their furniture and needed to move everything in.  With that, the real question is what did we not do on Saturday.

 While some of the roommates figured out what they needed from IKEA and other stores, I borrowed a bike and went to the market to get a stroopwafel. SOOOO GOOD!  What would a visit to Leiden be without one?  Riding a bike through town made me feel pretty cool too.  It's such a great method of transportation.

Carlia, one of Marissa's new roommates went with me and we stopped for a coffee.  (You only see the packaged stroopwafels I brought back for the family I'm staying with in Paris because I had already eaten my fresh stroop!)
 
Their landlord was really nice and showed them a site like craigslist, but Dutch, and they ended up getting a couch for 10 euros and two couches for free.  After they had gotten the couch, we had to figure out a way to get it inside and upstairs.  Already, one bed was going to become the bed of a roommate who lived on the main floor because there was no possible way for it to be moved up another level to their bedroom.  If you know one thing about Dutch staircases, it is that they are more like ladders.  We did manage to get one of the beds all the way upstairs though!


AND they are spiral 'ladders'

We then cleaned and cleaned.  I felt bad because I wanted to help, but boys had lived there before and did not do a very good job in the kitchen.  I had to stop after a while.  It was pretty bad in some spots.  I think we were all wondering how people could handle such a mess.

After they got back with the new couch, we scaled it up the wall.  Marissa and I began in the alley and then raced up the stairs to help them - well I went for my camera...

 

 
The alley it began in.  We removed the railing to pull it up over.
 
 After accomplishing such a feat, it was learned that it would not fit down the hallway to get it to the living room.  Instead, it ended up staying on the patio for the evening, which turned out to be great for later that night!


Gorana, Peter, Me, Marissa and Mattia

In the evening, Mark and Marissa and many others are involved with the ISN (International Student Network) at Leiden and had some of their mentees visit to get to meet everyone among other friends, as it's the beginning of the school year.  After we went to a place in Leiden called En Casa and had a great time.  I met some really cool people and got to see many people including Mats, Gorana, Peter, Mattia, Simon, Tiff, Tom, and lots of others that I've missed!

Sunday, we just hung out and went to Jacketz for dinner - so delicious.  It's this place that has gigantic baked potatoes and you can get just about anything inside of them.  It's like a Chipotle burrito but a potato - a challenge to finish at times!


Dinner at Jacketz
 
Following dinner, the conversation ensued as such:
"We have to go back to your place first so I can get my stuff." 
"Why?" 
"I have to leave." 
"What? Already?" 

Um yeah, as much as I'd like to pretend like I was never going to leave Leiden, I unfortunately needed to head to the train station for Paris.

 

Goodbye to Leiden once again!  How I'll miss it but hopefully I will be back much sooner than later!