Brace yourselves… Summer is coming! With the sun coming out, the students also very much realize that we are indeed already halfway through the semester. Amsterdam is starting to warm up with some first festivals, outdoor film screenings and markets-without-rain.
Since the very history of the CIEE Amsterdam site, we have been going to one of the Wadden Sea Island for our Spring Overnight. After a bus ride, some Groninger students hopped on the ferry together with our cohort, and we took off to the mystical island of Schiermonnikoog….
*The following part is, shamelessly, entirely based on the Groningen-blog*
Schiermonnikoog is a small island with around 950 inhabitants. The islanders mainly live off of the tourists that flock to the island in great numbers, especially during summer. The island has a lot to offer in terms of nature and wildlife, and many people come to enjoy the peace and quiet that they can find here. One of its popular attractions is mudflat walking. As the CIEE group was divided into two smaller groups, there was one group of lucky students who had to be ready by 6.45, in order to examine what the mudflats hold before high tide comes in. And as it turns out, the mudflats hold a lot of living creatures that manage to hide themselves well!
And can you believe that no one fell? Well, maybe just one person did… Our well-respected Resident Coordinator in Groningen :)
Despite the early rise, the walk was well worth it, as the mudflats look beautiful in the early sun!
The rest of the day brought a bike tour exploring Schiermonnikoog’s lovely nature, an outdoor barbecue, closing with an awesome bonfire on the beach with Dutch-style s’mores (chocolate spread is much more practical than actual chocolate!).
Sunday morning saw the two groups going in separate ways, with one visiting Schiermonnikoog’s Seashell Museum (where all seashells are collected by the owner, Thijs (aka our mudflat-walking guide and bike tour-guide) and his family), whilst the other went off to the beach in order to fly some massive kites. As all good things must come to an end, so did this weekend. Nonetheless, this overnight trip was a great way to get in touch with nature a bit more and get away from the hectic city.
With many thanks to all the students who together with the Amsterdam and Groningen staff made this trip amazing!