I have started writing this post approximately 247.8 times, and I still don't know where to begin.
How do I explain that this trip changed my life?
How do I explain that no matter how many words I use, I cannot properly describe everything that went on?
How am I supposed to respond when others ask me "How was Europe?"
The answer I generally say is, "Life Changing" and I leave it at that.
This is where I will now try to put into words exactly what this trip was like, what we did, and all the events that happened.
I'm going to add a slight note here and say that although I do have many pictures from this Chorale trip, the bulk of time was not spend sight seeing, but rather singing or traveling to different concert locations.
The first day can be described perfectly by two words: Exhaustion and ecstasy.
We flew out 11:45 AM and landed at 6 AM in Amsterdam. We had one goal for that day, which was to stay awake. To help us do this, we started by exploring De Zaanse Schans, which is a place where I got to see my first windmills. I also got to see wooden shoes be made...which was the coolest thing ever!
By the time we got back on our tour bus, our whole Chorale was sleepy and it was a struggle to stay awake. I wrote down several ways we tried to stay awake. Things like crab walking up the aisle, throwing pens at one another, arm wrestling and pretending to surf while the bus drove down the road. Anything helped!
After that, We took a quite stop at Maeslantkering which is a structure built to protect the low lands from the sea.
And speaking of the sea... our next stop was sea- the North Sea, to be specific. Sticking our feet in the sea definitely helped wake us up... just in case any of us were feeling sleepy. Which we probably weren't, of course. By this time, it was around 8 AM in the US, and we were starting to feel like we had pulled an all nighter...which in fact, most of us had.
Our next stop was our hostel in Zegge, just outside of Bergan Op Zoom. At this time, we were able to contact our people in the US and let them know that we had arrived safely. We were able to go to bed early this night in an attempt to help our bodies adjust to the new time zone.
Tuesday was spent exploring Bergan Op Zoom. It was one of our only days without a concerts, this due to the fact that because of lack of sleep our voices were tired and needed rest before we started our concerts.
We walked around the town, trying to pronounce words we didn't understand and just admiring all of everything we saw. Shortly after that, we met our contacts and then ate lunch.
We went back to the Meulenbaarg (the place where we were staying) and contacted home quickly before a young adults group from one of the local churches came over for some food and fellowship.
In my journal, I wrote down that we got to explore an old castle tower that was used for a jail...that was pretty cool.
Oh! And I got to eat gelato for the first time.
*that stuff is WONDERFUL*
The next day, we went to Kinderdijk (pronounced Kinder-Dike)
We visited a dike and learned that the story of the little boy who put his finger in the whole is completely unrealistic... *sorry to burst your bubble :)
We got to visit the town of 's Hertogenbosch and sing in a MASSIVE chapel. There is nothing like singing Latin in a Chapel that was built before the US as a country was even in existence.
We also rented bicycles and went all over the countryside by the town.
First time riding a tandem bike, and we didn't even crash!
In the evening we had a Bible study.
I didn't take pictures for several days, due to the fact that we were quite busy with street concerts and concerts in churches. At this point, we had been in Holland for week, and drove to Germany.
This is the Rhine River.... our hostel overlooked this river. I woke up early so that I could walk along the vineyards on the hillside, and it was well worth it.
Stay tuned for the rest of the trip. It may take a while till I get around to actually writing it out due to me being just a few weeks away from graduating college.