"Leiden, Edinburgh, Paris, Memphis" memphisgrrl's Profile

Leiden, Netherlands

I'm an American exchange student going to school for a year at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands.

It's a very quaint little city just 30 mins south of Amsterdam. Amsterdam itself is overrated and overrun with scary people, so I'm glad to be in Leiden, a student town without big city problems. But there is more to Amsterdam than the infamous places and the Anne Frank House, so when you go, get outside the city center or you'll miss out entirely on what the Dutch are really like. The Hague and the International Peace Palace are 15 mins south of Leiden, and I'm about 20 mins from the North Sea by bus, 45 mins by bike. The picture to the left is about a block from my student house.

The University was founded in 1575. Descartes studied here, Einstein taught here, Hugo de Groot (better known to you Law types as Grotius) wrote treatises here, and the American Pilgrims first fled here from England before they decided (in their infinite wisdom) that even sober Holland was too worldly for them and they needed to flee to the New World to really be themselves.

Edinburgh New Town from Castle Hill

This is me in Edinburgh in April 2004. I'm on the castle hill facing the castle and that's why you can't see it, LOL. Edinburgh Castle is a prominent landmark for many miles, situated on a volcanic mountian. The Royal Mile zigzags down from it like a drunken nightwatchman through the medieval Old Town. The New Town was once all swamp and pestilence running alongside at the foot of the raised city, until the 1700's when a massive draining and building project was put underway. It was a model for city planning with wide boulevards, city blocks on grids, and monumental buildings, all in evidence here. What you cant quite see is the massive gulch falling away behind me into the river and park at the foot of the mountian. But you can see the water in the distance. Together the Old and New Towns make up two halves of one split personality in this city.

Furry Bastard

This is for those of you wondering what in the world a "Highland Cow" is. They are short-legged, sqat, furry, fat little beasties with big nasty horns and shaggy red coats. They're more like the Saint Bernards of cattle than like bison or buffaloes. And if you want to do a bad tourist imitation of Scots, then he's a "Heilan Coo"

Edinburgh Castle is REALLY High

This is me with Edinburgh Castle looming overhead.

(Where am I ? You'll have to click to find me.)

Quite a drop when there was nothing to land on but briars and volcanic rock, and then nothing to stop the roll through it all the way to the swamps. Looks impenetrable even now, but an attack was launched from this side of the castle, and was successful too. But only once.

Advocat's Close w/ Burns Monument

A friend from Leiden and I were in Edinburgh together, and this is one of the famous 'Closes' that run off the Royal Mile, the Advocat's Close. The Royal Mile was the High Street and Business District and main city artery all rolled into one. Where people actually lived was in little courtyard alleys that spilled down from the Royal Mile towards the swamps and river at the bottom. Some were 'Closes' that closed off, some were alleys like this one that goes all the way down. Very distinctive parts of this city, they are still pedestrian only zones and the city melts away when you go inside one. The black monument in the background is the Robert Burns monument, a major landmark in the New Town. (See my Travel Pages for more on it.)

Where I've been, where I'm going

Scotland - 2000 & 2004 (see April 2004 pics in my Albums)
Ireland - 2000
American West: New Mexico, Colorado: 2001, 02, 03
The Netherlands - 2003-04:
Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam.
Paris - 2004.

To the left is my best friend, at home in Memphis, overlooking the riverfront homes and the park where Memphis in May is held. The strip of bright blue is the Mississippi herself.

My intro pic is from my summer work as a Ranger at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Helping me out in that pic is fellow Ranger Dan. Thanks Dan!

Two International People Jokes

The United Nations took a survey, but it was complete failure, even though it only had one question. This was because different people in different countries couldn't understand certain parts of the question: "What, in your honest opinion, is the solution to the shortage of food in the rest of the world?"

In Western Europe, they didn't understand "shortage"
In Eastern Europe, they didn't understand "honest"
In the Middle East, they didn't understand "solution"
In China, they didn't understand "opinion"
In Africa, they didn't understand "food"
and in the United States, they didn't understand "rest of the world"

In HEAVEN the cooks are French, the police are British,
the mechanics are German,
the lovers are Italian,
and everything is organized by the Swiss.
In HELL the cooks are British,
the police are German,
the mechanics are French,
the lovers are Swiss,
and everything is organized by the Italians.

If all this doesn't offend you, and you want to laugh at international sterotypes some more, take the Country Quiz and find out which nation characterises you. Hilarious.


  • Intro Updated Jul 20, 2005
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Comments (3)

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Aug 3, 2004 at 12:44 AM

    I liked your international jokes - especially the first one!

  • Jozzzef's Profile Photo
    Apr 18, 2004 at 8:39 AM

    Nice pages! I hope you are enjoying your stay in Holland. I hope you can find the time to visit Belgium as well :-) Good luck with your studies. Greetings.

  • Psife's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2003 at 4:03 AM

    Nice story, hope the pictures will come up soon =)

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