OPINION | Butler GALA students halfway home

Donald Perin is participating in the GALA program and has been studying in Europe this semester.

This trip has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’ve seen more history and culture in the last month-and-a-half than I will ever see again.  I’ve met some truly interesting and inspiring people, and I’ve made memories that I know will last a lifetime.
After our three-week stay in Paris, France, we traveled to Brussels, Belgium, and learned about the European Union.
Our time in Paris was amazing, and I loved it, but I enjoyed Brussels quite a bit more. The city is smaller and more navigable than Paris, the people are friendlier and more helpful, the food is cheaper and, to top it all off, the beer is incredible.
I wish we’d had more time in the Belgian capital so we could have seen more museums and learned more about the city’s history.
All of our afternoon trips were to European Union buildings.  Learning about the EU was fascinating, and we all learned a great deal, but there was so much more that Brussels had to offer.
I hope that I have another opportunity in my lifetime to further explore the city.
Our journey from Brussels to Amsterdam was an interesting one.  Riding on Europe’s high-speed trains was a great experience. Zipping across the countryside at 120 miles per hour was exhilarating, and the countryside was picturesque.
When we arrived in Amsterdam, we were welcomed by brilliant sunshine and a smiling tour guide with an awesome accent.
Driving through Amsterdam was a treat.  I’ve been to the city before, but that only was for about four hours back in 2006 with my father, so it has been wonderful to see it again.
It’s a beautiful city, full of canals, tiny apartments and restaurants squeezed in. And of course, there are the infamous coffee shops and the Red Light district.
During our first week in Amsterdam, we went to several museums – one at the house of famous Dutch artist Rembrandt, another highlighting some of van Gogh’s masterpieces, and Stedelijk, the Amsterdam museum of modern art.
At the Stedelijk museum, an American artist named Mike Kelley had his work on display.  To see the inner workings of in that man’s mind would probably give me nightmares for life.  Some of his work was very interesting, but others, were so odd, dark and demented it made me want to get up and leave.  I respect all art, but I doubt I would go to another presentation of his art.
At this point in the trip,  I look back on how wonderful and successful the first part of our journey has been. I am very excited for the rest of our time here in Amsterdam. Then, on to England and Ireland.