A European Summer: Initial Travels

Aiswarya Kolisetty '13

My dad, my sister, and I landed in Brussels Intl. Airport last week.  The three of us had a week of vacation in Europe before I started my internship in Belgium for the summer.  And so, we got to it!

Brussels is a fascinating city to walk around in.  It is a city merging the old with the new.  The preserved architecture of the churches and stock exchange and city hall put me back into Medieval Times.  Yet on the other side of the city, stood the towering glass buildings of NATO and the European Union. 

One of my favorite monuments to see was of a little guy.  It's called Mannequin Pis.  And well, it is a statue of a little boy pissing.  And there is a story behind this one.  
Long ago, the duke of Belgium, 2 years old at this time, had his troops battling in  a war.  The troops put the infant lord in a basket and hung the basket in a tree to motivate them. The little boy urinated on the opposition, who eventually lost the battle.  Victory was attributed to this savior of course.  And this little boy is revered indeed.  The whole street leading up to the monmument is covered in waffle and frites (fries) and chocolate shops named after him. It was great.  He was even dressed up in a soldier costume that day.

Mannequin Pis

Another cool monument in Brussels is the Atomium.  It was built 60 years ago for the Brussels World Expo, and is a giant Fe (Iron) atom.  It was pretty awesome to enter each atom of the monument.  We even sat in the very top atom and ate in the restaurant inside.  It was a landscape view of the whole city of Brussels.

There's me, with one of the Atomium atoms just below.

Soon after this, the family was headed to Amsterdam, a city famous for quite a few sites. We mostly walked the streets of the heart of the city, around the canals and the dozens of bicycles parked everywhere!  Europe really is a biking and public transport continent.

And our trip to Amsterdam was mainly for my dad to see the renowed Tulip Kukenhof Gardens.  It is revered world-wide for its flowers from May-March every year.  Luckily, we got there on the last day it was open! Most flowers had been cut, but the gardens were still pleasant to walk around.  Below is a picture of my sister, my dad, and I with some red tulips behind us.


With this whirlwind trip now a week ago, my family headed back to India and I've been in Leuven, Belgium. 
Becca ('13) Mark ('14) joined me at the start of this week for a 10-week internship program at imec, a nanotechnology research institute.  Becca will be working with magnetic nano-particles, while Mark and I are designing and engineering for electric vehicles of the automotive future.

The three of us are headed to Amsterdam tomorrow to see Michael ('13) and spend the weekend there.  It's an early train to catch and I'm heading to sleep soon.  I'll keep in touch about my European adventures every few weeks.  Goedenacht! (Goodnight! in Flemish =)

Posted in: Class of 2013