Monday, June 27, 2016

Weekend Trips to Bruges and Amsterdam

The recent personal highlights of my summer are trips to Bruges and Amsterdam. Two weekends ago, Chris, Lakyn, Stephanie, and I visited Bruges. Chris and I decided to stay overnight in a hostel. Since the weather that weekend was warm and sunny, the train to Bruges was packed with families and school groups heading to the beach city Ostend.

Bruges is the capital of West Flanders and the location where the movie “In Bruges” was filmed. The first and probably the most interesting attraction we visited was the Belfort. We climbed up hundreds of narrow stairs to view different exhibits pertaining to the history and function of the Belfort and culminating with a 360 degree view of the city at the top. While there, we purchased a museum pass that gave us access to several attractions in the city, notably the Groeningmuseum (art) and the Sint-Janshospitaal (a historic hospital that has since been converted into a museum). We also did a canal boat ride, and stayed out until dark to see the canals, the Historic Centre, and the Burg Square lit up at night.

The trip to Amsterdam this past weekend was the most exciting trip yet. I met up with Chris and a BME undergraduate from JHU. We decided to rent bikes, which turned out to be a great idea since there were thousands of bikers and lots to see in the relatively large city. After biking through several famous neighborhoods like The Jordaan, we got free entry to the number one museum in Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum. The Rijksmuseum was huge with artwork ranging from paintings to doll houses to furniture to porcelain. We visited all the exhibits except the “Gallery of Honor” which had about a three-hour wait. We rounded out the day with biking around Vondelpark and taking a canal boat ride. Chris couch-surfed for the night, while I stayed in a hostel.

On the second and final day in Amsterdam, we met up and visited the Anne Frank house (we snatched tickets online a few days before to avoid the long wait). The historical aspects of the place made it an especially intriguing place. We also found cheap student tickets to the Dutch National Opera and visited the Dutch Royal Palace. For dinner, Chris and I tried bitterballen, which are a Dutch snack consisting of a meat paste covered with breadcrumbs that're fried with a side of mustard. That, along with the Dutch version of chicken tikka masala, were interesting meals.

Back at IMEC, we fabricated my prototype using a special type of 3D printer that builds upside down using an ultraviolet laser to cure resin on a plate. It is extremely detailed (albeit expensive) with a precision of 25 microns. I recently received certification to work in the former Clinical Lab at IMEC to conduct the acoustical experiments on my prototype. I will be working with ultrasound transducers, acoustical waveguides, and oscilloscopes.

Michael Signorelli is a second-year Biomedical Engineering undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University

View from the top of the Belfry in Bruges

The Belfry in Bruges at night

Canal in Amsterdam

Figure Captions

· View from the top of the Belfry in Bruges

· Canal in Amsterdam

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