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Summer Postcards 2011

Border Crossings

By Jorge A. Araya, Crimson Staff Writer

ROLDUC, Netherlands—The bedside clock told it me it wasn’t even six in the morning, but it was no use. Jet lag seemed a stronger force than the alarm that had consistently failed to wake me up in time for my 9:00 a.m. lectures. So I got up, got dressed, and decided to walk to Germany. With help from the twilight filtering through my window I studied Rolduc on Google Maps, grabbed a sweater, and headed out the door.

Rolduc is the location of a monastery in the southernmost part of the Netherlands where I spent the first week of my summer course. Besides medieval architecture, spacious rooms, and a deer park, Rolduc’s attractions include its location on the Dutch-German border.

A walking trail led around the outer wall of the monastery, and I set off at a brisk pace. Besides a light rain, barely perceptible under the thick forest canopy, everything was eerily still in the early morning. The path led through a tunnel formed by trees; ducklings swam in ponds on either side. Rolduc loomed like a giant castle behind me, and I felt as though I had stepped into a Disney movie.

Ten minutes later, I began to think I had set down the wrong path. Germany was nowhere in sight. Or, for all I knew, I had already crossed the border—there wouldn’t be a big Willkommen! sign in the middle of the woods. Suddenly I stumbled out of the path onto a paved lane and, turning a corner, found the marker I was looking for.

The white block letters spelling Deutschland weren’t quite as welcoming as I’d imagined, but no matter. I snapped a few pictures and planted my feet firmly on German soil. Then, noticing the rain was really starting to pick up, I scrambled back to the land of legalized hash.

Jorge A. Araya ’14 is an editorial writer in Dunster House.

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Summer Postcards 2011