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Globetrotters discover the globe Next destination for ATLAS: Ljubljana!

Last week was one of the best moments of the year again for the ATLAS students. I hear you thinking: how could mid-February ever be this exciting? Well, we went on our amazing annual study trip! It is always organized by the Study Trip Committee (StuTriCo) of Atlantis, the study-association of ATLAS. Kraków and Edinburgh were the destinations of the last two years. This year, the group of nearly 70 students went to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Besides ATLAS students from all the years, alumni also joined, which indicates how unforgettable and amazing these study trips are. To let you get a sneak peek of our adventures on our study trip, I kept a travel journal from which I’ll share bits in this article. So sit back, enjoy the stories and imagine how you could be part of this if you would join ATLAS!

DAY 1: Monday 18 February – Rise and shine before the sun rises because we need to be in front of Calslaan 36, one of the ATLAS houses on campus, at 5.30am. We leave campus and you can feel the excitement, even though it’s covered by a big layer of sleepiness. The bus ride is very long but very nice because of all the great naps, fun conversations, games and breaks. Since Ljubljana is quite far away from Enschede, we stay in a hostel in Munich for one night. When we arrive in Munich, everyone has some free time to discover Munich before we gather at Hofbräuhaus at 8pm. This is one of the most famous taverns in the world, and that’s very understandable because it feels like we entered the German version of Hogwarts’s dining hall. We enjoy our German food and beer with music from a little brass band, some traditional dancers and occasional yelling from other tables trying to make someone chug their beer. A great ending to a very exciting first day!

DAY 2: Tuesday 19 February – We have a typical German breakfast, which obviously includes schnitzels and cookies, that prepares us for the last bit of the bus ride. Finally, we arrive in Ljubljana and we carry all our luggage to Hostel Tresor, which is in the heart of the city center. The interior style can be described as hipster meets money, that they tried to create by adding money-inspired accessories and quotes on the wall. All in all, it’s the perfect hostel with the perfect location and big rooms, so we are very happy! We immediately go to our first activity, which is a city tour, the best introduction to a new city. The guides tell actual interesting and funny stories about the history and culture while showing us around the beautiful old city center of Ljubljana, and give recommendations for restaurants with local food and nice bars. After the city tour, everyone splits up in smaller groups for dinner and drinks afterwards for some of us.

DAY 3: Wednesday 20 February – Today is sustainability day! Saving the bees is quite a big agenda point for Slovenian people, considering the important Slovenian beekeeping tradition and the danger of extinction of the bees. Therefore, StuTriCo figured it would be a great idea to help the researchers and volunteers of the wholesome garden today for a bit. First, they explain what their project for saving the bees is about and how they try to make people from all ages aware, even in kindergarten. Afterwards, we help the volunteers in the garden by weeding, adding dirt to the rose plants, transplant the small succulent plants and so on. It’s a nice and useful way to do something good for the earth and specifically the bees. We continue our day by walking the Bee Path, which promotes all activities linked to urban beekeeping and end with a workshop were we make candles from bee wax and frames for the beehive. Then, we have a few hours of free time to get lunch and wander around in the charming, old streets before going to the museums. There’s a big variety in this small city: we spread out to the Slovenian Museum of National History, the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Architecture and Design. After this cultural nutrition, we rest for a bit to make sure we are ready for the pub-crawl. This is a great and fun ending of the day because it is organized by two Slovenian guides who make us feel like we are locals because they know the best places to go to.

DAY 4: Thursday 21 February – We are spending our last full day in Slovenia 50 kilometers away from Ljubljana, at the stunning Lake Bled. This 50 minute drive is totally worth it, because it looks like we enter a beautiful landscape painting. A few of us think it’s summer already and they dive in the lake and immediately regret it because the water is less than 5 Celsius degrees… Everyone enjoys the nature by hiking up the mountains, rowing on the lake and sunbathing. We arrive back in Ljublana in complete zen mode and we enjoy our last night and have a good time. Some of us go to an international Erasmus party for students, while others take it easy in a local pub with live jazz music.

DAY 5 and 6: Friday 22 and Saturday 23 February: All good things come to an end as well, so we pack up our stuff this morning and enjoy Ljubljana till the bus really has to leave around 2pm. We have one more activity planned on our way back, which is a lecture at Academia in Maribor about leadership. We get some inspiring words and thoughts for thinking for our way back, but to be honest everyone is so tired that most of us just sleep and have sweet dreams about the amazing study trip. Thank you StuTriCo for organizing it and we cannot wait what next year’s destination will be!