Housing Food Transport
In addition to your (standaard_pre-departure_2011.doc
) which you again find in the attached files some further details:
We hope that all AFP participants will be housed on "de Uithof", the university campus where also the Department of Computer Science is located. In the past however some people have been housed in Zeist or inside the city center.
In case you are housed on the campus, you can walk by foot to the lecture room. In case you are located in Zeist or the city center you may have to come by bus.
See the page with the course schedule to find out how to reach the lecture rooms.
The campus provides a few places to find food. Since quite a few of you are coming from not-so-rich countries, I must warn you that going out for dinner to a restaurant is definitely not cheap in the Netherlands (not even for Western-Europe standards). So how to make the most of your precious euros?
- The Minnaert building, which is attached to the building where we are having the lectures and the lab sessions, has a canteen/restaurant, which serves basic food (soup, snacks, bread, milk, fruits, basic hot meals), at prices which lie below normal restaurant prices, and above what you would pay if you bought things directly from the supermarket. This is good place to have your lunch. Keep in mind that in the Netherlands lunches are simple: some bread, cheese, a fruit, a cup of soup, sometimes a snack. Definitely a three course hot meal, as is customary in culinary more advanced countries, is not customary. If you are on a low budget, why not prepare your lunch at home and take it with you, while buying some milk, buttermilk or juice on your way to the lectures in the morning and buy a cup of soup in the Minnaert?
- The educatorium, at the center of the campus, serves hot meals in the evening (from 17.00 on) in a buffet style. They offer a choice of vegetables, pastas, fries, meats, salad and fish dishes. You pay by the weight of what you load onto your dish. It is cheap according to Dutch standards (a normal plate would costs somewhere between 5 and 6 euros, deserts around 1 euro). You have the convenience of not having to cook your own meal, and quality is decent (some claim it is even tasty).
- Go to the Spar supermarket on campus. Close to the university library -centrally located at the campus- you find a normal "Spar" supermarket, with a selection of products aimed at the student population. I suggest that some of you agree to cook a meal together from ingredients you can buy at the Spar. It is not the cheapest supermarket in town, but preparing your own meal and eating together is a great way to spend your evening and making the most of out of your euros. You might even discuss some Haskell over dinner. Why not take your favorite, easy to prepare recipe with you and show your fellow students that you are not only a great programmer, but also a great cook.
- The pizzeria, opposite of the Spar supermarket, sells excellent pizzas and pastas. You can order your meal here, wait for 10 minutes and then take you food away or eat it outside if the weather is nice.
- Inside the city the are some cheaper supermarkets, such as those of the German Lidl and Aldi chain, which are quite somewhat cheaper than the Spar supermarket. You may need to borrow a bike to go there, or take a bus.
You can use the journey planner
to get an advice on what buses/trains to take for going from A to B.
The university campus can be reached by busses 11 and 12. Both leave from Utrecht central station. Bus 11 passes through the city center and by the place where you pick up your key at Janskerkhof.
If you want to avoid the use of the Dutch OV-chipcard (the precise functioning of which remains a mystery to many) you can still travel with a so-called "strippenkaart
" on the Utrecht busses. Information about prices can be found here
. The basic information on this Dutch page tells you that a 15-strips strippenkaart costs euro 7,70. A trip from the city to the campus takes three strips, so approximately euro 1.60. If you buy a three strip (two zone) ticket on the bus you pay euro 2.40. If you do not plan to travel too much buying a 15-strippen ticket is a good option. You can buy such ticket at the bus information stand at the platform where the city buses leave (called Stationsplein) at Utrecht central station (ask where the "informatie"
stand is; do not worry, everyone speaks English). Also the Ako Bruna bookshops in the main hall of the station sell strippenkaarten, as do the Kiosk shops.
If you get your keys you will be informed about a bike-shop which sells (~75 euro) and buys back bicycles. I do not know the difference between what they ask and what they pay back, but this may be a relatively cheap option to have access to a bike during the two weeks you are here. In case you take this option, make sure the bike has a decent lock, take a chain lock with you if possible, make sure the bike is not stolen and make an agreement about te price they pay you if you want to return the bike. Some shops rent out bikes for euro 6 per day, which seems quite stiff to me, since this amount to about 75 euros for the whole period.
At Schiphol airport you will find quite a few yellow train ticket vending machines. Here
you find a demo of buying a ticket from such a machine (click on "Klik hier om door te gaan); the demo shows you how to select a ticket to Amsterdam central station, which is something you do not want! Unfortunately the demo is in Dutch, although the machines themselves speak English too (press the appropriate button at the bottom of the screen). Make sure to buy a one-way ticket ("enkele reis", since return tickets are only valid on the same day, and you will go back two weeks later). Select "Utrecht CS", select "2e klas", select "Vol tarief" (i.e.no discount), select "vandaag geldig" and select that you want to pay with your credit card. Good luck.
Taxis are quite expensive, and are not so regularly used as in many other countries due to the availability of excellent public transport. Before you take a taxi agree on the price.
- 02 Aug 2011