Sorry this is coming a week late, but finally I am sitting down to write all about EUROTOUR!! It truly was the most amazing trip I have ever been on! I wasn’t super excited going into it, simply because I didn’t want to face that the end of my year is almost here, but oh my gosh it ended up just being the best time ever.
I don’t want to bore you with an entire novel, so I will do a quick summery of each country we stopped in.
We left Denmark bright and early on the 20th and headed to Berlin via an awesome ferry with cheap candy. We stopped for a picnic lunch and the atmosphere was just crazy with excitement. We finally made it to our hostel where we got our rooms and then had dinner as a whole group. The plan was to go on an evening tour as a whole group, but it started raining so our guide told us we could go on our own. A large group of us tried to find our way into downtown, but we only ended up making it two stations before we gave up and just wandered around. We bought some snacks and walked around and it was a lot of fun and a really great start to our trip.
The next day we saw Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin wall, and then we had a picnic lunch (…again) and then after a short bus tour, we were free. There was a tourist shop at the Berlin wall where you could get awesome passport stamps, but Nova, Jenny and I didn’t have our passports, so we decided to go back to the hostel and then find our way back to the wall. I’m not going to write out the entire events of the day, but basically: enter 3 different trains, 2 hours of walking, and roughly 5 general hours of being lost. We did make it in the end, but boy was it a production. The three of us went for dinner and got bubble tea, and then after walking around a bit more we made our way back to the hostel.
Despite the frustration of being lost and walking way too far, it was an amazing first day of Eurotour and made me so excited for what was to come.
The next day we left bright and early on our way to Prague. We stopped at the concentration camp, Terezin, which was something I will never forget. I have learnt about the holocaust my whole life, but to actually be where it happened, and to see up close where they were forced to stay, was something I can’t even put into words.
Our first night in Prague I went with Hillary and Laura into town and we just walked around and explored the area. One of the cool things about this trip was that it gave us all a chance to meet and hang out with people outside of our regular group.
The next day we did some sightseeing as a group, and then in afternoon Nova and I split off and went for lunch and then the two of us went and found a hair salon and we got our hair cut!! Getting a haircut in Denmark is ridiculously expensive, so I haven’t gotten one all year, so to finally get my hair done was soo fantastic! The lady spoke not a single word of English, so it didn’t exactly turn out how I had wanted, but I’m still happy!
After Prague came Vienna, which was gorgeous. The first night we went to this garden where we walked around for a bit, and then headed to the hotel. The hotel was really far out, so once we were there we had to stay in for the night. We all hung around outside, and I spent a good chunk of the night with a group of Canadian girls. Again, it was great to get to know a new group of people.
Day two in Vienna followed the same pattern of sightseeing in the morning, although we didn’t see much except the Spanish riding school. And then in the afternoon we were free. I really wanted to see the Sigmund Froid museum, but we weren’t able to find it. We did get to do some shopping though, and then in the evening Nova, Brittany and I went to the huge ferris wheel and got to see the sun set on the whole city. I was doubly excited because one of the amazing race challenges took place on that ferris wheel!!
(Me, Nova and Brittany on the ferris wheel!)
Italy came next; We started with Lido de Jesolo where we had a day to lie on the beautiful beach, and then Venice where we got to do a gondola tour (among other things of course) which was really exciting, and then a stop in Verona where we saw Juliette’s balcony, and the fourth night was in San Remo. We didn’t do much there besides sleep, but it was a really gorgeous area.
Next along the way was France. Nice was absolutely GORGEOUS and I got to experience a very…typical European beach. We spent two nights in Avignon where we got to see proper castles like you see in fairy tales. Everything was so fast paced, but there was a moment in Avignon where I stood and looked out at one of the castles in the distance and thought about how insanely cool it is that I am here, in Europe, looking at castles that have been there for, in comparison to my life, ever.
(Swimming in Nice)
Our third last city was the city of cities, the city I have been excited to see since…ever. Paris!! And let me say it did not disappoint! I got to walk the Champs Elysees, climb up the Arc de Triomphe, see Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame, walk around the Louvre and of course, I got to climb the Eiffel tower! (Twice!) I could go on for hours and hours about Paris, but let me just summarize by saying that it was, hands down, my favourite city, and I would go back in a heartbeat.
(At the very top of the Eiffel tower!)
Brussels was next, and while we didn’t see anything besides the Grand Place and Manneken Pis , it was a really special city for me because I got to meet up with my friend Ammie, who is an exchange student from Calgary in Belgium. It was so good to catch up with her and she took me for Belgian fries and waffles, and introduced me to amazing Belgian beer (or if you are a Rotarian, some amazing Belgian soda) and it was just really really nice to spend time with her.
(Me, Ammie and my amazing Belgian waffle!)
Somehow, like everything else in life, we found ourselves at the end. Amsterdam was our last stop, and wow was it different! We walked through the red light district, which was an…experience. I couldn’t help but look at those women, some who only looked a year or two older than me, and wonder what is running through their head. Maybe it’s my tendency to over think everything, but I found the whole thing really interestingly weird.
Our last day was a 12 hour drive back to Denmark, the last two hours of which were spent sobbing. After we got off the bus, we wouldn’t see a lot of these people again, and it was an unwelcome wakeup call that no matter how much we deny it, this is it, this whole crazy rollercoaster is coming to an end. I really hope this doesn’t sound bad, but I didn’t really cry nearly as hard for my family and friends in Canada as I did for the people on that bus. Because I knew I was coming back. But hugging these people, some of whom I’ve only been close with for a few weeks, and knowing that there’s a chance I’ll never see them again, is something so heartbreaking that I don’t think you can understand unless you’ve been there. The number of ‘I’ll see you again! I promise!’’s and ‘Don’t worry, I’ll see you before we go home!’’s made my heart hurt, because even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew they weren’t true.
There’s a lot of people I will see again in my life, but there’s also the ones who although I love them, I know it’s just not realistic. And I hate that.
And in the back of my mind as I sat there crying with 75 of the most amazing people, I couldn’t help but wonder, if it’s like this now, how horrible will it be when it’s Emma or Simone that I’m hugging? If I’m this sad over people I’ve known for three weeks, then what will it be like with my first host family? With my host mom now? With Susanne? With all of the other people who have played a huge part in my year.
So that was it, Eurotour. One of the best 18 days of my exchange, if not of my life. I did and saw so much and I know that I didn’t even begin to cover it in this post.
I have been looking forward to Eurotour since before I even came to Denmark, and it did not by any means disappoint me. Every day was something new and I am so grateful that I was able to go on the trip and it is something that I will never forget. So to my parents, thank you so much! I don’t think you guys understand how much this whole experience, not just Eurotour, but everything, has meant to me, and I am eternally grateful to you guys for giving me and supporting me throughout this whole experience.
Here are the links to see all of my pictures from the trip!
Part 1: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1954163246103.109736.1003336365&l=d86f912e49
Part 2: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1954294769391.109746.1003336365&l=428c55c46a
Part 3: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1954460693539.109751.1003336365&l=836ea7006b
The week since I’ve been back has been crazy, and next week looks like it will be the same, so hopefully I can update about all of my recent happenings soon!
Lots of Love!