Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Bus Trip

Salut tout le monde!

Last night I got back after spending 12 days in Europe. I'll give you a brief description on how amazing it is, but I don't think I will be able to tell you all in words of how incredible this trip actually was.

Day 1: I woke up like a normal day of school, packed my lunch and got ready, and then took the school bus with my suitcase. When I arrived in Bernay, instead of walking the rest of the way to my school, I went to the train station instead. I then met up with another exchange student who arrived from another city and we took the train together to Paris. We met up with the other exchange students from my district and we all took the metro to the other train station (did you know that Paris has four train stations? One for each direction: Paris Gare-du-Nord for destinations in the north sector, Paris-Saint-Lazare for destinations in the west sector [this is where I arrived], Montparnasse [which is where all the students taking the Bus Trip {or EUROTOUR} had to meet up] for destinations in the south sector and Paris-Lyon for destinations in the east sector). We then all got on the bus and had a guided tour on the bus of Paris. We stopped at one moment to take pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. We then visited Le Louvre by walking in the gardens and taking pictures in front of it.


And then after we headed to Reims for the evening. We ate at the hotel and then after we walked to the church and sat in front of it for a coupld hours to talk. We returned after to the hotel and that was the end of Day 1.

Day 2 -  After waking up and having breakfast, we took the bus to Strasbourg; a city right on the edge of the border of Germany. What a sweet little town! We had some free time to eat (I went with a friend of mine to get a falafel [for anyone who doesn't know what it is, it is a vegetarian meatball wrap and can be found in Canada because I eat them back in Canada myself] and it was very good!) and look around. I went into some souvenir shops and toured around the market they had that morning. I bought a pin for my vest their at the market for 50 cents; the pin is of France with an F in the center of it attached to Germany with a D in the center of it by two shaking hands. The carton it was attached to explains how it symbolizes the peace between France and Germany. We slept that night in Strasbourg and after eating we got to go beside the river and play music and dance.

Day 3 - We finally left France territory and arrived at Nuremberg, Germany. A brief history on this city: It is here where Hitler made the "Laws of Nuremberg" which were all made toward the Jewish people. We got to go within the walls of where Hitler first spoke to the Germans of these laws (and anybody who wasn't there watched it from their TVs or heard it from their radios). We then had some time to walk around and tour the city by going to it's downtown area. We slept there the night at a hotel right beside the metro; I know you're thinking that must of been terrible but I actually really liked it. I liked hearing the trains come and go and think or where those people are travelling and why. Plus the hotel was built so that the noise wasn't loud at all so it wasn't disturbing. We stayed inside the hotel that night so I just visited people's rooms and chatted into the early morning.

Day 4 - After breakfast, we got on the bus and drove to Prague, which is the capital city in the Czech Republic. We had a tour when we arrived on the one side of the bridge; which was called the old village. There was many cute small boutiques and art shops which I enjoyed looking through and discovering new things. I ended up buying two pins for my vest; one was a little russian doll and the other a miny box of matches. We then returned to the hotel and this time had our passports checked before we were allowed to go to our rooms. Since we were in the capital, we weren't allowed to leave the hotel that night so we stayed downstairs and just talked together.

Day 5 - Still in Prague, we had another guided tour on the other side of the bridge; which is the downtown area. I ate lunch with two of my friends in a restaurant. All three of us ordered a Czech meal; Goulash soup with bread. In other restaurants, it was served on a plate with bread dumplings. For us however, it was served in a bowl made out of bread. Yes, it is true. It was so delicious. For anyone who doesn't know what Goulash is, it is a meat stew with spices and chunks of potatoes. We then had the entire afternoon to explore Prague. I bought a shirt for 8 euros and just went into shops with my other friends as they searched for clothes, shoes and souvenirs. At the end of the day we walked back to the bus by the river so that we could get back to our hotel. It was gorgeous with the sun and everything. At the hotel we talked until the early morning again.

Day 6 - So, the real schedule for the day was to leave early in the morning, have lunch in Vienna, Austria, have four hours of free time and then a guided tour for an hour and a half before we had to go to our hotel for the evening. Now what really happened: One of the girls on our Bus Trip went down for breakfast with her purse (which happened to contain all her money, credit cards and passport) and while she was serving herself from the buffet, she left her purse unguarded at her table. You could imagined what followed. So, while she was at the police station filling out the documents for her stolen passport, the rest of us had to stay on the bus for three and a half hours watching a movie in a parking lot waiting for her. It's too bad it happened because we ended up not getting any free time by the time we arrived in Vienna and out guided tour was cut to only an hour. We still got to take the Ferris Wheel to see all of Vienna but we didn't get to explore the fair or anything. I still managed to buy a treat before we had to leave on the bus to the hotel; it is pretty much a giant cream puff about 30 cm long and 8 cm wide. We stayed at Vienna for the night inside the hotel but there was a bar on the top floor so all the students went up there to play pool, dance and talk until the early morning.

Day 7 - We quitted Austria and then headed to Italy. We spent the most part of the day in the bus but once when we arrived at our hotel, (which was situated in a town called Lido Di Jesolo; a touristic summer spot including a beach and a street full of shops, gelato shops and pizzerias) I went walking in the downtown area and then I went to the beach. We were all joking around, playing in the water and later with the other Canadian on the Bus Trip (who is actually from my district back home in Canada) went walking off on the beach looking for shells (she's in the picture with me.) I also bought my pin; it is a venetian mask. They use them for when they do their carnavals. We had supper that night and then after we went to a restaurant and ordered gelatos! I got one that is very famous: Spagetti gelato. It's vanilla ice cream with a special strawberry sauce topped with fresh strawberry slices (yumm!). After the others went to a discotheque and I went back to the hotel (I didn't feel like dancing with random strangers that night). 

Day 8 - We woke up and took a boat to one of Italy's most known cities. Yes, we went to Venise. The city of beauty. This city took my breath away, I will do everything in my power to go back to it and walk it's streets again. We arrived just before lunch, had a guided tour for an hour, and then my friends and I bought 2 euro pizza in one of the hidden streets of Venise. I could tell you this, it was THE BEST 2 euro pizza I have ever had in my life. We all met up after so we could be divided into groups of 6 and take a ride in a canal boat for thirty minutes. I felt so rich haha! After, we had free time in which we just explored Venise. At one point we found this bookshop where there was just rooms and rooms ful of unorganized books. Then we would go into shops where there was venetian masks professionally done (costing about 200 euros or more!) Out of the entire Bus Trip, it was my favourite city. It was so hard to leave it at the end of the day. We went back to Lido Di Jesolo to sleep at the same hotel for the night.

Day 9 - We finally left our sweet Lido behind and travelled to another one of Italy's well known cities. We arrived in Milan just in time for lunch. My Canadian friend and I went to a restaurant and ordered pasta! I really want to try the ravioli in Italy so I ordered just that. And I must say, it was just as good as I thought it would be! We then found an ice cream place and out of all the times that I tried Italian ice cream, that day in Milan was the best. Everyone who asked to try a bit agreed with me. We then had our guided tour and after we had free time to explore Milan a bit. Since Milan is the city of fashion, I decided I had to buy something there. So, I found a new pair of shoes that I have been wanting for a while for 10 euros and decided to get them. I also got to see the famous cathedral in Milan and go inside it. We then took the bus to the outskirts of Milan to find our hotel for the evening. After supper, one of my friends had the movie "Midnight in Paris' on her laptop and we watched it together with some other people.

Day 10 - We left to head back to my country; France. After taking the tunnel through Mont Blanc, we arrived at Chamonix. When we arrived, my brother (who is also taking an exchange with the same organisation as I am) was there to meet me. We had lunch together at Subway (the first time I've had Subway since I've left Canada) and then he waited for me as I took a little train up the mountain (about 1903 km) to see "la mer de glace' (the frozen river). After, I took the train down and met up with my brother again to explore the cute little village. We slept at Chamonix that night.

Day 11 - We left early in the morning for Geneva, Switzerland. We arrived before lunch and had a guided tour in the ONU. Our tour guide was really intelligent and gave lots of interesting information that a lot of us didn't know about. After the tour, we had time to eat (I had another falafel) and then we left towards Dijon to sleep there for the evening.  
Day 12 - Our last and final day. We left for Paris and stopped at a road stop to have lunch together one last time. It was a really emotional day; we had to say goodbye to the people we got so close to over the last 12 days and I had to also say goodbye to people I have been with this entire year for they were leaving this week to return to their country. I cried a lot, hugged a lot, and now I will just have to hold onto the memories and remember the moments.
And that is the end of my bus trip. In about 21 days, I will be taking the plane back to Canada. I'll write a new post soon (if I don't get to busy!)

Bisous <3