Thursday, June 21, 2012

EUROTOUR pt. I: Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, and France

Yesterday, on the 20th of June, I sailed across the Baltic Sea from Finland for the last time in my exchange. This week I said goodbye to many of the exchange students I have gotten to know so well over the past year. It is unbelievable to think that ten months ago I was just meeting these people at the Karkku Language Camp, six months ago I was skiing with them in Lapland, three months ago I was crossing the border to Russia with them, and only two days ago touring Europe with them. It still feels surreal.

But, I'm now back in Tartu and it's not time to say goodbye just yet. So I now present to you... EUROTOUR (part one):

Eurotour started on the 3rd of June in Turku, Finland, with an overnight cruise to Sweden. Highlights of the cruise include Swedish meatballs and tiramisu. The next day our two buses began the long drive to southern Sweden, and along the way we quickly stopped at a candy factory because, well, candy.

After that, we took a ferry to the next country on our tour, Denmark...

In Copenhagen we were given a free evening to spend at Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park packed into the middle of the city. On Tuesday, we had a bus tour of Copenhagen. Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worst, so it was cloudy and rainy for a bit.

Despite the weather, I had a great time in Denmark. Soon we moved on to the next country, the Netherlands...

The Netherlands
Something about the scenery in the Netherlands really stuck with me. It was full of fields and pastures, but each house had its own yard with sheep and such, and some even had a moat surrounding their houses. We stopped at a cheese & clog factory and then had lunch at a small town on the coast before moving on to Amsterdam.

This town really reminded me of something you would see on Martha's Vineyard, MA.
In Amsterdam, we took a cruise of the canals and visited the Anne Frank house. I would have to say that Amsterdam was one of my favorite places of the whole trip, simply because of the interesting architecture and the overall vibe of the city.

Then, off to Belgium!

We made a quick stop in Brussels to have a tour and some free time in the city. Fortunately I was able to meet up with one of my friends from NH on exchange in Belgium, so naturally we ate chocolate covered waffles.

Audrey's blog:

After our short stop in Brussels, we moved on to France. We went straight to Paris, where we stayed for a few nights. On Friday we had a tour of Paris by bus, roamed around Versailles, and took a cruise on the Seine, but on Saturday we were given a free day and night to explore Paris on our own... This was another highlight of the trip. During our free day we visited the Eiffel Tower (though the line was too long to go to the top), the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre. That night I went out with a small group of friends to a nice restaurant, where we ate escargot! (I actually wanted to try frog's legs too, but couldn't find anywhere that served it...) After that we roamed the Parisian streets (and metro) until finally getting back to the hotel.

On Sunday, June 10, we drove through France to Grenoble, where we got our first taste of the Alps... After an overnight in Grenoble, we continued through the French Alps, in the direction of Nice.

That's all for now... Coming soon: The rest of France, Monaco, Italy, Austria and Germany.

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