I am using this blog to tell everyone what I'm thinking and doing beforehand, during and after my exchange year in Finland for 2011.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This Summer

In no particular order and now with links! 

This summer I:
Stay tuned for some posts about my summer

Eurotour - Day 19 and it comes to an end

The next day we had to be up super early for breakfast and be ready to get back on the bus for the very last time. We stopped at the Train station and there were tears and hugs all over again. Its not fun having to say goodbye to some of the best friends you've ever had. Then we all had to work out our tickets, there was only business class left on the train I meant to take so it meant I took the next one which was another 5 hours later so I spent the day with Christine which was nice. We had coffee and shopped a little bit before we met back with Joao and Meli at the train station. The ride was boring we were all too exhausted to socialise. We changed in Kouvola and the carriage we were in was like a sauna, it was crazy so we just found other seats and fell asleep again. Meli and Joao got off at Kuopio and that meant I was all out of oldies, I'd said goodbye to all of them for the very last time :( The train was running about an hour late but eventually I arrived in Iisalmi and Jarmo took me home where I managed to stay up long enough to tell my family I had a nice time and then fell asleep with no intention of waking up in the next 24 hours!

Back on Finnish soil

This was at the train station. 

So the Eurotour blogging is over, I thought it would never happen! A lot of people asked what was my favourite country and its hard to pick because we spent different amount of times in each one but the stand-outs were Denmark and Germany. The French Riviera was also a big highlight for me. I liked Germany because of the amazing yet terrible history. Its one of those countries where you could spend days in museums which I like and Denmark was great mostly because of the bikes and well I love theme parks! 
I was most looking forward to Italy and while it was great, being horribly sick didn't help my opinion on Italy! I hope everyone enjoyed reading about what I did, there is a noticeable fall in quality in the end and I am sorry for that. I just wanted to get them all done! Be sure to leave a comment if you have been reading along and you can see more photos on my Facebook. Also credit and thanks to any one who I have taken a picture from. 

Eurotour - Day 18

Today was spent on the boat, we had a late breakfast and just hung out and played cards, swapped pins and books till we had a bit of a party in the evening. There was some speeches and some tradition things that I shouldn't explain because we want them to be a surprise for the newbies. By the end there was a lot of tears and hugs all round. This is the last time that we would get to see our oldies and this was the last time our oldies saw pretty much everyone that they had known and become friends with over their year. It was surprisingly nice hearing Finnish again after being surrounded by English and a lot of Spanish for three weeks straight. There was a Sauna on the boat (off course) and a group of us spent a couple of hours there just telling stories about our exchanges. I had definitely missed Sauna a lot! 3 weeks without it is way to long. We didn't have a curfew so we stayed up pretty late playing card games. 

Eurotour - Day 17

We spent the morning sightseeing in Berlin, we stopped at Brandenburg Gate and there we also saw the memorial to all the Jews that were killed. While we were there a lot of us were interviewed by some German school children for their English class. Their English was amazing, they all looked about 11 or 12! We saw a giant euro and there was lots of people dressed up that you could take pictures with. Next we stopped at the Berlin Wall, not at all like I would have imagined it in my head and some of the paintings were really cool. We didn't get to stay very long which was a shame, I would have liked to look at some more of the artwork. We had lunch in a pub and then we all had free time for a few hours. Our group wanted some find some shops so we headed in a direction we thought was good, we stopped at a really strange sculpture park on the way and ran into a guy from Melbourne! We stopped at Starbucks and apparently it is kind of a big deal that I was loosing my "Starbucks virginity" as its called.  I can't even remember what I had, how promiscuous! We had to dash back to our bus then and we had a good 5 hours of driving. Finally we arrived at the dock but we had to wait a while before we got on the boat. We checked in after midnight and then fell asleep! Today was also the 21st which means 5 months since I left Australia. Crazy. 

The memorial

Lucho and Sophie :)

The Wall

At the sculpture park. I read this out loud and the people I was with just looked at me funny till I showed them that I was reading something. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Eurotour - Day 16

Today was mostly driving with a stop at the Nuremberg war museum in the morning. It was a really interesting museum but also really depressing.  We had lunch at a nice little pub and then we drove some more. We watched Little miss Sunshine and Click. We arrived in Berlin late in the afternoon and a big group of us went for a walk in search of some spaghettieis. Sophie speaks German so she always asked for directions in German but that night she asked for directions 3 times and none of the people we asked spoke German  We tried to pick non-touristy people but obviously we weren't very good at it. We did eventually find some spaghettieis and it looked really cool but wasn't as tasty as I had expected. 

In the museum

Sophie with her ice cream

The spagetti eis! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eurotour - Day 15

The morning was spent driving through the mountains and watching cheaper by the dozen. At lunch time we got to Innsbruck which was our only stop in Austria. We only had a couple of hours and I just looked around and bought some things and then had the most expensive lunch with Nadja, Victoria and Meritt. We had a few more hours of driving and then we arrived in this cute little German city and had a delicious dinner of snitchel and chips. We had a show from a guy playing the accordion and then two young boys came and danced for us and they were really good! Such a good first impression from Germany! More driving but we were all a bit sick of movies so we had a talent show instead and much hilarity was had! We arrived in Nuremberg rather late and there was some more suitcase lugging and then I went for a short walk with some others and we found this very strange statue that we think was about a poem. 



Germany with the darling Maddi

I missed you snitchel! 

Apparently we really sung that bad! 

Cake anyone?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Eurotour - Day 14

Somehow I had acquired way to much stuff and getting it all into my bag was such a stress, especially since I had a glass plate that I really didn't want to break. Eventually it all squashed in and we headed off in the bus. It was long trip to our next hotel and we watched a few movies and stopped at this tiny little town with this beautiful waterfall. We got to our hotel and I had about 15 minutes to decide if I was going on the hike. I decided on yes because it was I was looking forward to so much and I was so pissed that I was sick. It was cold which is great when you are sick right? I made it to the top though and there was snow! For some reason it felt like I hadn't seen snow in a long time but it was only about 2 months. We got to try the water from the creek on the way back and we met some cows that all had bells on so you could hear them walking around in the trees besides us even if we couldn't see them. It started to pour with rain about half way down and we got a bit soaked! When we got back to our hotel, we spent an hour being messed around by the owners. We didnt have a key and they gave us key after key and none of them worked. We had a really nice dinner with funny bread-sticks that were such a novelty. I skipped dessert and was a really lame sick person and went to bed. 

Heading up in to the mountains

Have I mentioned I love Nadja! 

My favourite Germans <3


Trying the water

Making some Italian friends.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Eurotour - Day 13

This was our free day in Jeslo but I was still really ill so I didn't do much. I went for an early morning swim to try and cool down and I was the only one in the water. I suspect that was probably because the water was freezing but I had a fever and everything felt warm to me. I didn't realise how much i'd missed the beach, just swimming out a couple hundred metres and floating is so peaceful. I lazed around on the beach for a while and drunk ice tea. The supermarket near us had 2 litre ice tea bottles and I think I drank at least two bottles that day! I went to the beach at lunch time and just lazed around with some people and talked. There had been a lot of drama the night before that I had missed out on. I had gelato for lunch and went back to my room and washed my clothes. They had told us we would be able to use washing machines in Jeslo but they were 10km away so we ended up washing everything by hand. I went to the beach again and buy then it was dinner time. I had my last Gelato in Italy after dinner and then tried to sleep. It was lucky that I the worst of my sickness coincided with a free day. I took very few pictures in Jeslo so here are some that I found on the Internet.

It was a really nice beach!

Eurotour - Day 12

The morning was rather eventful due to the fact that the hotel we were in was very old and the drainage in the bathroom was terrible and I managed to flood our room. Good times. We caught the bus down the harbour and took a boat to Venice. Venice was really incredible, the way it is cut up by canals and clock towers and the red of the bricks mixed with the sun reflecting on the water just made for a real site. It was so hot though and so we stuck to the lanes where the buildings acted as shade. I bought many lovely things in Venice and we spent most of the morning shopping and eating gelati and pizza for lunch. we had a group booking for gondola rides and it was really nice to see the city again from a different point! And the guy steering our gondola sung which was awesome! Nadja and I had bought masks and we put them on while we were in the gondola. Little did I know that I had glitter all over my face for the rest of the day until a lady at a shop we were in told me! Once we got off the gondolas I hung out with Maddi and we just talked and shopped. We had a free night that night but when you put 40 people on a bus, if one gets sick then others are going to get sick too and I had caught something horrible from someone. I spent my free night trying to survive in our hotel room which seemed to double as a sauna until I worked out how to use the air-con.

Eurotour - Day 11

Today was spent driving to Verona. We watched Summer Heights High on the way, good example of Australian school life for everyone? The weather was lovely, nice and warm but not too sunny. I was with my German friends Nadja and Victoria and we went to Juliet's balcony first and did some touristy shopping. We had fruit salad cups and then I got my first Italian Gelato! Strawberry, chocolate and choc chip, it was delicious! The Verona's flag is very similar to Sweden's flag so seeing the big flag on the side of the buildings was a little weird! We had to head back to the bus then and we drove another few hours to Lido de Jeslo. We went swimming in the lovely beach and Ana, Jackie and I went on an ATM hunt. It was dark and late and finally we found one, it was all in Italian though and wouldn't give us any money. A local offered to try her card for us and turned out the ATM had no money left in it. Seriously from my experience, people in Europe must carry a lot of cash! In Finland you can use your bankcard anywhere for any amount.

The Balcony

Nadja and I. I may have gotten sunburnt in Sisteron!