On the 3rd of June I and the other exchange students here in the Netherlands embarked on the trip we’d all been looking forward to, eurotour!

We began in the Dutch city of Lelystad, sleeping over for a night with host families and then gathering together to board a bus which would become very familiar to us for the next two weeks.

Our first stop on the trip was Berlin, capital of Germany. After traveling to the city we spent our first full day having a bus tour of the city, particularly focusing on the city’s divided history. We got dropped off for free time in the city around midday and a big group of us chose to head in the direction of the east side gallery, the largest section of wall which still stands today.

I travelled with a smaller group of friends back through the city for lunch, and then the holocaust memorial.

In the afternoon we all met together for a tour of the reichstag, the German parliament.

On the 5th of June we left Berlin and headed for Kraków, Poland. The city is amazing and our first walk through the city to get dinner that night was way better than Berlin. The city feels far more full of life and colour than the grey urban sprawl of Berlin.

We had a free morning in Kraków, which I spent in the main square of the city, before meeting to visit the Auschwitz concentration camp memorial. We were given a guided tour which was confronting to say the least but definitely worth it. I’ve actually written a separate blog post about the experience which you can read here.

We had a second full day in Kraków, with tours of the amazing castle in the city centre, an art gallery, and plenty of free time.

From Kraków we travelled to Vienna, we only spent one day there but the beautiful city became one of my favourite places, we had a bike tour of the city with an awesome guide, and a free afternoon. During the night we visited the Prator theme park. I might have thrown up on one of the rides, which was terrible timing as we spent that night driving to Italy and had to sleep in the bus, we all had a pretty restless night and feeling nauseous didn’t help.

We arrived in Jelo de Deso, a beach town outside of Venice in the morning though, and had a whole day of free time at the beach! It was an awesome day just relaxing together.

Our second day in Italy was our visit to Venice, the city was amazing although it was a super hot day and the whole place is packed with tourists. We had most of the day as free time, where we explored the city and got gelato, as well as a gondola tour in the afternoon.

The following day we travelled from Venice through to Chamonix; a town in the French alps at the base of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc.

Our full day in Chamonix was spent in the mountains, in the morning we hiked as a group, and after lunch we visited the Mont Blanc glacier. I ventured down with a group of friends into glacier, which was full of ice caves.

(Photos inside ice caves)

After Chamonix we headed to our final destination, Paris. We stayed in a hotel outside of Disney land, and the first of our two days was spent in the theme park.

Our second day in Paris was in the city proper, we had a bus tour and a picnic in the park, before being let go to explore the city.

After dinner we walked to the Eiffel Tower for a river cruise through a bit of the city, before spending our last night of the tour laying in front of the illuminated tower.

(Photo of tower)

Our last day was only traveling through Belgium back to the Netherlands, and saying goodbye to everyone who had made the trip so special. Most of the students would be finishing their exchange and heading home soon for the start of the northern hemisphere school year. The 7 of us from the Southern Hemisphere still have six months longer to stay, and soon we’ll be getting our own newbies.

I can’t believe I’ve been living here for 6 months and I already have to say goodbye to so many of these awesome people.

The Venice of the North

A day trip to the north of the Netherlands to the village of Giethoorn, the ‘Venice of the Netherlands’.

On the weekend of the 10th of March the Netherlands Rotary Youth Exchange Multidistrict Committee arranged a gathering for all of the Inbound Rotary Youth Exchange students to meet in Giethoorn, a small village in the north of the Netherlands famed for its absence of roads, with the only way to get around being canals or footpaths.
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A recap of the Dutch Orientation Course, which I attended with the other newly arrived Inbounders.

Several weeks ago, from the 27 February to the 2 March, the Netherlands Rotary Youth Exchange Multidistrict Committee brought all of the newly arrived Inbound Rotary Youth Exchange students together to the city of Eindhoven for our Dutch Orientation Course. We arrived on Tuesday night and spent three days studying the Dutch language and hanging out together.

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