Okay Cassie… all you have to do is write about the past two weeks of your exchange, it shouldn’t be this hard! After procrastinating writing my blog for maybe the past three weeks, here I am, back again! I’ve been on my Eurotour, a great adventure, which I still, can’t believe really happened. It went by so quickly, and was yet another thing coming to an end. Since the beginning of my exchange, Eurotour has been something that I had been really looking forward to and have seen as something at the end of my exchange. It was such an amazing experience, and I made many memories and made so many friends! Since our days were very long, I won’t go into too many details about our day… only the most important parts!
Day 1: Our first stop of the entire Eurotour was Paris. There would be two busses taking about 80 of us from Slovakia and the Czech Republic. One bus went to Bratislava, and the other went from Brno to Prague. Nick and I got picked up in Prague in the afternoon along with many other students. We then embarked on one of the longest bus rides that I had ever been on! Both busses travelled together and made several stops. We went through Germany and arrived to Paris in the early morning.
Day 2: This would be our first official day. We arrived to Paris to a gas station at about 5:30 in the morning. We all got changed into different clothing in the gas station bathrooms then continued on the way to the hotel to drop off our luggage. We were going to be staying just outside of Paris in a hotel that was still accessible by metro. We dropped off our luggage in a very small room then started on our way to the city. We started with a walking guided tour of Paris and learned a lot about the history and different parts of Paris. We walked through some very beautiful parks and got to see the Notre Dame. We then went to the Louvre. This was an amazing experience for me, because I have a very large appreciation for art. I went with a group of girls and we saw a lot of exhibits. We saw a lot of “must-see” pieces, then went to see Islam, Greek, African and American art.
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Day 3: On this day, we got to see how the Sun King lived. We arrived to the Versailles palace. We spent an hour or two in the gardens. It was amazing how much space there was. The garden was so green and so clean cut. We got to enter into the palace and it was crazy to see how the palace was decorated. I was in awe in almost every room. I also tried my first ever macaroon. After this, we went to Pigalle and saw the Moulin Rouge. We then had another walking tour of this area. We learned about the Moulin Rouge then continued up the streets. We saw where Vincent Van Gogh used to live. We saw some street art and learned more about the history of this area. Finally, at the top of the hill, we saw the Saint-Pierre de Montmartre church. Here, we had such a beautiful view of Paris. Also, it was interesting to learn how the church is made out of a specific type of stone that cleans itself when it rains. Where the rain doesn’t hit, there were black patches.
Day 4: We got to see the Eiffel Tower! This was a place that we had all been very excited to see. We took the metro to the Eiffel Tower and we all cheered when we turned around the corner which revealed the Tower. It was probably frightening for the other people to see a group of 80 students screaming after turning around the corner. After seeing it, we took a group photo, and then we went to go wait in line to go to the top. We waited in a long time in a line to take the stairs up to the second floor. It was amazing to be on top of the Eiffel Tower and see all of Paris. Afterwards, we had some free time to buy food and to relax before heading on the bus overnight to Barcelona. In my free time, me and a group of my friends went to go buy some ice cream. Then, we sat in front of the Eiffel tower on the grass. It felt almost surreal, like I was in a movie. Then, we got onto the bus and departed for Barcelona. During this bus ride, I actually got a bit of sleep so it didn’t feel as long. Then, I woke up and it was my birthday!
Day 5: We arrived to Barcelona in the early morning and once again had to get ready in a gas station. It was my birthday and Nick made everyone sing happy birthday to me in the gas station. It was a good start to my day! We arrived to the city and put our bags into the hotel. The weather was supposed to be bad for our days in Barcelona except for this day, so we prepared for a day at the beach. We went on a very short sightseeing tour of the center, then walked a long way to the beach. We walked past a park and saw an extremely beautiful fountain. We didn’t get much information on what exactly it was, but it was one of the most beautiful fountains I had ever seen! We then arrived to the beach and had some free time. It was nice weather and we got to just relax. I loved being near the water. So far, I was loving Barcelona!
Day 6: At this point, I was convinced that I was meant to live in Barcelona! Everyone that we encountered were so happy and kind. In the morning, we were split into three groups. We had free time in the morning, so we sat in a café for a bit, then walked to the beach. The weather was pretty rainy, so we ended up having a bus tour. We had the funniest tour guide that I ever had. She was an older woman, but had a lot of interesting things to say. I would say that she was pretty loopy. She even put on different shoes in the morning! We went on the bus tour up to this palace and the Jardins de Joan Maragall. We had a very nice view of Barcelona from here. Afterwards, we went to lunch, then to the Sagrada Familia. This was such an amazing experience. It was so open and colourful. I was just in awe! Afterwards, we had some free time on La Rambla. I walked with one of my friends and we went back to the beach.
Day 7: This day was a bit interesting and definitely the longest day of the entire trip. In the morning, I woke up and was feeling a bit off. I went to the bathroom to do my makeup. There were a few other girls in the bathroom, but only one that standing beside me. I was doing my makeup when I started to have some really bad pain in my abdomen. I ended up fainting and luckily the girl standing beside me caught me before I fell and hit my head on the bathroom stalls. I was having the worst pain in my lower stomach and I wasn’t sure what was going on. They brought me to the hospital and they did a lot of tests. They also gave me a few bottles of painkillers as well as sugars through an IV. It was a terrifying experience. I’m so thankful for the Rotarian that stayed with me, and for the care of the hospital. They were very good and very efficient. They found out that I had an infection and they prescribed me some antibiotics and painkillers. I would take two painkillers together three times a day and one antibiotic for seven days. I started to feel a lot better and luckily didn’t miss much in the morning. We then went to the Park Güell and spent some time here. This was our last day in Barcelona, so we then got some free time in the center to get some food. It was a crazy coincidence because when we arrived by the center there were a lot of people holding the Football Club Barcelona flags. I’m pretty sure the entire city was lining the streets. We were confused what was happening, and it turns out that the FCB was going to come through the town on a bus to celebrate a victory. (I think). There was a lot of music and a lot of people waiting to see the team. We waited and got to see the bus go by. Even though I am not a big football (soccer) fan, it was a crazy experience. When the bus passed, all the fans walked beside the bus. After this, we escaped the crowd and went to get food. We then met, and loaded the ferry. We were going to take a ferry from Barcelona to Rome. We arrived and this ferry was huge and very luxurious. In the previous years, there had been various different group that had been on the ferry with the exchange students. Last year, half the boat was empty. This year, there was a HUGE group (maybe 4-5 busloads) of 20-30 year old Serbian men and women. They were ready to party during the night that we would sleep. In fact, they started their partying right away when we got onto the boat. We just had to be a bit more careful, because there were a lot of really loud and rowdy people on our boat. We were allowed to have a lot of free time, then go to a “club” at 12:30 and stay until about 2. The Rotarians were all supervising us, and luckily the Serbians were partying on the roof, so we got the club to ourselves. It was a very fun night, but I had to go to bed earlier because I was very tired from my day at the hospital. It was a very long day, but everything turned out to be okay!
Day 8: This was such a relaxing day, and just the day that I needed after the day before. We got to just relax because the boat would arrive about 19:00 to Rome. We just hung out, ate, then left the boat. We arrived to Rome, and just checked into our hotel.
Day 9: Today we got to see the coliseum and learned a lot about the history. It was again, surreal being there. We then got to go on a four hour walking tour of the area. We saw a lot of famous places then got some free time in the center. In the center, we arrived to a group of men singing very loudly in two pubs. They were the Liverpool football team fans. Travelling through Europe during football season was very interesting. It was around lunchtime and in the pub the men were just singing a lot of songs and being very loud. They were singing for HOURS. We then finished the day by going to the Spanish stairs.
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Day 10: We travelled to Vatican city. We had a lot of free time here to see whatever we wanted. I went with a group of friends and we went straight to the Sicilian Chapel. On our way there, we stopped in a lot different museums and buildings. Everything was so breathtaking and I was just freaking out because of all of the beauty around me. I believe we had almost five hours to explore whatever we wanted. When we were actually there, to see the Michelangelo ceiling, it was very modest. We weren’t aloud to take any photos and we had to be very silent. I think out of all the rooms, my favourite was the room of maps. It was hard to imagine all the artist creating these huge pieces of art and even more so the art on the ceiling! After this, we went to get some lunch. We then went to the meeting point, which was in the square by the basilica. When we were there, we had a “dance battle” with a group of German students. Just exchange student things haha. Then we got on a bus ride to our next destination: Naples. We arrived to our hostel which was actually just outside of Naples center. We got to have a dance party in the evening and it was probably the best hostel we stayed in!
Day 11: On this day, we experienced the worst luck! We had a hike up the Vesuvius volcano planned, but the weather was terrible. We arrived and were in a cloud. It was very rainy and windy. We still got to walk up and learn about the history, but unfortunately we couldn’t see the volcano. After going back to the hotel to dry off, we went to Pompeii. We learned a lot about how life was. It was interesting to think about how people lived and how it would have felt. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel.
Day 12: We went into the Naples center to have a short walking tour. We didn’t get to see too much of Naples, and I wish that we could have stayed longer. We were in the center then got a bit of free time to buy some food and to explore before a bus ride to Florence. I went with one of my friends and we walked down some of the streets and of course, bought gelato! Naples is the best place to get pizza, so of course I had to try some as well! After our free time, we boarded a bus to Florence! We arrived to our hostel. This hostel was actually very beautiful. We could climb up to the top and see a very nice view of the city. There were also a lot of plants, it was very cute. We had free time in the evening for a few hours. We decided to go into the city and explore a bit. We ended up in the center and saw the Dóm Santa Maria del Fiore!
Day 13: We had some options today. We got to either go to the Galleria Dell Academia (home of the original David statue and other Michael Angelo originals) or start with a walking tour. I decided to start at the Museum, then go on the walking tour. The gallery was actually quite small, but I was of course freaking out about all the pieces inside. Afterwards, we had a short walking tour of the center of Florence. We then had some free time. We then left for Venice. In the evening, we arrived to our last hotel which was right beside the beach. After dinner, we had some free time, so you can imagine how fast we ran to the beach. Of course, I also got thrown into the ocean…with all my clothes on. It was such an amazing last night on the tour.
Day 14: This was our last day, but also one of the best days! We went to Venice by boat in the morning. We had a “scavenger hunt”. We had to take photos in front of places as well as learn some facts about the places we saw. My group and I decided that we would just start by exploring on our own, then doing a few of the activities. We walked through a lot of the streets and the canals. We then got some food then we started to complete some of the scavenger hunt. We didn’t get close to finishing it, but we got to see every place we wanted to! We then got to go on a boat ride. It was very beautiful and something that I’ve always wanted to do. Afterwards, I believe we had some more free time, then we had to leave. We got onto our bus and headed to a supermarket. We had time to change, get food, and say goodbye. We would then go on a bus ride overnight. It was terribly long and we were all exhausted when we arrived to Brno in the morning.
Overall, the Eurotour was so fun. I got to travel with some of my best friends and see places that I’ve always wanted to see. I got to see a lot of art and learn a lot.
I hope you will enjoy some of these photos. Also, please watch the video that I posted on my Youtube channel about my trip.
Thanks for reading!