Man have I not been bothered to post anything on EuroTour. I guess it’s just really hard to put 18 days of amazingness into words. But I can try. Here’s Berlin.
Berlin Day 1
So I arrived at Hertug Hans Platz (the meeting point where we were being picked up) fairly early and waited for the other exchange students in my town to come. Once they came, we hung around for a while but it was obvious we were all eager to get on the bus. The bus finally arrived half an hour late and we checked in with our first leader (Anders). I was trying to figure out where my friends were on the bus when I was greeted by two of my them gesturing impolitely at me. Thanks, guys. I sat down next to Katie and got my awesome red EuroTour jumper off her (which we’d ordered before the tour). I can’t remember much of the bus ride… I learnt that we had an American exchange student who was on exchange in Lithuania with us (there were two exchange students in Lithuania, so they didn’t exactly get a EuroTour). We also discovered that some German toilets sell some strange products. What a fun discovery.
I’m sure at one point we were introduced to our bus driver (also named Anders), our tour guide (Henrik) and our two leaders (Anders and Christina). Anders was a former exchange student who’d gone on exchange to Australia, to my district. Over the tour we discovered how many people we both knew because of our respective exchanges, which was pretty cool. Our leaders were the bomb diggity.
Anyway, we arrived not far from our hostel some time in the late afternoon, and transported our luggage to the hostel. We’d arranged our rooms on the bus (as we did every time we were about to stay in a new place) and I was bunking with two South Americans, Katie, Hannah, Catherine and Claire. It was fun taking our massive bags up the stairs… I suppose we got used to it after a while. After a mediocre dinner of spaghetti (where many unattractive photos of me were taken) everyone headed out with Henrik, who was taking us to see places in West Berlin (where we were staying). After a while the four of us (Katie, Matt, Jared and I) headed a different way, browsing through tourist shops and finding a McDonalds with an automatic machine; basically, you ordered through it and then picked up your order. It was pretty cool. I don’t think any of us had seen something like that before (look at this, EuroTour was broadening our horizons so early already!). We wandered towards a big street, finding a Cotton On (how amusing) and found a square with an interesting church and a fountain. Needless to say, we took photos in front of them. After a while we ventured further and walked past the zoo (it was really pretty!). I may have posed as a Berlin bear. We stopped by a supermarket and bought necessities for life (i.e., Milka and Haribo). Then we headed back to the hostel and chilled in the boys room as Matt, Jared and Seamus attempted to DJ on Jared’s computer. Matt was most definitely the worst at that (sorry). And that was day 1.
Berlin Day 2
The next day the bus drove us around some of the sights of Berlin, leaving us to either sleep or listen to Henrik as he told us what everything was. Most people listened as we weren’t tired (yet). We saw some statues, the Parliament, museums, the Tor, the Prime Minister’s(?) house, the Tiergarten (from the outside), the Tower, and some other places. We were dropped off at one of the remaining parts of the Wall that had been restored and given around half an hour to make our way from one side to the other. It was basically an opportunity for us to take a lot of photos.
So we took photos of ourselves and the Wall- some funny, others funnier still. I pride myself on taking one of the best photos ever that day. After laughing hysterically for who knows how long, we took some more photos and then we got on the bus again. We were taken to the Holocaust Memorial and then were set free. The four of us went to Brandenburger Tor, where we wereaccosted by someone dressed as a yellow dog. We’d taken a photo with this dog, and as we began to walk off, the dog jingled its paw (it made that sound because it was full of coins). Matt and I chose to ignore it, walking off in another direction quickly, but poor Katie had to pay the dog 2 euros. Once we’d taken a sufficient amount of photos with the gate and admired it greatly, we went towards Potsdamer Platz. On the way, we encountered a man selling ushankas. We expressed our desire to eventually buy ushankas for ourselves, and Matt stated (with a lot of determination) that he would buy one then and there. Actually I’m not sure whether he said that. Either way, the guy ambushed him and Matt did not have that much money so he unintentionally bartered with the guy until he paid 100DKK (~$17) for the ushanka. It was a pretty funny moment accompanied by video so the memories will last forever.
We continued towards Potsdamer Platz, saw it (nothing special) then went towards Checkpoint Charlie. I figured out that my Australian debit card didn’t work (only slightly worrying, considering I had half my money on it) but it wasn’t important yet as I still had my Danish one. We found Checkpoint Charlie and the museum shortly afterwards. Matt had to exchange money from kronor to euro so Jared, Katie and I waited inside the museum entrance. Anyway, Matt returned and we went in the museum, spending a fair amount of time in there. I’d been there twice before so it was interesting, but not mindblowing. I went to have a look in the gift store and in the meantime, Matt had a fun experience with one of the locals. Anyway, once we’d browsed for a while and he’d gotten over his loss, we left the store and went to (where else) McDonalds for food again (being poor exchange students means we can’t afford real food). They had some amusing Euro Cup promotion for their Happy Meals so we played soccer with them. Afterwards, we went another way back to the Memorial, stopping by a shopping centre on the way. We were picked up there and headed back to the hostel. Once dinner was over, the group of us went for a wander around a different part of West Berlin, then came back to the hostel at some point and hung around together again. And the next day we went to Prague.