Vale, Outbound to Germany

8 months in this beautiful city. How quickly time has flown by, it's scary to think that I have 2 months left before I return home. This past month, I've actually been traveling more than I've been at home which has been so fun and also a main reason that I am late in writing this journal. I recently came back from my long awaited Eurotour and it literally exceeded all of my expectations. It was probably one of the best 2 1/2 weeks of my exchange. My district, 1940 Berlin, left early on April 8th to Ostbahnhof, one of the main stations in Berlin. Our first destination was Dresden, a city located North East of Berlin. There we had a 1 hour tour of the city, since it is quite small, and met up with the 2 other districts that were accompanying us on the Eurotour, 1950 and 1880. That same day we drove to our second destination, Prague- Czech Republic. We had a city tour of 2 hours where we visited the famour Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle, the St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Old Town Square. The rest of the day was free time and there we walked around the city and had the luxury of beautiful sunny weather. We stayed 2 nights in Prague and then we left to our third destination, Budapest- Hungary. It was probably one of the most beautiful cities from the Eurotour. We stayed 2 nights and 3 days and I didn't waste a minute to go sightseeing. We saw the Buda Castle, the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Matthias Church, the Fisherman's Bastion and the Chain Bridge. It's also very similar to Berlin in the sense of being a youthful city. Lots of students and night life. From Budapest, we left to our 4th destination, Bratislava - Slovakia. Unfortunately, we only stayed for 2 hours which didn't allow us to see very much; however, the main "attraction" that we saw was the Bratislava Castle. We had to walk a bit up hill to reach it but the view of downtown Bratislava was very worth it. It was also a very sunny and beautiful day so we took memorable pictures. From Bratislava, we took a boat to Vienna which was surprisingly close, only a 2 hour ride. I had already been to Vienna before but the second time was also lots of fun! We had a lot of free time the 3 nights that we stayed there. Some of the sightseeing we did was the UNO, the Schönbrunn Palace, the Belvedere Palace, the St. Stephen's Cathedral, the amusement park Prater, the Vienna State Opera, and the art museum Albertina. Even seeing all of this, there was still so much left to visit. From Vienna we traveled to Venice, just about a 10 hour bus ride, the longest ride from the trip. We left early in the morning which allowed us to late in the afternoon but no time to go sightseeing. Actually, our hotel was in a small city in Italy called Lido, a (7-mile) long sandbar in Venice, northern Italy, and it is home to about 20,000 residents. We did however get to go swimming in the freezing ocean in Lido, quite an experience. We left early the next morning on a boat to visit Venice for the day. Absolutely beautiful. One of the first things we did was a Gondola ride, just like in the movies. Very peaceful and romantic. I loved riding it with my friends. We went to the Piazza San Marco, the Bridge of Sighs, and the San Marco Campanile. We took a wonderful water taxi tour on the Grand Canal and there we saw a lot of Venice: the Rialto Bridge, the San Giorgio Maggiore, the Ca' d'Oro, the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore as well as other well known cites that would take this entire report to write. Our next destination was Rome! One of the most awaited cities that exceeded my expectations. Some of the many sights we visited were the Vatican. I had the opportunity to see Pope Francis. The speech he gave was about 1/12 hours long since they had it translated in 6 different languages. Next we saw the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum which is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Next we saw the Piazza Navona, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum, the Spanish Steps, and the Altare della Patria. It was such a historical city with so many ruins yet its beauty remained still intact. I had one of the best gelato's in the world in Rome, Günther Rohregger Gelato. No ice cream has ever tasted as amazing as this one, there are just no words to describe this wonderful sweet. I ate so much pasta and pizza during Eurotour that I can't eat it for a while. I can now say that I've eaten real Italian pasta and that it was delicious! Our next stop was Innsbruck - Austria. This small city was mainly for relaxing from such an adventurous week. The beautiful mountains, the peaceful nature, and the warm sun restored the energy all 110 exchange students desperately needed. However, we did get to see a beautiful yet small castle called Linderhof Palace. One of the coolest castles I got to see Schloss Neuschwanstein, which is the same castle in Disney World. From Innsbruck we left to Bamberg - Germany, a town in northern Bavaria. There we had a small city tour where we saw the Altes Rathaus, the Stephanskirche, the St. Michael's Monastery and the Alte Hofhaltung. We also had some time to recover before the Eurotour came to an end in Berlin. We had 2 days in Berlin and on one of the nights Rotary took us the the Friedrichstadt-Palast where we got to attend a really cool must see show called The One Grand Show. Unfortunately every great trip must come to an end, and so I parted ways from great friends made on the trip; however, I met a ton of really great people that I can visit in the future. That's what's great about exchange, you meet people and also gain an extra home in all parts of the world. This past month was incredible and I am so honored to be here at this time. I've take over 100 photos but I can only share 8 favorites from this wonderful trip. Cheers to 8 months in Berlin!

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