L&E World Camps, Teen Travel & Young Global Leaders

Teen Travel Euro Blog

21 July 2019 by  

  • Gaia – Italian

  • Isaac – British

  • Emily – Dutch

  • Piotr – Polish

  • Julie – British

  • Hayley – British

DAY 1:

Having gotten up at what seemed like an unnecessary time in the morning (3:15 AM) a taxi journey took from our start at Aysgarth School (L&E North Camp) to our departure location at Leeds Bradford Airport. After a set of coffees and pastries we bordered our flight, being none the wiser of the fact that the Teen Travel hoodies we were all sporting would soon become dead weight in the heat wave of Europe. Emily joined us in Amsterdam to complete the group of six (4 teens and 2 Travel Mentors). After a short metro connection we dropped our bags off at the hostel before entering the city centre by underground. A sandwich bar provided us with our working lunch before we had a well deserved nap in Vondelpark. Having restocked our snack supply in a local Albert Heijn (supermarket) we put down our deposit for our two hour boat trip round the canals Amsterdam is so widely known for. Each of us took turns to drive our boat finally getting us back just as the sun began to sink. Having had an early start that morning we went on the hunt for food and eventually found ourselves ordering ramen at the central stations Wagamama. A short metro ride back and we were tucking ourselves back in to our hostel room, thankful for the change to finally hit the hay.

DAY 2

We had a relaxed morning which was well deserved then we planned and booked some activities, hostels and trains for the following days and we finally went sightseeing to enjoy the city. The marijuana & hush museum was the first interesting stop followed by the monument against homophobia and the Anne Frank house, which unfortunately we could not see, having to book tickets weeks/months before. Exhausted after 15 km of walking we went to eat to an elegant sushi restaurant and returned to the hostel tired, but satisfied.

Day 3

As the temperatures soared around Europe we rented some bikes to cycle to a nearby park which had a lake.We enjoyed relaxing and eating our brunch before returning the bikes to then get back into the city to head to our next destination.The next few hours seemed to be adversity after adversity!We missed our first train to Cologne due to a ticket machine being out of order at the local metro station.We tried to get the next train to Cologne but this one was cancelled.We then had to wait 2 hours before we could finally start our 4 hour journey to Cologne.The heat was building and as we finally arrived in Cologne it was over 30 degrees and well past 10pm! It was straight to bed which was hard in the heat but we all did manage to get some sleep.

Day 4 

Another hot day, the warmest of all past 40 degrees!!! We had breakfast at the Cologne Central Station then after eating breakfast we went to see Cologne Cathedral. After seeing this monument we wandered down the main shopping street and took shelter in the shops for shade. We were pleased that a Teen Traveller from last year who lives in Frankfurt got the train to Cologne to meet us. Together with her we went to the Belgian Quarter where we ate lunch. On returning to our hostel we stayed in a grocery store for pasta ingredients made by girls as well as ingredients for the last breakfast in Cologne. After eating the lovely dinner, we took Beatrice be to the train station to wave her off.

Day 5

We had arrived in Brussels after a long journey and we went to check into the hotel.  We had a little exploration then we ate lunch and visited a famous chocolate shop where they had the most amazing ice-cream!  We had a lovely dinner and watched the world go by from our restaurant followed by a walk around the main square to fine some waffles for dessert – it didn’t take us long as the waffles were EVERYWHERE! 

DAY 6 

After a hearty breakfast in the rain, finally after the heat in Cologne the weather had given us a bit of coolness!!!  We then went to the chocolate museum in Brussels. 

There we got to know the history of chocolate, the “brown gold”, and we were delighted with a final tasting … Yummi! 

But sometimes duty calls: we had to do the laundry, even though we actually had a lot of fun with dancing and singing.

For dinner we ate some tasty hamburgers and after an evening stroll through the beautiful city and again, waffles for dessert.

Day 7 

We arrived in Paris after our VERY early start happy and a little tired.  Our accommodation was one of the more interesting as it was used as a conference centre.  The room had a small table and chairs, 2 bathrooms and 2 showers!!!!  What luxury!  We were lucky again to be met by Marianne who is another Teen Travel alumni who lives in Paris – she joked that she could be our tour guide for the day.  Our luck would strike again as the Tour de France would finish in Paris today and we were all very keen to watch the cyclists come past the finish line.  We all had a lovely lunch together then we visited the Louvre and from there to the nearby park. Marianne then left us and we thanked her for her advice. We then went to the Champs Elysées to see the Tour de France which was very exciting!  Our day ended with a trip up the Eiffel Tower – again to our luck the Tower lit up at 10pm as we were on the 2nd floor – it was magical to see the lights whilst standing on the tower. 

After a very long and very exciting day we headed home to rest as another big and exciting day followed! 

Day 8 

After having slept through the numerous alarms we’d set to get us out of bed that morning we eventually left the hotel at about 11. We picked up breakfast from the local supermarket on our way to the station. Having bought tickets for the train to Disneyland we sat down to relax and eat our breakfast as the train moved (to our knowledge) towards the magical kingdom. Upon arrival at Charles de Galle Airport we realised we had misunderstood our route and would have to work out how to make our way back to the stop we should’ve changed at. In the end we decided that Taxi was the best/cheapest option, and after about half an hour we had the Disney palace in our sights. After eating our lunch in one of the gardens we began our explorations of Mickeys world. After having been able to mostly avoid the queues for big ride such as Hyperspace Mountain. We had a short dinner break at 9:30 before rushing off for one final loop of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. Spots for viewing of the illuminations were secured and we joined the masses to witness the parks closing spectacle. We then flocked like many towards the metro station, after buying tickets we boarded our train back into the city. Unfortunately the ride was cut short, leaving us at an unfamiliar station needing to get back at 1 o’clock in the morning. We eventually took a short taxi ride back to the hotel. Finally settling into bed at 2am the next day.

Day 9 

After our late night getting back from Disneyland we had an early start as we had to check out of our hostel quite early. A few tired faces at breakfast were perked up by our free breakfast. We also looked into storing our bags at Gare du Nord station in preparation for our train to London later. We really wanted to see the Norte Dame so we headed there first. The group had mixed emotions when faced with the severely damaged building, we walked all the way around and those of us who had seen it before remembered how it had looked before the fire. 

We bought some snacks and sat by the River Seine and played table football. There were some competitive games and some less competitive games.  It was lovely sitting and chatting and watching the world go by.  When in Paris – eat snails, so we did! A lovely restaurant very close to Gare du Nord served us mussels, snails, French fries and fancy sparkling water in an ice bucket. Most of us tried snails and thoroughly enjoyed them! 

We crossed the road to Gare du Nord and picked up our bags and searched for our platform. It was much like boarding a plane, passport checks and bags scanned. The Eurostar looked like every train we had been on, but it was definitely more exciting!  A short 2 & 1/2 hours later we were in London! It was late but the teens had already figured out to get to our hostel. Another Safestay which was very close to Elephant and Castle which Gaia tells us was an Inn many years ago. We headed straight to bed excited for the next few days exploring our last city. 

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