A Summer Trip Across Europe

by Anders Bruihler / Sep 04, 2012 / 0 comments

Right now my family is taking a year off everything to travel the world.  We will go to countless places around the world, but there are certainly many others that we will not make.  We started two months ago, and we’ve had a fantastic time so far.  


On our trip so far we have gone through most of Europe.  There have been many different interesting things that we have done, and it would take too long to go through all of them.  I’m going to try to talk about only the most interesting activities we did. 


Before we even started our trip around the world, one weekend we went to the Tara canyon to go rafting.  It’s the second deepest in the world, and it was magnificent.  When we went rafting we saw the canyon from a very interesting perspective.  This shows the gigantic bridge that we went under when rafting. 


Tara Canyon



Later we also went hiking up on the top.  Here’s a photo of me up on the top of the canyon with the great view. 


Tara Canyon



Later, after the start of the trip, we were in Krakow, Poland.  I had been there when I was small before, and I had a very vivid memory of this one dragon statue.  We had come out of dark caves beneath the castle and there had been this giant metal dragon.  When we went back, I was thrilled to be able to see it again.  Here I am in front of that same metal dragon statue, and it’s breathing fire. 


Krakow, Poland



Then we (my dad and I) went to Auschwitz.  It was a rather gloomy place, and the cloudy, misty, day did not make it any better.  Here’s one of the many exhibits that they had of items taken from the inmates, this one of prosthesis.  These had been taken from their dead owners after they were killed in the gas chambers. 




In the smaller camp, they had partially reconstructed the gas chambers used.  These were two ovens used in that camp.




When we went to the main, bigger camp, I was stunned at how big it was.  The remains of the buildings seemed to stretch on and on.  Most of them were wooden, but a pair of chimneys remained for each previous building. 





When we went to Vilnius, Lithuania, we went to have dinner at some old friend’s house.  Rimas, the husband, invited us to go and see his lab.  He is a forensic archeologist, and I was thrilled at the invitation.  When we went, we got to see some different skeletons.  There was a student there, and she gave us her presentation on her skeleton.  It was really cool to realize how much they can find out from those old bones.  Here she is talking to Luke, my brother.


Vilnius, Lithuania



We also went to Trakai, a castle in Lithuania.  The castle itself is like any old castle, but after we went to that we got to do something fun.  We went Zorbing on the lake!  If you haven’t heard of Zorbing, it’s when you get in a giant plastic ball (a little like a hamster ball).  You can do many things in it, like going down hills, or rivers, or on a lake, and it’s lots of fun.  My brother and I had tons and tons of fun.  I can’t wait to do it again!


Trakai, a castle in Lithuania



When we were in Denmark, we went to the Legoland there.  I love Lego, and have always wanted to go to a Legoland.  The first day when we were there, it was cloudy, cool, and raining on and off.  Did that stop us from going on the water ride where the point was to squirt people and be drenched yourself too?  Of course not!  We all got in our raincoats (except Mom) and then piled into one of the boats on a side.  It was lots and lots of fun!  That’s me in the photo with the blue raincoat. 


Legoland, Denmark



We also went to the Widex headquarters when we were in Denmark.  Widex is the company that makes my hearing aids, and we planned to go by their headquarters to get them fixed after they broke.  The photo shows me in front of their green headquarters, with solar panels on the walls and windmill visible.


Widex HQ, Denmark



My dad asked if we could have a tour when we were there, and they said yes.  We got to see many things on the tour.  Here’s a photo of one woman working on custom in-the-ear hearing aids. 


Widex HQ, Denmark



In The Hague, The Netherlands, we went to see some of the old windmills.  The ones we saw were used to pump the water up into canals.  Here’s a picture of one of them and the upper canal. 


The Hague, The Netherlands



When we went to Paris, we did the Fat Tire Bike Tour there.  It was a good thing to do and it gave us an idea of Paris and what else we wanted to do.  We had a really good guide too.  In this photo, you can see Luke, me, and our guide in front of the military school and the Eiffel Tower behind that.  It was a lot of fun!





We also went to the Normandy D-Day beaches.  We spent most of the day at the museum, but did make it to the beach that the Canadians attacked.  Here’s me sitting on a bunker. 


 Normandy D-Day beaches



And of course we went to the Louvre too!  We went around a lot of the art museum (not all of it, there are more than 8 kilometers of hallways total) and saw most of the famous things.  Here I am in front of the Mona Lisa, complete with a few of the many people also getting photos.  There was a crowd in front of her the whole day. 





Then we went to England.  Or is it the United Kingdom? Or Britain?  I still don’t really get it.  We stayed at our friend’s house, and they took us to a national park.  Robin Hood was thought to have lived there, and there was also Little John’s grave.  There was also the inspiration for the mansion in Jane Eyre.  Charlotte Bronte had visited this area and seen a house that became the inspiration for Thornfield Manor.  I had read this book with my class, and was excited to see it.  It was a lot smaller than I had imagined.  Here’s a picture of the house. 





In London we also went on a bike tour.  We got to see then end of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace.  They all wore their fuzzy hats and red uniforms.  Here’s a picture of the band marching by.


 changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace



The next day we went to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  It had been reconstructed as close as possible to the theatre that Shakespeare’s plays had been performed in his time.  They had even used goat’s hair as insulation for the walls. There are no microphones.  Even the actors have to wear the olden style of clothes for the plays.  Here you can see the stage inside on which plays are performed.


Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre



Then we went to see Stonehenge.  It is really a mystical place, and no one knows how it was built.  There are giant stone weighing up to 50 tons standing upright, and other still massive ones on top of others.  It was all built two thousand years B.C., which makes this mystery even more complex.  I won’t bother going into the many rumors about it (including everything from a calendar to a place of worship to something built by aliens or giants), but nobody knows for sure.  This picture shows the path the sun comes down in the middle of the summer. 





When we went back to the France side, we had a chance to see some of the bunkers that were built during WWII by the Germans.  We saw a giant bunker and drove by it.  There was a giant artillery gun outside it.  We stopped there for a little bit, but we didn’t have the time to go through it.  I walked by the fence and took a few photos.  In this photo you can see the side of the circular bunker and also part of the big gun.  If you look below the first ‘E’ in the ‘MUSEE’, you can see two people.  That gives you an idea of how big the bunker and gun were.


WWII bunkers



When we went to the Disneyland in Paris we had so much fun, even though my brother hurt his back after the first ride.  We still managed to do lots of the rides, and spent over twelve hours at the amusement park.  My iPod pedometer measured 10,562 steps, but I stopped it about halfway through.  When we left it was dark, but there were still tons and tons of people.  Near the exit I got a photo looking down the ‘Main Street, USA’ at the castle.  You can see the crowds of people that were there.


Paris Disneyland



I was really excited to be able to go to CERN.  It has the biggest particle collider in the world, and we managed to get on a tour.  We got to see the control room of the Atlas collider, and there were many people sitting at computers.  Projected screens lined one of the walls. 





And now we are camping on the shores of the Bodensee Lake.  There would be many fantastic pictures I could put of this beautiful region, but it’s been cloudy and rainy our whole time so far.  So, nothing for here.  I think I’ve written more than enough for this, so I’ll stop here.  I hope this has been a good summary of my vacation so far! 





Anders Bruihler is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program.

All photos courtesy and copyright Anders Bruihler