Thursday, April 26, 2018

I left Europe a little wiser but with a completely different mindset

987 October 28, 2015

Our journey began on an early sunny Tuesday morning. I headed to the airport together with my parents
and sister. At the entrance, I met up with the rest of the group and their families. As Teuta was giving
us our T-shirts and necessary documents, one could see we were all excited to be a part of this trip.
Our first stop was Berlin. After a travelling for a lot of hours we arrived in Berlin at last. In the Berlin
airport there was a bus waiting for us. I still remember laughing a lot, as Andi was sitting in the front
talking in Albanian to the German driver and calling him in traditional Albanian names. The driver who
didn’t understand a thing, continued to drive apparently unfazed by the noise we were making. At last
we arrived at the center of art and urbanistic. There we meet some of the project organizers and a lot of
people from Balkan. In order to get to know each other, the organizers of the event put on music and
told us to talk to the person in front of us when the music stopped. I met four people from Bosnia and
thought they were really friendly. After the game, we had dinner and got accommodated into our hotel
rooms. The other days spent in Berlin were as exciting as the first one.After taking a bus tour, we met
Doris Pack at the science academy, and later visited the city with our local heroes. Every group had a
different experience. The group I was in visited the Kreuzberg, which was a place where mostly artists
lived and saw how people were investing in old buildings, and making profits by renovating them and
selling them at a much higher price. In the last day we explored the city on our own, visiting places such
as Alexanderplatz, Bradenburg gate, Bode Musem, Egyptian museum and the Berlin wall.
Our next stop was to be Harderwijk in Holand, but by my mistake we actually ended up in Cologne and
visited the Kolner Dome instead. Two hours later we were back on the road. After arriving in Holand, we
visited Amsterdam and Rotterdam. There two cities were only half an hour apart by train, but different
as can be. While Amsterdam enchanted you with his old architecture and canals, Rotterdam had mostly
new modern buildings. I really enjoyed the boat ride in Amsterdam and seeing the I AMSTERDAM
letters. After Rotterdam we went to Brugge. Brugge was a small city with really old buildings and looked
like a movie set. In Paris we tried to visit as much touristic places as we possibly could. First we went to
Louvre Museum. It was so big, one needed a map to navigate around. Although I liked a lot of the
paintings, the most content was Aulona. I remember the look on her face as she examined the pictures
and took notes in her little notebook. Next we visited Notredam, and walking along the river Seine, in
the afternoon we finally arrived at the Eiffel Tower. When the nightfall came and the Tower lights were
shining the view was spectacular, and is one I’ll always remember.
After Paris, we said our goodbyes to three of our group members and the rest of us continued our long
trip with our destination, Rome. An interesting stop was also Nice where we stayed for some hours. At
Rome, five of us went out the first night at a place called Trastevere. This was a place with a lot of small
shops, caffee’s, music, and lights located along the Tevere river. Among the tourist attractions we visited
in Rome were The Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Panteon. From Rome our group of
thirteen people divided into smaller groups each of which continued separate journeys. I was in the
group with Aulona, Mirjeta, Plarent and Detrin. First, we went to Florence. Even though, it rained a lot
we had a great time. I personally liked the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the Piazzale Michangelo that had
an amazing view over the city. At the same day we took a one hour train ride to Pisa, to see the Pisa
Tower. Next we went to Venice. Stepping out of the train station we saw the familiar canals we had only
seen in pictures till now. That day we walked a lot exploring the city, which a had few perks like the
Piazza San Marco and the San Marco canal. After Venice, we went to Vienna. To get there we took a
night train and traveled for about 9 hours. In Vienna, we tried to visit the tourist places and in the end
we also went to a classical concert which was quite a different but nevertheless pleasant experience for
us. The last city we visited was Prague. I found Prague to be exceptionally beautiful. We climbed at the
top of the city to see the San Vitus cathedral. Even here the view of the city was astonishing. At night,
Prague looked like a city taken of a Disney movie. Plarent took a guitar from a local and we all sat down
along the Vltava river singing old traditional songs, enjoying each other’s company and of course the
startling views of the city.

For me that was the last night with the group. In the morning, I woke up early, packed my belongings,
and took the train to Cologne to visit my cousins. As I was leaving Prague that rainy morning, I realized
how lucky I had been to be a part of this trip. I was now leaving I hope a little wiser, with a completely
different mindset and lot of memories that will always be a part of me.

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