Road trip

At the beginning of November we decided to do another Road Trip to Europe. This time we had two cars and three more people than last time. We got some reinforcements from USA to this trip. So whole group was the 4 Finns (Me, Dalmar, Eemil and Olli) plus Sarah, Alex and Scotty. Original plan was to go to Switzerland via Lichtenstein and stay few days in Zurich and Bern. But plan changed quite a lot. First we went to Vaduz which is capital of Switzerland. After that we headed to Zurich but once we got there and started to find place to sleep we realized that our bank accounts and Switzerland is not a good mix. After a night in youth hostel in Zurich we decided to drive to Bern and from there to France for next night.

Olli admiring Vaduz

France was much more suitable for our budget. We drove to city called Mulhouse for night, it wasn’t very beautiful city but we had good breakfast in local cafeteria there and prices were reasonable. After Mulhouse we drove North in France. It was area called Alcase, which is famous of wines. Really nice looking landscapes and villages. We also found one old castle from there it was called Chateau du Haut- Koenigsburg, beautiful place and big castle. Other night we spent in small village called Saint-Hippolyte, tasty food and good wine.
Next day we headed to Hagenau and from there back to Esslingen. Nice trip, lots of driving, great views and nice experiences.

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Exploring surroundings

Our dormitory lies in area which is a bit hilly. So it’s quite nice to do small hikes to hills during weekends or free days. Usually we have always found some new and cool places during our expeditions. So far the longest walk was last Saturday when me, Olli and Sarah conquered a hill which has bothered us since first walks around surroundings. It’s quite far away and only hill without trees, so we had to see what’s up there. We walked there through forest which is some kind of national park, so scenery was really beautiful. We ended up walking in forest even further than the hill, so walk to destination took about 2 hours. But it was really nice, because it has been a long time since being in peace of forest and nature. Finally when we arrived to hill we found out that it was some kind of old refuse dump area, or at least that is our best conclusion about the place’s function. It was bit hard to get to hill and we felt bit weird being there but finally we conquered the hill so it doesn’t bother us anymore.

Finally on the hill!

By the way, forests here are awesome. Especially deciduous forests because they are so different than at home. Trees are really big and they usually have leafs only at top of tree. And sometimes the ground is really clean, there is no underbrushes so it’s easy and nice to walk around there. But of course nothing beats good old Finnish birch forests 😉

What’a f*** Where are we…

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Hockenheim DTM – race

Last Sunday we did a trip to famous Hockenheimring. There we went to see last DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) race of season. I have never before seen those races but I think after seeing them once, I have to go to see them again someday. Thanks to Kenny whose idea whole trip was, I have once again seen something new and exciting. Day was good though it was quite cold and rainy.

Small rain doesn’t bother – Eemil, Olli, Dalmar and Kenny

 

 

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Visitors from Finland

Last week my parents Teija and Olavi, my sister Justiina and my cousin Nelli came to visit here in Esslingen. They brought some souvenirs from Finland for me – salty liquorice, chocolate, rye bread and some berry juice made by my granny. Felt quite good to eat some Finnish delicacies. My family came here by car so we had possibility to make a one day trip to Schwarzwald without need to use trains. We drove to see Feldberg, which is the highest hill in Schwarzwald area. From top of the hill landscape was really beautiful. Forests, ponds, hills – perfect ground for hiking and enjoying the peace and beauty of nature. I think we have to go back there with some exchange student friends to walk around hills and forests.

On a Feldberg – mum, dad, sister and cousin

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Volksfest vs Oktoberfest

Autumn brought with it traditional festivals to Germany. And of course we had to find out what kind of celebrations those are. During our first exchange student week we already booked tickets to Oktoberfest in Munchen, just to make sure that we get there. At that time we didn’t even know very much about these local festivals here in Stuttgart, which are called Volksfest. Before going to Munchen we had possibility to experience Volksfests with large group of exchange students and our tutors.
After visiting Volksfest first time I realized that I have never before seen parties like that. We had lots of fun. In the end we ended up going few times more to Volksfest and we had good time there.

Then came time to visit Munchen and Oktoberfest. First expression of Munchen wasn’t good because it was cold and rainy when we arrived there. It was Saturday afternoon when we went to Oktoberfest area and quite fast we realized that it was too late to try to get inside in any of festival tents, every place was already full. So in the end our experience of Oktoberfest was one beer and Apfelstrudel in one small place at festival area, but Strudel was good and place was nice. And best of all, when we went back to hotel we found out that there was a Sauna! After relaxing in Sauna we went to city to eat good dinner.
Whole Sunday we spent walking around Munchen with Sarah, Olli and Eemil. I was surprised how beautiful city Munchen is, expensive but beautiful. Totally worth visiting.
At Sunday morning Dalmar and Anni headed back to festivals and spent their day in there. They had good time there and we at city so in the end everyone was satisfied.

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Best tent in Volksfest – Wasen wirt

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City of Munchen

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Germany knowledge

Generally when you come to Germany you should prepare yourself for some things, maybe the biggest difference compared to Finland is that here you have to pay by cash basically everywhere. And it’s also common to give some service money in restaurants, usually from 5% to 10% of original price. All the prices are quite same than in Finland, only exception is prices in restaurants which are usually much cheaper than in Finland. Otherwise living in Germany is not so different than in Finland, some things are more complicated and some more simple here. Public transportation works pretty well, which is surprise because people in Germany love their cars. I think that is one thing Finland should learn from Germany, roads are really good, people use their cars really much and still the public transportation also works really well. So you have always basically only good options to go from place to another.

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Kessler and Bodensee

Last Friday we had another different day at school. The topic of that day was tour in a Germany’s oldest sparkling wine producer Kessler, which is here in Esslingen, and it was mandatory! Well I was more than willing to visit there so no problem for me. At Kessler we had a tour in whole factory, we went through warehouse, cellars and producing areas. And at the end of tour we went to tasting room where we tasted three different Kessler sparkling wines. Tour guide said that Kessler concentrates on quality instead of volume and that was quite clear after seeing their factory and tasting their products.

Other trip arranged by school was last Sunday. That trip was to Bodensee, third biggest lake in Middle-Europe. Bodensee is in a border of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Trip included tour in a Zeppelin museum, castle tour in Meersburg and boat trip from Meersburg to Friedrichshafen. It was long day but we saw many interesting, stunning and beautiful things so it was totally worth it. If you go to Bodensee, do it in summer and take the boat trip.

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Yard of castle

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