Day 18 Munich

Today we went to the concentration camp in Dachau which many of us didn’t realise existed throughout the Nazi period. It prompted mixed responses of interest, surprise, horror, disappointment and sadness as one of the monuments said ‘never again’, we all walked away hoping and praying this would never happen again. After this powerful experience, we motored on to the BMW Welt and Museum where we encounted many original motor vehicles (cars and motor cycles) – vintage to prototype to concept cars, even an aeroplane engine. We then headed off to the old city centre where we spent a couple of hours exploring the heart of Munich aka. München – its town hall, the city square, lots of shops, lots of food and lots of people. We went back to the youth hostel to have a trivia night, thanking Mrs Anders and Udo Zuth for their tireless efforts in making this tour run smoothly and making the trip so enjoyable.

See you soon,

Georgia Hay and Cienna Jewell

Day 17 Munich

Hello from Munich! This morning we visited the beautiful Neuschwanstein castle (known by many as the Disney castle). There we explored the castle on a guided tour learning interesting facts about King Ludwig II and that the castle was never completely finished due to his sudden and mysterious death. The view from the castle was breathtaking with every window looking out over a different aspect of the surrounding moutains. After lunch we went on a scenic train ride to the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze. There was much excitement as we all played in the snow and tobogganed. A cable trip took us even further up the mountain where we enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate. The return trip down the mountain was by cable car which gave spectactular views of the surrounding mountains and the small towns below. It was a great way to spend one of our last days on the trip.

By Georgia R

Day 16 Salzburg – Munich

A big hello from Munchen (Munich). Today we set off from the beautiful city of Salzburg to Munich. Along our way we had the great opportunity to visit the salt mine, located on the border of Austria and Germany. We arrived 20 minutes before our tour began and as a result we were able to look around the souvenir shop and grab a drink. In our case, a hot chocolate with whipped cream on top. When it was time to go down to the mine, we all suited up in a white costume, we thought it was similar to the ghost busters outfit! We are sure you’ll see some funny photos. In one big group, we enjoyed our ride on a mini train underground, listening to our tour guide talk about the mine,watching movies about the history of the mine, going down two slides underground and catching a boat underground. In the end we were approximately 210 metres underground and at a cool 10 degrees Celsius – the extra clothing was necessary and appreciated. Altogether our salt mine experience was great and is sure to be one of the biggest highlights of the trip so far! Not long after visiting the salt mine, we all ventured to a small town called Berchtesgaden. We all enjoyed a nice lunch and explored Berchtesgaden for 2 hours. After we departed from Berchtesgaden we journeyed a further 2 and a half hours before reaching our final destination, Munich. Wishing all the families and friends of the girls a great holiday back in Australia!

Yours sincerely,

Maddie Ramsey and Caitlin McKane.

Day 15 Salzburg

Dedicated Julie Andrews fans gathered around the communal tv late into the night, beginning our Salzburg experience with the Sound of Music.

The next morning began gently with our one and only sleep-in for the trip. After we all woke up at our own leisure and enjoyed a late breakfast, we hopped on the bus to tour around Salzburg. We listened to our guide Marina tell us a mixture of Salzburg’s history along with snippets from the making of the Sound of Music, which was of course filmed there. Highlights included the courtyard outside the VonTrapp manor, the real VonTrapp house belonging to the family the movie was based on, and the famous gazebo where Rolf and Liesl serenade each other the song “I am 16 going on 17.” There was a bit of eccentric and dramatic posing for photos and then we got back to seeing more sights from the comfort of our air-conditioned bus. We then continued on foot to get closer to some of the beautiful architecture of Salzburg. One of the jewels of the small city was the castle on the hill that watched over the life below it. We walked throughout the winding streets, visiting Mozart’s birthplace and the University Square which was bustling with horses and carriages and market sellers. We also visited the Mirabell Palace gardens, which was known to provide one of the most beautiful views of the city, as well as the Salzburg Cathedral and the beautifully kept cemetery which was also a part of the Sound of Music, specifically where the VonTrapp family hide from the German soldiers towards the end of the film.

After we bid our tour guides goodbye, we were left to ourselves to enjoy some free time exploring the city. Different groups of girls embarked on various activities, including shopping, tasting the local cuisine and even hiring bikes to explore the area on one of the locals’ most used modes of transport. There were endless things to enjoy in the area, including the atmosphere of the markets, the taste of sausages from the street stalls as well as the riverside district. We all had a chance to create our own memories of Salzburg, and share them with eachother over dinner back at the hostel.

We’ll be seeing you soon,

Georgia, Harriet and Briana

Day 14 Vienna and Salzburg

…and there’s more on our last night in Vienna a select group of us decided to catch the tram to the city centre to explore what Vienna had to offer.  We stopped to listen to a cellist play “Time to Say Good bye” by Andrea Boccelli.  We then continued on our walk through Vienna stopping for a while to watch a screening of an opera (at a film festival) under the Viennese night sky. It was an interesting walk that highlighted the variety of activities that Vienna has to offer.

Emily

Today was the day. The day where dreams would turn to reality and 41 girls with a sweet tooth unlike any other would finally reach one of the highlights of the trip thus far. Yes, we were headed to the Zotter Chocolate Factory, our first stop on our way to Salzburg. The smell of cocoa wafted throughout the factory, pleasantly surprising all as we anxiously entered. It was a “choc-a-bloc” tour, packed with many delicious tastings starting with the essential ingredient, bitter roasted cocoa  beans, to the delicious final product, Zotter chocolate. Chilli, banana, rose petals and star anise were some of the more interesting and exotic flavours. After a well-anticipated visit to the factory’s store, we clambered back on to the coach, ready for a new adventure in the next city, Salzburg. Boy, oh boy were the hills alive when we arrived!

Xoxo Alice and Murphy

Day 13 Vienna

Hello from Austria!

Today was a jam-packed day full of fun sightseeing and adventure in the beautiful city of Vienna. We spent our morning with a well informed tour guide, soaking up some of the city’s rich history and finest architecture. Some of the sights included the State Opera House, the Museum of Fine Art and the National Concert Hall where the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conduct their famous New Year’s Eve concert annually. This was all whilst sitting in the sauna-like conditions of the bus, only to then be greeted by the sauna-like conditions of the Vienna outdoors. One would assume that this 37°C  heat would prove an obstacle to our attention span, however, due to our tough Aussie tenacity, we powered through and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, with the assistance of cold drinks and ice-blocks. On the walking tour, we saw both historic architecture, like the St Stephen’s Cathedral, and also modern buildings such as the Hundertwasser.

We then hopped back on the still sauna-like bus and continued the tour to the Vienna Amusement Park. Our first stop in the park was the famous Wiener Riesenrad, the most renowned ferris wheel in Europe and one of Vienna’s most prominent tourist attractions. The panoramic view from the top was perfect for photos of the city and surrounding area. Then it was free time to fill up on calorie-loaded carnival food and bring out the daredevil in all of us on the extreme rides. The combination of these ended in some unfortunate outcomes. The bus was reloaded and we set off for Schönbrunn Palace. A bubbly tour guide showed us around 40 of the 1441 rooms in the palace, previously occupied by the Habsburg royal family. Fascination over the luxurious palace grew among the girls due to the enthusiastic guide and interesting history. Finally, it was back to the hostel for dinner and packing before leaving for Salzburg in the morning. All the girls enjoyed themselves and will surely remember it when looking back on the trip.

Auf wiedersehen!

Jade, M’kensey & Mattea

Day 12 Prague, Telc and Vienna

Guten Tag from Vienna,

Despite the early start and someone being temporarily locked in a bathroom, we journeyed to the quaint town of Telc. Upon our arrival, feeling refreshed after a quick nap on the bus, we met our English tour guide, Phillip. Our guide pointed out a 500 year old tree that is hollow inside due to vandalism. He then reminded us that this tree is in fact older than the Commonwealth of Australia. Phillip viewed his first triathalon with us as we strolled through the Renaissance architecture of the Telc Square.

After an hour of avoiding the European sun, there was mutual agreement that we needed ice-cream! We crammed into the little shop front and experienced the best ice-cream comedian to ever live! His creations included Janet and Michael Jackson, the Australian Harry Potter, Michael Jordan and Jackie Chan reincarnated into marvellous ice-cream artworks. The best part was it cost 1 euro for two scoops of the best and most relished ice-cream ever!

We were then guided around the Telc-Chateau and viewed how the Czech Royals lived. Unlike the other castles and palaces this Chateau embraced a minimalistic theme. After a brisk walk back to our bus we enjoyed a delicious lunch cooked by Udo, our fabulous bus driver.

The bus trip allowed people’s creative juices to flow in the form of make-up demonstrations. Upon our arrival in Vienna we spotted a digital screen that displayed the temperature. It read a stifling 40 °C. We quickly arrived at our hotel and stepped into the blissful air-conditioned lobby.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures in Vienna,

Kathryn and Isobelle