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(原创)The Journey to Europe  

2006-12-24 18:48:26|  分类: 酒花飘香 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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The Journey to Europe

Mon. 23 Dec.

    The alarm o’clock woke me up at 4 early this morning. Mr Wang took me to the city coach station in his car. We started at twenty past four and arrived just in time. The coach started the long journey to Europe with 33 of us leaving for London.

    At half past eight, we got to London and waited there for nearly an hour for the tour guide Ah Mei and the other 11 tourists in London.

    At half past nine Ah Mei got on the coach and all the others too. The coach went through London, which is very grand and classical. We didn’t stop, so I could only see some famous buildings that I knew before for a glance such as the Parliament Building, London Bridge, London Towers, Big Ben etc. I thought that I would come to London some day for a special visit.

    The coach arrived at the port of Dover at half past twelve. The English chunnel was in sight. It was a pity that it was foggy today, or we could see France on the other side of the chunnel. I began to record the sea, the ferries with my newly-bought camcorder. There were a lot of seagulls rushing into my lens while I was recording. At one o’clock we boarded on the ferry and it took us one and a half hours to get to Claris in France. The coach took us again after we stayed at the port for a short while. It was beginning to turn dark, Paris time nearly 16:00 o’clock. Now the coach directly took us to Belgium.

    At about 17:00, we got to Brussels, capital of the Kingdom of Belgium. It is said that Brussels is also regarded as the capital of Europe for its special location. Many important international meetings are held here. Belgium won its independence in 1830. It was once ruled by France, Netherlands and Austria. Many buildings were built with Holland style and also there are many modern buildings that were made in the 1990s.

    We had supper in a Chinese restaurant called Chaozhou Restaurant. After supper we were showed around the whole city. Now the atmosphere of celebrating Christmas was very thick. Many trees were decorated with beautiful lights. Shops sold very nice Christmas gifts. In the large square, there was an open performance. Many people were watching it laughing happily. The night sight of Brussels was beautiful, much better than Nottingham. Some of us who had been to London said it was even much better than London.

    We first visited the Atom Tower. There were 9 steel pearls consisting of the tower, standing for 9 provinces in Belgium. Then we came to see the famous urinating child, who was supposed to put out the big fire in Brussels with his urine.

    We stayed at President Nord Hotel, a three-star one. I shared Room 204 with Zhang Bin. The room was in good condition and it was very good except that there were no slippers.

    We were asked to stay in this hotel for two nights. Tomorrow we were going to Amsterdam, Holland and would come back to the same hotel in the evening.

    The first impression left on me during the whole trip was good. Well begun, half done. I hope the next touring would be more exciting.

 

Tuesday 24 Dec.

    The telephone called both of us to wake up at six fifteen. We had European style of breakfast at the hotel.

    The coach took us all to Amsterdam, Netherlands before eight. It was still dark outside. An hour later, we went out of Belgium and came into the Kingdom of Netherlands. The land of Netherlands was low, three metres below the sea level. So it is very wet. The land is very fertile. There are canals everywhere for the farmers to keep the land in a good state of wetness. So Netherlands is very famous for its windmills which are used to fetch water to irrigate the fields or to pump the water out from the fields. It took us two and a half hours to get to Amsterdam. We were first taken to see the famous Broundat Windmill then were shown to see the wooden shoes factory. After that we took a glass boat to tour along the canals. There are many Gothic buildings at the 16th century along both sides of the canals. They are very nice architectures. I will never forget the scenery.

    It’s funny there is an iron hook on the wall of the buildings. Do you know the use of these hooks? The people in Netherlands have to pay their tax according to the sizes of their doors. The bigger the door is, the more taxes the owner should pay. So people made their doors to the house very small so that they could pay fewer taxes. The windows are usually very big. People use the hook with a strong rope to lift some large furniture and move them in through the big windows.

    When we got onto the land, we were taken to the city centre, Dam Square. The buildings were of the typical Gothic structure. After that, we were shown around some red lantern areas where a lot of prostitutes were giving services. In this country, sex is an open career and legal. The country protects it. Some prostitutes just sat or stood at the door wearing only bikini to call people’s attention. Some even danced making some sexy pose. It was disgusting to see some black prostitutes, who were ugly. We quickly walked past these areas.

    At last we were taken to the biggest diamond factory to see the diamonds. Of course that was one item of travel. Tourists were always tempted to buy this or that. But none of us bought any diamond, which was too expensive.

    At five o’clock we went back to Brussels. Zhang bin and I took a free tour around Brussels after 7:30 when we were back. We had our supper at a Chinese restaurant.

    When we took a second look at the Grand Square, we felt it was really magnificent. The buildings there are the most beautiful of all the ones that I have seen. It was Christmas Eve. I could feel the atmosphere of celebration.

 

Wednesday 25 Dec.

    It was Christmas Day. At 6:15 we were waken up by the morning call and had our traditional European breakfast at the President Nord Hotel.

    At half past eight, we started our journey to Luxembourg. When we took the last look at Brussels, we all felt it a pity not to have stayed here for a long time. Ah Mei, the guide gave us the last five minutes to take photos at the new city area which we didn’t come to the day before. I quickly recorded part of the city and said goodbye to beautiful Brussels. I though maybe I wouldn’t have any chance to come here again.

    At about 11 o’clock, we came into the border of Luxembourg, a small country with the total population of 400,000. When we got to the city centre it was 12 o’clock. We were asked to stay at Luxembourg for an hour. The bell of the church kept ringing for the Christmas ceremony. Thought it was not allowed to take pictures in the church, I quickly took some and left. The city was built on a large valley. So the buildings there seemed to be much taller and they were nice too. After taking a quick tour, we got on the coach and went to Germany.

    When we entered the border of Germany, it was about 15 o’clock. The destination of the first city in Germany was Heidberg, a city with a long history, one of the most important city in the 14th century. The University of Heidberg was very famous. Martin Luther King graduated from it. During the Second World War, it was a headquarter of the Army of the US. Louise XIV once attacked the city when he failed to rule it. I recorded some of the city scenery. Heidberg Castle was among the sights, but it was a pity it was getting dark at this time in winter in Europe. At half past six, we checked in See hotel in Germany.

    At 19, all of us had our European dinner in the hotel. I drank 4 glasses of red grape wine and had a very good time. We all learned to speak German, laughed and talked, enjoying the Christmas night in Germany.

     We were told to get up at 6:15 tomorrow morning. We will go to Munich and then go to Austria. Tomorrow evening we will stay in the Music country Austria.

    The guide taught us some German. I could only remember the pronunciation:

Guton Morgan for good morning. Guton tag and guton aben for the afternoon and evening. Dank Xun for thank you. Bitter for please. Wa sa for water. Milha for milk. It’s funny.

 

Thursday 26 Dec.

    It was Boxing Day today. The trip to Heidberg was over. After breakfast at 8 o’clock we went on our journey to Munich, the third largest city in Germany. The coach went across River Rhine and it was fine in the morning. There were a lot of important factories with very large chimneys along the river so the water can’t be used to drink. It was polluted. When the sun began to come out, the sky was in red colour. At 11:30 we arrived at the Olympic Stadium. Here the 1972 Olympic Games was held with misery happened during the games. 12 sportsmen were killed. The stadium was very uniquely built with the roof that looked like fish net. The sports fields were very large even for this times with 72,000 seats.

    After we visited the stadium, we were shown around the city square. The city government building was a building of Gothic style, very old but beautiful. We also visited the very famous building where many people were drinking beer there. Germany is world known for producing beer. Music was playing and people were shouting. It was nice to experience such a culture.

    At about 4, we got on the coach and started our way to Austria. The coach took us along the Alps Mountain. At 5:20, it went into the border of Austria. Goodbye to Germany. An hour later, we came to Innsbruck, a city in Austria. The name of the hotel was Clima Hotel. It was completely dark. We had supper at the hotel. The food was OK, chickens and chips. After the meal, we took a walk freely in the street. There were only a few people in the street at this time of the day. The lights in the street were very beautiful with the shape of stars and pearls.

    Tomorrow morning we will be shown around the city square and at half past ten we’ll go to Italy.

    Innsbruck held 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic stadium was still there.

    Chrusgod to Innsbruck! Good night!

 

Friday 27 Dec.

    We left Clima Hotel of Innsbruck in Austria at 8 after we had breakfast. We were shown around the Austrian Crystal Shop, which was the most famous in the world in making crystal by handwork products. I bought some gifts.

    The coach took us on along the Alps Mountain. The morning of Austria was very beautiful. It was a little cold. The wind was blowing hard. We could see the Alps Mountain was covered by snow. Innsbruck is a mountain city surrounded by Alps. We stopped at the European Bridge and took some photos of the nice scenery of Austrian snowy mountain. We got on the coach again and continued our way.

    An hour later, at about 11:45, we came into Italy. The first city we arrived at was Verona at half past three. There was a long old city wall. The city arena with a very old wall ruins still stood there, which is now used to be an art museum. Near it was the city government building. Verona was the hometown of Juliet. We visited her house, which was described so by William Shakespeare in his famous play Romeo and Juliet. I caught sight of the balcony where Romeo met his lover and imagined how Juliet tore her bed sheet into slices and made them into a rope. I imagined then how she threw down the rope for her Romeo to climb up. I imagined how Romeo caught the rope and climbed up bit by bit with great difficulty. I imagined their great love inside the room. There were a lot of people in the house and it was raining hard. Many people, male or female, old or young, waited in the long queue to take photos with the statue of Juliet with their hands placed on her body, which I think, it would make Romeo very angry. So I won’t do such a stupid thing. For me the most important thing is to feel their strong love between each other and to recall the details that Shakespeare described in his great works. That’s the communication between the souls, as I often do. It seemed as if I was talking with Shakespeare and sharing the young couple’s sweet love and their sad ending. I often asked myself if such a sad ending would happen to me when I was young. Anyway, I am now becoming older. All the past has been immortal and gone with all the sadness if ever I have had such a feeling.

    We had supper at a Chinese restaurant called Hangzhou Restaurant. Then the coach took us to a hotel an hour and a half later. It was in the suburb. No programme was arranged for us tonight.

 

Saturday 28 Dec.

    It was a most exciting day. At 8, we started to go to Venice, a world famous water city in Italy, which I often dream of seeing with my own eyes. I had thought it was impossible in my life but now it did come true.

    Half an hour later, we arrived at the beautiful city. It was a pity that it began to rain in the morning. So it was foggy, which made the city more mysterious for me. The first sight came to me was a large lake that was exactly a bay, called lagut in Italian. We took a large boat to get to the city centre.

    Venice is an old city, prosperous in the 14th century. There was a large square called Saint Marco Square and a very splendid church, the St. Marco Church. It was not permitted to take photos inside, so I bought a book introducing the church with the price of 6 euros.

    I recorded many sights with great pleasure. And thanks to the God the rain stopped and began to shine. I re-pictured all the beautiful sights. Zhang Bin helped to record my figure walking in the square, enjoying the beautiful scenery.

    There were countless little bridges over the water. Many of these were the background of the plays in Shakespeare’s, though he had never been to Venice, he depicted the water city so vividly and lifelike.

    The following was the places I visited today:

    Piazza San Marco

1.      Bridge of sign

2.      Two columns---St Mark and St Theodore

3.      Bell tower

4.      Duke Palace---new museum

5.      Basilica of San Marco--- famous four bronze horses

6.      Clock tower

7.      Murane Glass Factory

8.      Rialto---Great Canal

 

Sunday 29 Dec.

    The coach started at 8 o’clock after we had breakfast in the hotel. Today we were going to Firenze---Florence. It is a very important city in Italy and it has been listed as one of the best cultural cities in the world. Michelangelo, Dafench and many famous artists were born here.

    Visited places: (Italian language)

Piazza Duomo---the big church square

1.      Santa Maria dei Flore with the round roof of 106 metres tall, which was designed

      by Michelangelo. It is the most beautiful church roof in the world.

2.   Baptistery--- Door to paradise

3.   Bell Tower---84 metres tall

Piazza Della Signoria

1.      Statue of Comsmo Medici---King of Florence

2.      Fountain of Neptune

3.      Statue of David by Michelangelo

4.      Statue of Hercules

5.      Uffiz Gallery and old Bridge

Piazza Santa Croce

1.      Church of Santa Croce  Tomb of Michelangelo and Tomb of Galllelio

2.      Peruzzi Leather Shopping

3.      Statue of Dante

We left Florence at 4 p.m. and started to Rome. At half past 7 we stayed at River

Motel---Suburb of Rome.

 

Monday 30 Dec.

    It was another exciting touring day. We took our coach to Vatican, the smallest country in the world. It was actually in Rome City. But Vatican is an independent country with its own government, radio station, stamps which are very precious because all the letters or postcards have to be posted in Vatican Post Office if you buy the stamps here. Vatican is only 0.44 square kilometres with only 350 people who engage in church affairs. Swiss soldiers serve the post. Vatican is famous for its Church of St. Peter who was a prentice of Christ. In order to propagate Christ’s Christian idea, he came to Rome. The church is regarded as the first church in the world. Its round roof is 336 metres tall, which is the tallest one in the world church roof designed also by Michelangelo. The round roof of St Maria Church in Florence was designed by Michelangelo too, 106 metres tall, but was the most beautiful, because Florence was his hometown and he wanted to leave the most beautiful roof in his birthplace. These architectures strongly reflected the style of renaissance of Italy.

    We visited the St. Peter’s Church. It is really very magnificent inside with many statues and paintings. There are a lot of stories of legend about the Bible. Because of the limited time, I couldn’t understand them all. The guide was lazy. She just asked us to visit it ourselves so many of us just had a look. I saw Dieta, St. Maria cherished Christ, her son’s dead body after he was nailed to death on the big cross and I saw the painting of the reborn of Christ. All these pictures recalled me of many stories about the Bible, but unfortunately, I have forgotten most of them. It’s important to read carefully the Bible if you want to understand the statues and the paintings well. I regretted not having brought the Bible with me before I left China.

    After coming out of the church we took a bus to the Ruins of the ancient Rome and colosseum(arena). They made me think of the civilisation of Rome and its elegant glory. Then we walked to Venice Square. There is the most beautiful building I have ever seen in the world standing in the square. It is Imperial Forum. The building is the symbol of Ceasar Period and also the development of European civilisation. After visiting it, we came to Temple dedicated to all Gods. It was used to bury the gods and all the emperors of Rome. Next we were shown around the three coins fountain. That is the most splendid fountain of course. Thousands of millions of people came here to express their wishes by throwing coins from the right shoulder over the left shoulder. You can imagine what wishes I made at this time of the year. I wished all my friends and relatives a happy new year and everything is OK. The last sight for us to see was Spanish Steps, where the film Rome Holidays was taken there. The romantic section of the film floated on my brain when I was climbing up the steps.

    After visiting these all, we were all very tired. It was said that we had walked 10 km. Now it was time to get home. We hurriedly got to the subway station to take underground, shouting loudly all the way, which made some of the Italians very afraid for they didn’t know what had happened. You see, in such a strange place, no one wished to be left behind to miss the train. And we had only four minutes to catch the underground. So we all ran crazily. There were a lot of pickpockets. The guide kept reminding us of our wallet and camcorder when she was walking in the front. It did happen that someone was robbed. We changed three subways and at last caught a train to our hotel just in time. It seemed that we had attacked Rome for the whole day and we succeeded.

    It was an unforgettable experience for me. No place will be more exciting than Rome, I think. The time we spent in Rome was too short but it was arranged so. I think if I will have another chance, I’m sure I’ll come here again. But I’ll read over the Bible and the history of Rome carefully before I do so that I can enjoy more.

    Tomorrow we are going to Pisa to see the famous Leaning Tower. It will take us five hours to get there by coach.

 

Tuesday 31 Dec.

    The last day of this year I spent in Torinno, Italy. I left the hotel at 7:45 by coach and arrived in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. The tower is 68.7 metres tall with 293 steps. Galileo made the experiment of gravity on the top of the tower by throwing two balls with the same size, one iron and the other wood. They fell on the ground at the same time. He concluded that a stone falls to the ground much faster than a feather only because the air holds it back. He then proved that heavy objects and light objects fall on the ground at the same time. That’s the great discovery in the history of astronomy.

    It’s a long journey after we left Pisa to Torinno. We passed through many tunnels and the coach ran past the Mediterranean Sea, which was very beautiful during the sunset time. But it was a pity that we were only able to see it on the coach and it was difficult to take pictures. At about half past 6, we got to the Europe Motel. We were offered with Western style of dinner with champagne and red wine. Since it was the celebrating day, we all drank, sang and dance in the hotel.

    After that many of us went out walking around the city for more than an hour. Now and then the fireworks could be heard in the street. When we came back to the hotel, most of us still sat in the hotel restaurant, drinking and chatting. It was not easy for us to come out travelling and spent the new year in Italy. So we were all very excited, waiting for the bell of the church o’clock striking for the coming of the new year. The right time finally came and we went out shouting for the new year and sang the song of it. Some young guys went on playing until very late. I went to bed at 12:30. Tomorrow we are going to France.

    Torinno is an industrial city, which is one of the largest cities in Italy, with a population of 910,000.

 

Wednesday 01 Jan.

    It was new year’s day. I first wished my family, all my relatives and friends a happy new year. After breakfast at 7:45, we started to go to the city centre to visit Torinno.

    Torinno Church is called St John’s Church, which is very special because there were some copies of Christ in it. Also there were a lot of  paintings and statues on its walls. I took some photos of them.

    At nine o’clock we started our longest journey to France along the Alps Mountain. We looked out of the coach windows the large block of grassland, the quiet villages, the churches and many beautiful sights. At 11:30, we said goodbye to Italy and entered the fourth longest tunnel in Europe, which is 13 km long. The longest one is in Norway, which is 22 km long, the second 17 km in Austria, and the third 14 km.

    At 7 o’clock, we got to the appointed restaurant in France, which is 160 km away from Paris. We were told that we would go to Paris tomorrow morning.

 

Thursday 02 Jan.

    We started at 7:45 as usual. After an hour and a half, we got to Velizy Palace Museum. It used to be Louis XIV’s palace. There are 20 exhibition rooms in the museum. I went to see the rooms one by one. There were a lot of beautiful paintings and sculptures in the museum. The exhibits reflected the life of the French emperors and their wars against their enemies. It showed me how Louis XIV, Napoleon and the other emperors ruled the country. Beside the museum there is a nice large garden with two clean lakes. Many sculptures are standing around the lakes.

    We left the museum at 12:30 and the coach took us to Eiffel Tower, a symbol of 19th Paris. It was drizzling. There were long queues waiting to buy the tickets for climbing up the tower. Since we didn’t get enough time, we could only take some photos under the tower. The tower was built in 1889. It was 321 metres tall, with the weight of 7,000 tons.

    Then we were taken to Victory Gate, which was ordered to be built by Napoleon and I was told that it started to be built in 1809. It was a pity for Napoleon that he didn’t see it finished because he died in 1825. The gate was completed after his death some years later. On the walls carved all the victory wars led by Napoleon, whose body was sent back through the Victory Gate to his country. The wars carved on the walls reflected the love and respect for Napoleon by French people.

    After that we were given one and a half hours to have a free tour in Xiang She Li Xie Street, the most famous street in Paris and even in the world. It was very large with nice buildings on both sides. The shops along the streets were very beautiful with good decorations.

    At about five, we took a boat in River Saine to have an hour tour to see the buildings on both sides of the river. It stopped raining. The night Paris was very very beautiful. Words failed me to express the beauty of it. Eiffel Tower was towering high up in the blue sky with light clouds. Its top flashed with shocking glitters and the whole tower was sending out golden light, which reflected in the early evening’s blue sky. The wind was blowing hard. The clouds over our heads were flying very fast. We went through many beautiful bridges which were shining brightly on River Saine, particularly magnificent. I couldn’t hold my camcorder steadily when I was passing through these bridges for the wind was very big and the water pearls flew against my face, which made me awake that I was not having a dream, a nice dream on River Saine. The waves were surging, so it was with my feeling. It was an experience that I will never forget. Night Paris!

Friday 03 Jan.

    It was the last day in Paris. In the morning we went to visit Lady of Church in Paris. The Famous French writer Victor Hugo once wrote a novel about the Church. Now I could see many of the things that he portrayed in his famous novels. It seemed that I had long before been here. I could find the roof where Ka Xi Mu Dou, the ugly man fell from. It was built in Gothic style, of course very grand and splendid.

    In the afternoon we visited the most famous art museum in the world, the Louvre Museum. I was attracted by the things that were collected there and I spent five hours watching the exhibits there, but still I couldn’t see some of them because of the limited time.

    There were three famous women statues or painting that were collected in the museum. It was very interesting. The first woman I found was the God of Victory, a lady without head but with wings. It was a sculpture in Ancient Greece. The second woman was Mona Lisa, a painting drawn by Da Fenci. She was smiling charmingly at thousands of millions of tourists who waited in the long queue. The third woman was Venus, without arms, the God of Love, an ancient sculpture in Greece. It is a golden chance for me to see them, because they were all the original collections.

    I left Louvre Museum with great satisfaction, though a little regret that I didn’t see all of them.

Saturday 04 Jan.

    It began to snow when I left Paris and went back to England. On the way we were all very excited to see snow falling. I was still plunged into the unforgettable things that I saw and heard during the journey in Europe. And I watched some of the videos I recorded recalling the places that I had visited.

    At 11:30 we arrived at Claris Port and said goodbye to the French driver, who took us to so many places during our journey. It was funny when he kissed every lady goodbye and shook hands with gentlemen. We went onto the ferry to Dover at 12:30. An hour and a half later we landed on Port of Dover, England. Then another coach with two English drivers took us to London, where the other 11 tourists got off and said goodbye.

    The coach directly took us 33 to Nottingham Coach Station, the very place we started. It was a quarter past 7 when we arrived there. I took Bus 36 home.

     When I pressed the button to the door, Anqi was so glad and shouted, “Comes back Uncle Tu.” There was a large slogan put up on the door, “WELCOME”. A warm feeling quickly rose from my heart when I saw the family all giving me a warm welcome. I was asked to have supper with them.

    I was still plunged into the excitement of the journey and told them many interesting things that had happened during our journey, which made them laugh now and then.

(the end)

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