VISITING AUTHOR/EDITOR ARTICLE
Trentoner Donauschwaben Nachrichten
MEMORIES OF MY TRAVELS
by Brittaney Brandecker
Youth Dance Group, Adult Language School Student & World Traveler
January February 2008
Two thousand and seven (2007) was an amazing year for me and I wish it didnít have to end. Some people may say that they wish they had my life. And well, to tell you the truth, if I was someone else I would want my life too. Just in 2007, I had been on seven different trips and I had the time of my life on all of them.
It all started in February, when the club traveled to the Crystal Brook Resort in Round Top, New York for a funfilled weekend of skiing. After arriving we all went skiing, then returned back to the lodge for more fun while listening to music and dancing. Hopefully, sometime soon the PhiladelphiaTrenton Dance group will perform at the resort. Next was our yearly camping trip, also as a club gathering. However, this year it was at Soaring Eagles Campground. It was a very different yet exciting experience from what we were used to at Red Barn. After the week we spent there, it was almost like home. The canoeing was fun and as usual the water was cold and swift (well at least thatís what it felt like). But all in all, everyone seemed to like the new campground. Not even a week after I returned home from the camping trip I was off on the biggest trip of the year. My Tante Klara had retired recentlyand she wanted to go on a vacation. So I told her I would go along with her and I suggested England. She said ok, and off we were to a country were they actually speak our same language.
When we got to England, we were really tired but the only thing that kept playing over and over in my head was "I canít believe Iím in London, England where the Queen, Prince William and Harry live" The first thing we did once we got off the bus was to get our luggage and go to our hotel room. Then got on another coach and visited Windsor Castle. Now, this is one of the Queenís summer houses and although she was not there, the cool thing was that we stood at the altar where Prince Charles said "I Do!" to Camilla Parker Bowles. I also got to stand next to a Keeper, one of the dudes with the big furry hats that are not allowed to move, Cool! The next day we were off on the start of the actual trip. The first stop was Stonehenge. I had read about it in books and on the internet, but this was nothing compared to seeing it in person. I just couldnít believe how and why the stones got there. Just these large stones in the middle of nowhere. What a fantastic sight. Next we went to Bath, England. There we saw the ancient Roman baths. It definitely was not somewhere I would want to take a bath, if you know what I mean.
Then we were off to Cardiff, Wales. Now this place actually has a funny story that I am still laughing about. Before I left on the trip, my mom handed me this little bag thing as I was packing and told me it was a poncho. I said ok and I packed it without looking at it. In Cardiff, when it was time to bring out the poncho, I opened it up and low and behold it was definitely not a poncho, my mother had sent me to England with a tote bag instead and didnít even realize it. I was laughing so hard that I started to cry because I now had no rain coat at all to go out in the pouring rain. Letís just say for my sake it was not fun.And to make matters worse it was a Sunday and nothing was open so I couldnít buy myself a rain coat or umbrella.
After all that drama we were off to Ireland by boat. It was actually more like a ferry and the trip was four hours long. By the time we got to Ireland it was late and we still had another hour or two drive to the next hotel after we jumped over the "puddle" and onto Waterford. After all the traveling that day we were really tired. The next day we got on the coach again and we visited the Waterford Crystal Factory. I found out that they make the ball that is dropped in Times Square, NY on New Years Eve. It was just so amazing that someone actually makes all that crystal by hand. It was nothing like we see on TV, as it is so beautiful in person. Later that day, we got on the coach and headed for Dublin. On the way there we stopped in a town called Kilkenny where we visited the castle that is in the center of the town. This is also the place where we almost got run over by a truck. Unlike here in the USA, over there they drive on the wrong side of the road, so when we were trying to cross the street we didnít look the correct way and before we knew it, a truck was headed right for us. We also stopped and visited the Irish National Stud Farm, a famous horse farm. We saw all different kinds of horses including, miniature ones which were so cute. Later in the day we arrived at the hotel in Dublin. That night we saw "The Irish Caberret", which is a show with Irish dancing and singing.
The second day in Ireland, we took a tour of the city and visited the University of Dublin and Trinity College. In Europe, the colleges are very different, but it was cool to see how different the college environment is there. Before we left Dublin, we just had to visit GUINNESS, their popular beer. We saw the storehouse and walked through their little museum. I must not forget that they gave us a free beer and a view of the whole city which was beautiful. In addition, we got to see St. Patrickís Cathedral, an amazing sight. Next we were off to Belfast, Northern Ireland. We werenít in this town very long but the town was made famous for being the town were the "Titanic" was built.
Within two hours, we were off our second ferry trip and in Stranraer, Scotland and had a long drive to our next stop in Edinburgh. We took a tour of the city, saw the home of Robert Louis Stevenson, when he was living there, and also saw Edinburgh University and the Edinburgh Castle. The next night we saw a Scottish show with bagpipes, which were awesome. They also brought out the famous food, Haggis, which was really weird.
We were then off to York, England. On the way there, we stopped at Floors Castle where we actually got to tour sections where the people actually live in. On the day we finally got back to London, after eight days of traveling my Tante and I decided we wanted to visit some London sites. So we got a map and asked how far some of the sites were. A lady told me it was too far to walk and that we would have to take "the underground", which is like our subway. However, we didnít want to and decided to walk. So this is another really funny story. We started walking and we walked to a park and saw Kensington Palace, which was very beautiful from the outside. We then walked a little farther and saw the Diana Memorial Fountain and with our with luck, it wasnít on. Then we walked through another park and finally ended up at the most visited palace in England, Buckingham Palace. It happened to look a lot bigger in person (the Queen wasnít there). I also finally got a picture of a Bobbi , a British police officer, too. This "little" walking trip took us about three hours from the time we left the hotel till when we returned. Before we left I finally got to stand in one of the phone boxes and made a phone
Upon returning home, a couple weeks later, I was then off to the Treffen in Mansfield, OH. When we finally got to the hotel, after the long drive from home, we all put our swim suits and jumped in the pool. The next day, Anna Martini, myself and some of the adults went to the Mansfield Clubhouse for the Friday friendship night and the start of our dance weekend. We had fun that night, even if we did not know any of the youth. On Saturday we were really excited. After we got to the club and did the formal march in, I met up with some of the friends I had made at other Treffens over the years and hung out with them. Our dance group had to dance late both nights, so we were the last ones to dance. That wasnít all bad since we got to see everyone dance before we went on. All in all, it was a really fun weekend. Hopefully when our club goes to Cleveland this year, I will be able to go. If not there is always next year.
Reprinted with Permission
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