Click on the picture or here to go to the trip gallery at Picasa. Yes, I know it's only 12 pictures -____-. It would have been less too, but I figured I should at least include some pictures of France and Switzerland, even though the weather was terrible at times and I lacked inspiration for taking good photos. I made a lot more photo's of course, but I'm hardly proud of showing them to anyone except my friends, just to show them where I've been. Photographically they are hardly worth noticing. I've also uploaded some of the phototechnically more interesting pictures (eg. the best ones >_<) to my photoblog, where they will be appearing the next couple of days, so stay tuned.
Well, that was the crazy trip. I somehow made it back to Japan after everything, and I took this weekend to relax and get better, because I've caught a serious cold on the way :( At least it gave me the time to sort the pictures and get settled in again. I'm ready for another year. I think.
The trip started on the 27th of December. I went to Amsterdam to meet Kamil and Liou. Meeting Kamil was memorable as always. Because the toilets at the station cost money he tried to use the toilet inside one of the trains and almost ended up on a train to Alkmaar -_-. We managed to get out just in time though...
The 28th we went around Groningen, my province, where we took pictures of sheep, cows, churches and windmills (as expected). That night we left for Cologne with our 5-day free train pass. The 29th we stayed in Cologne, and the 30th we spent looking around Koblenz.
We were supposed to take a train to Strasbourg on the 30th, and look around Strasbourg the whole day on the 31st, but we ended up going to Denmark and Sweden by night train instead! It was the crazy event that our trip was missing, and it ended up getting us away from the crappy weather in central Europe. The weather in Denmark was great, and this day was by far the best of the whole trip :) Copenhagen is quite a nice city, and in my opinion easily the nicest city of all the cities I've seen in Europe so far (except Groningen maybe :D ). Sweden was fun too, but we could only stay a couple of hours before taking the night train back to Switzerland o_0
So, we decided to do Strasbourg anyway in the morning of January 1st, after which we continued on to Neuchatel, where we had booked our last hostel of the trip. That night we went around Neuchatel to visit the castle and we dined at an insanely expensive restaurant, which was a very nice experience.
For the last day of our trip we went to the castle in the early morning and then by train to Geneva, where I had to catch a plane back home. We had some time to walk around the city too, which was nice. Geneva is quite nice as well. It somehow just feels nicer than German and French cities. It's as if a German and French city had a baby and called it Geneva. Although the daddy calls it Genv and the mommy calls it Geneve...
After that I said my goodbyes to Kamil and hurried along to the airport, as it turned out for no reason. The plane was 2 hours delayed, just as any other plane leaving Geneva, apparently. It gave me a nice chance to read 'The memoirs of a Geisha', and by the time my train finally pulled into Groningen station I had just finished the last page. Quite a nice book. I've watched the movie yesterday and it does not compare at all to the book. It just didn't translate well to a movie IMO. Oh well, at least the book was great. I can recommend it to anyone, no matter if you've been in Japan or not. There is little relation to current Japanese culture, but it does give some interesting insight in classical Japan.
I was barely home and I already had to pack my bags again, because my flight back to Japan was on the 3rd. It finally occurred to me to check the departure times, and it looked like I had to get up really early too, since the plane left Amsterdam at 10:00 and I had to take two and a half hours to get there from my place. Fortunately my parents could bring me to the station and I managed to arrive there with time to spare. Swiss Air was excellently on time, and boarding was finished 10 minutes to 10. One hour later I was in Switzerland again... The flight to Japan went fine too, with a couple of setbacks though. I chose an emergency exit seat with lots of leg space when I checked in online, but as it appeared the seats in the plane did not match the ones on the website, and I was stuck with an isle seat one row in front of the emergency exit seat I wanted... Besides that, and the guy with the huge nose who sat next to me and kept on making breathing noises that were louder than the airplane's engines at full thrust, everything went well.
I have to admit my life feels quite empty right now. I was looking forward to this trip a lot, and now that it's finally over I don't have many things planned for the future. There's a ski trip next weekend. That should be a lot of fun. After that I have nothing planned at all. I have no idea where I will be this summer. That is exactly the way I want it.