Week 32 : Paris Rotary Tour

On the first day, we arrive in Paris by train. It was already pouring rain. We quickly stopped by the hotel to drop our bags before going to Opera where the opera theatre stands. 

We then took an open roof tour bus around Paris where we saw, the Champs Elysees as well as the Arc de Triomphe. We also went passed the Louvre art museum in all its glory.

It was great to finally see Paris properly… too bad it was raining the whole time.

Week 29 : International Orchestra Camp 2014 - Luchow


I was fortunate enough during my summer holidays, to be able to go to Germany for the International Orchestra Camp 2014. A Biannual event, people gather from all around the world for 10 intense days working together on intense music. The pieces we played this year were;

Wagner - Rienzi Overture,

An intimidating piece at the beginning especially at 4:12 but also became one of the anthems of the music camp.

Tchaikovsky - Violin Concerto in D major

The soloist 18 yr old Dorothea Stepp played one of the greatest violin concertos with extreme precision and perfection. Quite an honour to be able to play the second violin part for her!

Sibelius -  Second Symphony 

This almost hour beast of a Symphony was epic. The second anthem of the camp was the main melody in the 4th movement. I really enjoyed playing the 3rd movement. Playing this in St Johns Church in Luneberg was an amazing life experience.

Flying from Basel to Hamburg, It was my first actual plane trip by myself. A little bit nerve-racking but it was all good. Once I arrived at the Airport, expecting to see the conductor Mr Baumgarten, Instead I was approached by a colleague who would drive me and another person (which I would later know as Nuno first clarinet player from Portugal) to Luchow where the music camp would take place.

The first day we sight-read the Sibelius in this school gym hall. Walking in for the first time it surprised me to se a huge Japanese flag. (Apparently its used as a dojo for Karate, however the Kanji on the flag isn’t correct.)


Every day we had intense 8 hour practice days which were had but mostly fun. I really enjoyed working hard with a large group of like minded people. I was able to make a lot of new friends from all around the world exchanging conversations and ideas on music. 


Also the town of Luchow was an interesting and an authentic taste into German culture.

Also a great memory during the camp was the 1 euro ice-cream place where I each day, I would try a different flavour, from Kinder Chocolate to this strange Mozart flavour (flavour of the mozart chocolates). 


The performance at Luneberg was amazing. Playing at the St Johns church which housed the organ that J.S Bach had once played.


This music camp has most definitely become one of the highlights of my exchange year!

I really want to come back to Luchow in 2016 for the next music camp!!

- Part 2 will contain more photos


Week 28 - Gland, Martigny & Chamonix Part 2

The weather happened to be great on the last day that I was with Maud’s family. We travelled to Chamonix which was an hour by car from Martingy. The scenery was breathtaking and we could see the Mont Blanc from the village.

Thank you Maud, Fabienne and Dominique for an amazing few days! 

Week 28 - Gland, Martigny & Chamonix Part 1

During the week, I went to my host grandparents, Summer House again in Gland. The magnificent house, I will never get tired of. Since the weather was exceptionally good, we decided to swim in the lake of geneva using the a boat which my host brother is able to drive. It was a great few days. 

On the weekend I took a train trip to Martigny where I met up with Maud and her parents. Maud was a Belgium exchange student which my parents back in Australia had hosted. They generously invited me to stay with them for the weekend. 

The first day, we visited Martigny and on the second day, we saw the castle in Sion. When we were in Sion we went past a music school which happened to be doing a music recital in the nearby church. 

The final day we visited Chamonix. See part 2 

Overall this week was quite busy but extremely fun.

Week 24: Day 3 & 4 Edinburgh & Stirling Castle


Since there is still a lot to cover I decided to be all lazy and cover two days in one post :P.

Today we were in the town of Edinburgh where, classmates, Angela, Caterina and Nina gave the class a tour around. Firstly we went to the spectacular Nelson Monument 


It was a little bit of a trek walking up that hill, however the end was worth every effort. Not only could you see a spectacular view of Edinburgh from above, but the monuments were beautiful. The National Monument of Scotland in particular looked kind of like Greek or Roman architecture. 

image*From the top of the hill we could see a beautiful panoramic view of the city.

image*The National monument of Scotland looks like Roman architecture. 

imageAfter Paying a hefty fee of 4 pounds I went to the top of the Nelson Memorial Tower, where I could take an epic photo from above. The view was excellent.


 Behind the monument lies the magnificence of Arthurs Seat. 


Soon after we visited the University of Edinburgh. 



and then to the Edinburgh Castle. We didn’t spend much time at either spot because of time.

Then to St Giles Cathedral.


The Overall Path looked a bit like this

That night we had dinner at this restaurant called the "Filling Station" and surely enough, I was pretty filled… I had a cool peanut butter milkshake and an epic Haggis Burger


imageTwas a good day.

Day 4! Stirling Castle. 


This castle was in an extremely good condition and the insides were really beautiful. 

*Marina stands like a statue.

The Great Hall.

Flavia & Sarah pretend to be King and Queen. (Peter creeping behind) 

Today, Thomas and Victoria gave us a tour. 

**The Scottish national animal.. The Unicorn

Week 24: St Andrews Day & Isle of May 2 


Today we went to St Andrews, an almost 2 hour bus ride from Edinburgh. 

The Bus, which is called RENNIES, dropped us off at a church/graveyard place which is St Andrews Cathedral ruins.



Walking thought he graveyard, I could hear and smell the sea, something I missed for about 6 months. Not being near the sea for a long time was strangely something I felt like I missed. 

The Cathedral ruins were huge and It made me think about what the church would have looked like during its prime. 

The Ruins reminded me of something from Lord of the Rings or Warhammer. imageimageAfter exploring the Ruins, a group of us had lunch at the beach next to the Castle Ruins. 



There was a couple next to the little water pool and a group of Asian tourists, which we managed to scare away with our loud chatting. 



The town was quite being a Sunday, however the shops were still open. St Andrews was Chilled. 


Later that day we took this small ferry which would take us to the Isle of may.


The first 10 minutes was great on the Ferry. However, huge waves began to crash on the side of the Ferry, rocking the ferry intensely. Water splashed into the boat and people began to feel sick.image

image*The melancholic Sarah looks like the poster from Les Miserables.

As we got closer to the Isle of may, more people began to feel sick, including myself. Sitting among people vomiting just makes one feel sick. Suddenly the boat began to smell and smoke. Due to the waves, one engine broke. That resulted in not being able to land on the Isle of May. Instead we went around the front of the Island. 

Soon after that boat ride we went to a great Fish and Chips restaurant where I had huge eats. It was awarded Fish and Chips shop of the Year!!! 

It was a pretty good second day!

*A pretty picture heavy post this time!

Week 24: Edinburgh Day 1 - Scottish Parliament House


Today was the first day on my school trip to Edinburgh and the beginning to the end of my time with my awesome Swiss Class. 

Let me take this time to explain…

When I first came to Switzerland, I was put in a class at school which happened to be an Immersion Class, which is the only class in the grade that tries to provide an Immersive Experience in a certain language. Hence they teach lessons in that certain language that the student desires to learn in. I so happened to be put in an English speaking class because that was the only class which had room at the time. This ended up in two consequences. Firstly I was able to make great friends straight away and I was able to integrate perfectly into the class. However the second consequence was that my progression with German was extremely slow and hard. 

However from the end of the Summer Holidays, I would be put in a new class because the Immersion Class would have 4 new students and I would have to drop out into another class. Therefore It was unfortunate for me that I would leave such great friends however it would help greatly with my learning of the German Language. 


The flight was pretty smooth to Edinburgh !! Also I got to use Passbook for the first time with a legitimate use! I was so stoked! #Future


For the First day, we walked around Edinburgh, then classmates, Marina and Sarah gave us a tour of the Scottish parliament house. 



Personally I thought that it having the students do tours is a great idea. Not only do we not have to pay for a tour guide, but it is and interesting way to learn both for the people presenting and those who are listening.

Overall I thought they were really well done. (Good on ya guys!!!) 


Next stop, we rushed to find a place where we could see the soccer!!!

We found a great sports bar under the North Bridge which had an excellent atmosphere.

After the game we looked around for dinner. We walked into a fancy Pub, however they didn’t allow minors.


So we went to Pizza Express! Great Eats & Great First day !!!