Hello … It’s Me 🙂 Shane the Activities Officer at Langports Gold Coast.
Well I happened to be away for the most part of June as I embarked on an amazing journey across the world, travelling through 4 continents and 10 countries (well most countries were either transit stops, day visits or just walked over the line for about at least 30 seconds). The trip was an opportunity not just explore the global cultures, but to catch up with past students and old friends from different parts of the world.
This magical trip started in Mexico!!
On the 31st of May, I travelled to my first destination in Guadalajara, Mexico via Los Angeles. From the minute I landed at the airport, I was greeted by an old friend who I travelled with across Europe two years ago. It was an opportunity to explore his home city and learn a bit of the Mexican culture. Highlights include a visit to the city of Tequila, where we were introduced to the process of making pure Tequila at the distillery and learning about the cities ever growing history. Also the countless restaurants visited around Guadalajara producing the most amazing Mexican dishes. It’s a country worth visiting, especially if you are a keen shopper or foodie like myself.
Next stop… Switzerland
With the excitement of my next visit across the Atlantic to Switzerland approaching, I boarded my flight to Atlanta with no sleep! With the wait in transit, it was going to be hard to stay awake, not looking like a zombie before I arrived in Zurich Airport. Thankfully, a Sunday morning arrival greeted by 10 past students dispelled any jet lag and was thankful to those who came to say hello! I spent the first few hours quickly checking out Zurich and Winterthur before the jet lag kicked in.
My first week in Switzerland
From Winterthur, my first week in Switzerland was visiting cities including St. Gallen, Lustenau (Austria), Vaduz (Liechtenstein) and Surrein. Catching up with many students along the way, I also was delighted to have cheese fondue and raclette, a popular traditional Swiss dish across many families. The highlight was visiting the quiet town of Surrein, not only sampling Swiss Cheese and Schnapps but hiking up the summit of Gavera, which stood at 2100m. A mini reunion occurred on Friday for the opening night of the Euro Cup, before I flew out the next morning to London.
June 11th 2016 marked a very special date for many Brits as they celebrated the Queen’s 90th birthday. However, we were celebrating a different event and attended one of London’s Biggest Music Festivals, Summertime Ball. 20 artists performed some of their biggest hits and entertained a massive crowd of 80,000 people. Performers included Ariana Grande, Flo Rida, Craig David, Little Mix, Lukas Graham, Zara Larsson to name a few. The festival lasted over 7 hours and by the time it ended, I was ready to fly back and continue my onward journey across Switzerland.
Week 2 in Switzerland
Started in the beautiful city of Lucerne and followed on to Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Basel and back to Zurich by end of week for the big Swiss Reunion party. Despite the bad weather over the last two weeks, many students over the past year and a half with whom I had the privilege of knowing during their time at Langports came to say hello and mingled with other past students. We all met at Nelson’s Pub before proceeding onto Harterei Club. Not realising how difficult it would be to survive a big reunion party the night before, I boarded that morning to Copenhagen with no sleep.
My birthday celebration
The day before my birthday, I arrived in Copenhagen a little unaware of my surroundings from the night before. My mate, with whom I haven’t seen for years, greeted me and respectfully gave me a day to recover. It was a much needed break with birthday celebrations kicked in upon waking up the next day, decorated with many Danish flags across the apartment. By folklore, it stated that dependant on the weather, you would have a great year if the weather was sunny or a bad year if it rained. Thankfully after weeks of unpredictable weather, the sun stayed up and began with a delicious Danish breakfast, followed by a 4 hour bike ride across Copenhagen’s well known landmarks. The following day after seeing everything Copenhagen had to offer, I made the spontaneous decision to travel to another destination: Malmo, Sweden. I was greeted with amazing architecture and history for a small city. The next day I flew back to Switzerland one last time to do last minute catch ups and goodbyes.
My last day!
Upon my return, I revisited Lucerne and attempted to do some last minute souvenir shopping, sightseeing and enjoying the last public viewing of the Euro Cup. My final night was back in Winterthur where the journey all began and with all final preparations done, I left the next day with many memories and good times.
Total number of hours spent on plane (not including transfer waits) – 55 hours
Longest time spent awake –
I highly recommend visiting these countries as there is so much to explore and learned so much during the past month. I want to thank all the guides across the world, and the wonderful students who gave up the time to show me their beautiful cities in Switzerland and for those who came to see me, even for a short hello. As there was many who have missed the chance to catch up, don’t worry, I promise to return very soon and we can do it all again!