After another sweaty few hours of sleep, we woke up to what will be our last day on the tour. We quickly ate our breakfast to meet outside our hotel for a 7:30 departure. Helmut, our tour guide, was waiting for us fully decked out in lederhosen (very stylish) and traditional Austrian clothes. Sadly this was our last day but many of us were excited for one last day in the beautiful Alps of Austria and Germany.
Another perilous drive up into the mountains awaited us as we boarded the bus for the trip. We were soon off and in no time we had reached the German border. Many of us took one last chance for a photo of this border crossing for an infamous 2 points in the scavenger hunt. As we started our ascent into the alps we were greeted with a thick fog throughout the forest. An interesting experience as we drove through the fog not being able to see past 10-15 meters into the trees. A gold lift up to the eagles nest awaited us as our bus driver navigated the bus through the winding road. The eagles nest was perched on top of the mountain with an amazing panoramic view from the top. It was built for Hitler's 50th birthday, however we were informed that he did not like his present due to a fear of heights. The building was inconspicuous and looked like a normal house from far. However, it's history leaves a sad mark on the building that now stands there.
After many bad stares at us from customers at the restaurant as we made our way through, we made it to the room where Helmut gave us a brief history of the place. We were given an hour to spend our time for wandering around the area. We took the chance to walk to the highest point of the mountain and admire the view (through the thick fog and clouds). Those of us with short sleeves and pants soon found out the harsh way that it would be cold up there (by cold, we mean very cold). However, a man busking by yodelling at the top of the mountain raised the moods of some of us.
After an hour exploring the top of the mountain and eagles nest, we made our way back down. Some chose to catch the elevator while others chose to take the 20min walk down the side of the mountain.
We then drove back down the slightly dodgy road, to our next destination, which was the documentation centre of Salzburg. Before we went in, we got the opportunity to see an Austrian Mountaineering platoon. The museum itself had a collection of Nazi items and interesting information. We walked through the museum for around 20 minutes, then we travelled to the adjacent bunkers. The atmosphere of the bunker system was very dark, wet, and a bit creepy. Hallways ran through the underground complex, with rooms branching off. A small cinema displayed Nazi propaganda films, and another room had audio files playing. It was really damp and smelled pretty bad. All added up, it was not the kind of place that you would want to spend your days in.
We then took a scenic route on the bus back to Salzburg, and stopped at a Sound of Music location, much to Mr Verco's delight. The glass gazebo from the "Sixteen going on Seventeen" had been dumped outside a palace. While we were there, we checked out a pond. Then, to great relief of nearly everyone, it was lunchtime.
Though we were in Austria, a good 40 people from our tour, including the teachers, packed an Austrian burger joint. After everyone had filled up on cheeseburgers, and chips, we were given our last free time.
After free time, we proceeded to dinner, and then the real fun began. Split into 8 teams, all the boys competed to win the trivia championship. It was a close game, with ups, downs, and good banter, but only one team could win. That team consisted of Jack Lu, Woojin Lee, Ricky Zheng, Raymond Huang, and Daniel Baykitch, and the team was aptly named "Diversity quota".
Then 39 hyped-up teenagers were sent to bed for a 3 am start. May the lord help airport staff is all we have to say.
We would like to thank, on behalf of the boys, Mr Fisher, Mr Kenny, Mr Ruddock, Ms Christian and Mr Verco for everything they have done. They have constructed an amazing trip and everything we have learnt will stick with us for a long time. Many great memories will be taken home with us to share with our families and friends. Thank you teachers.
By Jonah Holmes and Nic Bulley