Summer 2011 by alec mc_leish
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  • 1. SummerOn the last day of school I thought to myself, summer ishere. Throughout the 2 days it was chaotic in my housebecause everybody was gathering up all their electronics andpacking clothes that we liked. On day 3 everyone woke upat almost the same time, everybody was rushing arounddoing their own thing andunplugging all electronics andthen suddenly my dad calledout, “We`re leaving!” We allgot into the car, said good byeto Humbug and I thought itwas all very sudden. Thethought which was goingthrough everybody`s mind was; Brazil here we come!
  • 2. On the way to the airport I was makingsilly accents of different countries sotime passed very quickly. When we got to the airport we said good bye to Anna and we went inside the terminal. First we went to Frankfurt. The stop over there was roughly 2 hours but we only spent a few minutes in the lounge. We were about to board when we saw thebiggest passenger plane ever, the one which has 2 floors.We all thought that we would be going on that airbus, sowhen my dad asked the man at the desk whether we wouldbe fliying on that plane the man said no, we would be goingon another plane !We all felt a little bit sad but when we got on the plane itturned out to be a Jumbo so we all cheered up a little.When we got Sao Paulo in Brazil we immediately had aconnecting flight to Iguassu. When we arrived in Iguassuwe were picked up by a minibus and our tour guide, (Alex)and drove about 20 minutes to our hotel right next to thefalls.
  • 3. We arrived at a **** hotelcalled Das Cataratas. Assoon as we got there we hada shower and then we setout to do the four hourBrazilian hike around thefalls which made us very late!We saw Devil`s Throat; one of the three biggest waterfalls in the world and we could stand virtually on the edge. I was so scared because the barrier seemed so creaky so I dared myself to look over: it was truly amazing. When we got back from the hike we were all tired and soaking wet,so we warmed up next tothe log fire. We woke up early thenext morning to go toArgentina. The journeytook about an hour and abit in the minibus. Westarted the Argentiniantour around the falls and it
  • 4. began to rain and it looked like it was probably going to rainthe whole time we were there. This was so amazing to seeall the hundreds of falls in the rain. When we returned to Brazil we went on a fantastic boat trip which went under the falls. Our boat was red and the Argentinian boats were yellow. It was still raining but by that stage I had given up trying to stay dry so I just enjoyed it. We went right under the falls so we got really wet!! A frog could have swum in my shoes.
  • 5. When we got back to the hotel we went to bed early because we were leaving at 4:30 a.m. to go to the Amazon Jungle. We left for the airport but this time the journey felt much quicker than when we came. We said a big good bye to Alexwho was a great guide!We boarded the plane, a Gol flight whichwas a local airline in Brazil. We went toBrasilia, the old capital of Brazil, for astopover, and then we went to Manaus.When we landed in Manaus we had a 3hour and 45 minutes‟ drive into themiddle of the Amazon Jungle. We stayedon the edge of the Negro river in a lodge called Anavilhas Jungle Lodge. It was pouring with rain when we arrived and it was late so we went into our little, wooden cabin. When we woke up we had a buffet breakfast which was delicious, I loved all the twenty different kinds of local, tropical fresh fruit that had been
  • 6. picked that morningand all the exotic juices.The first activity we did was piranha fishing. Krishna took us out on a little, local,wooden motor boat and we fishedwith bamboo sticks. No one wassuccessful, except my mum and another person. When we came back my brother and I and an American guy who we became friendly with, swam in the warm, red Negro River. It was
  • 7. simply amazing,.
  • 8. After spending an hour and a halfjumping and playing tag we hoppedout and got ready for a marvellouslunch. After eating we went out withan awesome guide called Krishna whotaught us all the jungle craft and traps.For water we learnt how to cut thehanging vines and blow into the top of the piece of vine and watch the water trickle into our hands for drinking, surprisingly it tasted like normal, fresh water. At the end of the jungle expedition we saw a wild tarantula and a poisonous snake!!!After the hike in the jungle wegot ready for a breath takingsupper. At around 8 p.m. we setout in a small boat on the NegroRiver in the total blackness ofthe starry night. We were allextremely excited. That night we
  • 9. met an interesting American family. I am still keeping intouch with one of the children. On the night tour we sawcaimans, rainbow boas, sloths, it was simply fantastic.When we came back we went to sleep in our little cosycabin. The next morning we got up at about 4:00 to go by boat toan Archipelago to watch the sun rise over the 185 islands.These were not the kind of island you would expect, some ofthem you could not even stand onthem because they were full of snakes!!! The mangroves meant that you could not beach the boat or walk on the islands. You would have to have saw and a poisonous liquid for the snakes” ha ha”. Luckily, we saw a brief glimpse of a rare pink river dolphin.
  • 10. Afterwards we had a very good breakfast and later in themorning we set out on a 2 hour boat trip going through lotsof alleyways through and under mangroves and the guidespotted lots of birds and a boa curled around a tree trunk.
  • 11. When we got back to the dock we swam in the swimming pool, this time for about an hour. After lunch we went out on the boat to a big city called Novo Airão. Apart from that city there was not anything even remotely close forabout 6 hours away. Whenwe got to Novo Airão wevisited a young lady who hadrescued the pink riverdolphins from being huntedand eaten! We also playedwith the dolphins, includinglearning about them andpetting them. We learnt tohold their bottom jaws and drop the fish into its mouth andtake our fingers away quickly to avoid them being bitten
  • 12. off:/ After we walked around the simple and poor city. Therewere stray dogs everywhere and it was very dirty. When wegot back to the lodge we spent our last evening takingphotographs of everything we could lay our eyes on.The next day we said goodbye to everybody and left. On theway to the airport we met someone who was going to takeus for a private, little tour. First we went to see the giant lilypads, they were MASSIVE. Then we went to see a hugeanaconda which was on a house boat in the middle ofnowhere and there was a cute sloth, which movedunbelievablyslowly. After thatwe went to an island to try to catch some humongous fish with big pieces of wood with a string attached and a dead fish for bait. We stood behind the safety barrier and
  • 13. gently dropped the bait into the water and waited anxiously for something to happen. When the fish did bite it sounded like an underground mine going off. The first time that I heard it I jumped out of my skin. We hopped onto the boat and drove for about 10 minutes to the place where the riversmeet, at that point I had no idea what the meeting of therivers meant!!
  • 14. We were in the River Negro which was brown and had lotsof debris floating in it. The guy said to put our hands in thewater for some reason (I had no idea why!) we approachedthe line where the two rivers meet. We slowed down now,still with our hands in the water and we went from thebrown Negro River to the dark blue Amazon River and itwent from cold to hot; the Amazon was the hot one and theNegro was the cold one!! After all this we went to a harbourand got into a minibus and drove to Manaus airport to go toFortaleza!!! Wechecked in our bags and got onto theplane for Fortaleza. We arrived at about10 p.m. and we loaded all the bags on tothe roof of the car and set off for a 5 hour journey toJericoqcoara (luckily, I slept through it ). About half waythrough we had to deflate the tyres because of the sand onthe roads in Jeri. When we got there it was 3:00am and wescurried into our room and we went to sleep (very quicklyha ha).
  • 15. The next morning we went to have breakfast. After eating we explored the hotel and found out about all the sports around where we were staying. (These were all the different kind of sports: wind surfing, surfing, kite surfing, sandsurfing and body surfing, horseback riding and buggytours). I went to try and negotiate the price down for someof them and ask the details. After lunch (which we had outin Jeri) we all had a snooze. We woke up so late that that itwas nearly sun set so we went to watch it on a very big sanddune. We spent about 2 hours playing and jumping off thesand dunes. There must have been 100 people max there:children jumping off the cliff onto the sand (including meand my brother) and adults either lying on the sand orwatching the children play! On the other side of the hillthere were people trying to sandsurf (which I tried as well). It wasreally good fun and then when thesun disappeared everyone camerunning or walked down, even oldpeople. This was the routine everyevening.
  • 16. After this my brother and I would run through the shallowwater and sprint back to the hotel on our own. We met upwith our parents in their room because they didnt come tothe sand dune. Wed change and maybe shower and then go out to eat somewhere in Jeri. When we woke up the next morning we had breakfast and we looked further into wind surfing (our first activity) and we booked a time for around 2:00pm. My dad said that if we dont have a snooze then we cant go wind surfing and so of course we went to sleep. When we woke up we were all exited it was only me, my mum and my brother who wentto have a lesson. We spent 3 hours in the water trying to getour balance and get the hang of it. We all had some amazingfalls and surprises but most of all we had an amazing time!After a quick swim in the pool my brother and I went to thesand dunes and played with our local friends which we hadmade.
  • 17. On day 3 we went on a sand buggytour around the lagoons and sanddunes. Our chauffeur arrived with anew white buggy. When everyone hadsettled in their places we set off on aday‟s trip. About 10 minutes had passed we arrived at our first lagoon were they had red seahorses which are very rare. We had a private tour around looking for the sea horses. The man who took us on the boat really wanted to find us a seahorse otherwise he didn`t get paid. Luckily, he found some and they were amazing to look at! We got back and we set off in our buggy again through little streams of water, some of them were half ameter deep. We couldn`t go through right away because ourchauffeur had to check if the water was too deep for outexhaust pipe and whether it was quicksand or firm enoughfor the buggy to pass safely. He did thisby getting out and carefully treadingforwards. Then we saw a typical fishingpractice with a very long net.2 menstood on a ragged raft, 1 meter square,one man punting out to sea, and the
  • 18. other was holding the middle of the huge net. It took about20 people on the shore to pull it in and when they hadfinished we saw so many different kinds of fish and evenmanaged to touch some.When we were riding in the buggy againwe arrived at a river which was a bit too wide and deep forus to cross so there was a relatively small little woodenbarge with two people on it punting. It was quite a long wayto punt. After this we got into the buggy and said thank youto the people, and we vroomed out of sight. We wentthrough a tunnel of mangroves and just when we wereabout to get out of the tunnel there was a little coconutstand in the middle of nowhere with no one there whichwas funny. Next we arrived at old Tatatuba which wasalmost all covered with sand; all the houses were covered upto the top with sand and only a few houses were leftuntouched. There was a place which we had specialcoconuts which are not as hard as normal ones. First wedrank the milk from a little hole they cut in the top and thenwhen we had finished drinking they would cut it in half and
  • 19. we could scrape out the milky, white flesh. There was a green parrotwhich actually went up onto your shoulder and didwhatever you asked it do. We drove about 10 minutes until we got to the 2nd lagoon and there for the first time that day the rain caught us and all the sand got wetwhich was a great shame because there was sand surfingthere but when the rain came the sand got wet. Sand surfingis like snowboarding except there were no buckles, just
  • 20. foam straps on the boards and I had bare feet. When the rainwent away I still tried it but it was not good because theboard wouldn`t slide. We had to move on because everybody was hungry. So we went to the next lagoon and ate lunch. The tables were standing in the water which was extra cool. My brother and I swam under the empty tables and swung in the hammockswhich were also in thewater. We watched thewind surfing guys having aparty because there was astorm coming so there wasa lot of wind and they wereexited. We saw them do alot of tricks and go veryfast, but we knew that if there was a storm coming that weneeded to go homequickly. We got into
  • 21. the buggy and we drove for about an hour in the rain andbecause our heads were above the roof it felt like bulletshitting our faces. We got home and the rain stopped.When we reached the hotel we said good bye to our chaufferwho was very nice and my brother and I went to meet ourfriends and then went to the sand dune as usual. Day 4 was a very calm day and we didn‟t do much thatday. All we did was change hotel from a ** to a *****in themorning. The new hotel was Chilly Beach Hotel. In theafternoon we went to doa 3 hour session of windsurfing and we learnthow to turn and do somespeeding for 2 minutes orso. When we finishedour lesson we went backto swim in the pool andat 5:30 we went to thesand dune. After we went out to eat like we did all the othernights. We went to a restaurant named Chocolat.
  • 22. On day 5 we went wind surfing and we learnt moretricks and turns and of course we had our falls.After wind surfing we were half way back to the hotel whenwe saw a huge crowd of local people shouting, whilelooking up a tree. Whenwe got closer we saw alittle boy. no more than 12years old, who was up thetree and throwingcoconuts down for therestaurant owner tocatch. When he had thrownabout 10 down for a localrestaurant he started toclimb down andeverybody was telling himwhere to put his feet. Afterthat drama we went back to
  • 23. the hotel and straight into the pool. We swam for about anhour and then I created a silly hair style and that was how itall started.Then Munro, my other bother who‟s 3,did a Mohawk and my other brotherMax, who‟s 9, did a scruffy one. Wedid that for about an hour and then asusual, Max and Iwent to the dune for sunset and friends. On day6 we had an even lazier day than day 4, which was actually okay in the morning. In theafternoon we went to wind surf for the last time, which Ihave to say was the worst lesson of all. That was a reallygreat shame. It wasn‟t good because there was so muchwind. Okay, usually you would say, “Great!” that it was a lotwind, but not for beginners and especially in a tiny areawhich was between two sand banks. This meant that thewater was only half a meter deep and there were familiesswimming in it. It was so completely crazy. The familieswere just lounging around being very lazy and this wasprobably the thought which was going through their minds:“Hey look there`s a wind surfer coming in my direction.What shall I do? I know, I`ll get a photograph to show just
  • 24. how close they came to me and then I`ll have anotherbeer”. Max and I had to get off our boards every 18seconds because of the families, the depth and the size of thearea we were allowed in. It was about the length of a normalkitchen with 2 beginners bumping helplessly into eachother. It wasn‟t really a lesson it was more like obstacle course with lazy humans. Luckily, it was only my brother and me so it was only madness and chaos but if my mum had gone at the same time as us it wouldhave been highly dangerous. When wearrived back at the hotel, we packed allthe bags ready for day 7 and then swamin the pool. After Max and I did ourusual tour to the sand dune and saidgood bye to all our friends, usinggestures. I was sad to say good bye tomy afro friend who lent the boards tome for free instead of charging me. We did the dune routineone last time.
  • 25. On day 7, at about 10:00a.m. a Land Rover, a reallyextreme one, came to pick us up. We said goodbye to thepeople at Chilly Beach and set off for another 5 hour journey back to the airport. When we had gone about a quarter of the way, we came into a series of villages. In the middle of the countryside we sow a little moped with two men on it which was pulling a trailer behind with a huge speaker onit which was so loud and it was blasting Party Rock Anthemwith the volume cranked up fully. It was in such anunexpected area. We were all quietly looking at thecountryside and then suddenly we heard; party rocking inthe house tonight. After we overtook it we drove throughsome more villages where wepumped up the tyres and it wasanother boring and quiet 2 andhalf hours with no more parties.We arrived at the airport butonly in the nick of time and wejust made it to the gate whenthey were calling our names inthe loud speakers. At last we were on the plane to Rio!!
  • 26. When we arrived in Rio at about midnight we got toour hotel and went straight to bed. We all woke that nightto a strange sound, it was like a siren I woke up first to findthe door open so I shut it so no-one could hear the noise andthen I noticed a bag had been moved to a different place andit was open. A few minutes later when everyone woke up Itold them what I had done. The siren was still deafening andso my dad went down to tell someone about what hadhappened at the desk downstairs. When my dad and theman came up the man did something and the siren stopped,and then almost immediately it started again so the guy whohad come up called an electrician to come and fix it. Whenthe electrician came, this was about 20 minutes later; wecould eventually go to sleep in the sound of peace. We wokeat 9:00am because we had to go on our tour and our guidewas waiting for us.At breakfast we weretalking, mostly aboutwhat had happenedlast night. Afterbreakfast we wentout to meet ourguide, Lois and droveinto Rio for our firstactivity. We visitedthe end of thecarnival road in Rio.
  • 27. Then we drove to the funicular station and went up to see Christ which took about half an hour. When we arrived at the top it was packed. Christ was fantastic. Christ is a huge statue on the highest point of Rio and so y u can see it from everywhere in Rio. There was also a little church at the bottom of Christ. At the station on the way down we saw a really cheeky monkey, which tried to steal a man‟s hat.We drove back in the minibus to Santa Terrasa, which was the section in Rio where our hotel was and the only place where there are trams. We just managed to hop on, as it was departing the station. The tram waspacked, so my mum, Lois and I hung onto the rail on the sideof the tram. It felt awesome, just like in the movies. Afterthe tram ride we went to see the local shops in Santa Teresa.On the walls there was some amazing graffiti and street art.After lunch, which we had in local café, we went to see the
  • 28. famous Salaron steps which are covered in his colourful tileswhich he imports from many different countries.Then we had another late night in Rio.
  • 29. On day 2 we started theday by visiting thefamous Ipanema area.We rode on bikes,which we picked upfrom the beach ofIpanema. About halfway through ourjourney we came to a fish market which was so fresh that that some of the fish were still moving. This was really upsetting for me; people were actually buying slimy, wriggling fish. We rode for another 10 minutes until we arrived at some huge sand castles made out of sand and glue. We saw about five different kinds. Then we rode to Sugar Loaf Mountain, and went up on the cable car. This was somehow an evenbetter view than from Christ.After Sugar Loaf we went down to theport and bought some delicious sardinesfrom a local, little restaurant which wethen ate outside on a little wall just byharbour.After lunch, dad and Munro stayed at thehotel because Munro had to go to sleep.The rest of us went to a favela, which is
  • 30. an illegal shanty town made from bricks and rubbish. When we entered we were all walking down a little alleyway and we suddenly heard; “STOP, put your hands up”. I then saw that there were about 20 policemen all pointingloaded Thompsons submachine guns at us. I wasn‟t stupidso I immediately put my hands up luckily it was only theguide who took off his shirt and proved that he wasinnocent. He did this by showing a special mark on his t-shirt. When we were there we saw a project calledMorrinho which was started by a teenager, when he firstmoved to Rio. It is a 320 meter squared miniature replica ofthe favela made out of single bricks, Lego people and toy cars. They film little movies using remote control helicopters and their hands. We bought one of the films and a shirt. After the favela we returned to the hotel and we told my dad about the police raid. I explained to
  • 31. him what kind of guns theywere pointing at us. He didn‟tlike the fact that I couldidentify different types ofsubmachine guns (ha ha).Day 3 started early in themorning. My dad and I went tothe local airport in Rio to fly toSao Paolo for the day. When wearrived, we were greeted by Ian,one of my dad‟s colleagues. Wetook a 20 minute taxi drive to my dad‟s new office in Sao Paolo. I met my dad‟s other colleagues, and one of them took me out to have a huge strawberry milkshake. We went out to lunch and we chatted for about 3 hours. Finally, we finished and we had to go back to Rio.
  • 32. Day 4 started with a visit to the local market which had all sorts of fruits. Then we drove for about 2 hours to the famous Botanical Gardens. At the entrance we saw Avenue of Royal Palms which is 750 meters long and has ahundred and 134 palms in it and they all grew from seeds from just one tree. There are more than 6,000 different species of tropical and subtropical plants and trees, including 900 varieties ofpalm trees.It wassimply anamazingplace to be.
  • 33. Next, we stopped at a restaurant to have lunch. After lunch my brother and I climbed a huge tree next to the place where we ate. We left there and drove in the minibus down a hill to a deserted beach where there were the biggest waves I‟ve ever seen in my life. I think the waves got to 2 ¾ meters maximum. We went body surfing in those massive waves which wasprobably the best part of ourtime in Rio. We had to rushback to meet a special personin Rio to take us in anotherfavela to see different project.Max and I played with thelocal children at the school inthe favela. Day 5, our last whole day in Brazil, Ian and Camil, friends of ours from Sao Paulo came for the day. We went to the seaside toa fair and there we had a good
  • 34. lunch listening to a solo musician who played for the restaurant. After we went round the fair and played a little. In the evening we went out to an amazing restaurant. The walls were completely covered with almost anything you could imagine; skis, boats, anchors, dogleashes and curtains. Day 6 was our travelling day (backto Switzerland). When we got to theairport at about 12 o‟clock, wecollected all of our bags. We were allvery sad to be leaving because we hadhad so much fun in Brazil. When we arrived in Geneva Annawas waiting for us outside. We gothome at around 1:30 p.m. A friend fromAmerica called Ben, arrived 45 minutesbefore us on the same day. He was already at home, asleep.When we arrived he had a skin jumping surprise when wewoke him up to come up to Verbier, with Anna. Later onthat evening my mom had to go to pick up my Hungariancousins from the airport at 8 p.m. and then drive to Fechy.
  • 35. The next morning we had a very lazy morning as we were all extremely jet lagged. After lunch we went to play tennis with Ben, our coach from America. The next day our cousins arrived in Verbier. My brother, Max, got a huge virus and he was very ill.The weather was terrible, so almost all the time we wereinside watching TV and building forts with house materials.After lunch I played tennis butMax couldn‟t play tennis becausehe was too ill the whole time Benwas here, so I had lessons on myown (he he).We played Wii and watched someTV but they didn‟t understand
  • 36. English well enough to enjoy it so we changed to aHungarian movie and talked about what was happening inHungary and what they were going to do while they were inVerbier. I told them that the first thing that we would do was to go down to Martigny to do a labyrinth. There were also a lot of slides, bouncy castles and weird vehicles which were really cool. We played for a little bit after the labyrinth on the slides and bouncy castles but we had to return to Verbier because Ineeded to play tennis. After lunch the next day, I playedtennis with Ben as usual and after that we all went to playminigolf. There were so many different kinds of holes so ittook us quite a long time to get around. The next day was our first sunny day so we went onthe cable car up to Ruinettes and then climbed up themountain to Cabane de Mont Fort for lunch. We were allabout 40 minutes from our destination. I was in front withLevi, my youngest cousin. My other cousin, Mathe wasbehind and my brother was with my mum and our dog,Humbug. We assumed that Mathe was with them. By nowthe visibility was very poor because the clouds had suddenlyappeared. The weather had changed completely in just 10minutes. So when my mum came into sight we called out, “IsMathe with you?”
  • 37. They replied, “No we thought that he was with you!” We said, “No he isn‟t.” So we all started to panic, especially when we foundout from my mum that he had last been seen walking up therugged mountain in the wrong direction following two totalstrangers. So Levi and I totally freaked out and startedrunning through the dense mist upwards screaming “Mathe,Mathe”. There was no reply so of course Levi and I startedrunning to Cabane de Mont Fort like we were dementedfreaks! Time accelerated as our beating hearts sounded likeangry drums. At last the silhouette of the Cabane cameslowly out of the heavy, grey clouds. We ran inside to findhim perfectly okay! Levi and I found this very strange so weasked him what had happened he said “I was with Max andHumbug when I saw you guys so I asked your mum whetherI could go with you for the last bit she said fine so I startedwalking towards you. When I found out that I had beenfollowing to strangers I started to panic and I started towalk on my own. I could see the Cabane but now it lookedmuch further than it looked before plus there was hugeclouds descending lower and lower so I ran faster andfaster”. To our great relief he was. When my mum, brotherand Humbug arrived a storm arrived as well. So we told Leviand Mathe (who did not know anything about mountaincrafts) them the rules on the mountain; you should never gowithout someone with you and never go in an area whereyou are not familiar with because you don‟t know where it
  • 38. could lead you to. My mum explained to him that theweather could change from a wonderful, warm sunny day tocloudy, grey weather with no visibility in literally in lessthan 18 minutes. By now the clouds were so thick and thelight so dull that we couldn‟t see anything at all. When wehad finished our ham and chips my mum‟s phone rang and itwas my dad reminding us that I needed to go to play tennis.Mathe and I left to walk down by ourselves. The momentwe left the cosy, warm Cabane I realised how dangerous thesituation was. I tried not to worry him so I pretended it wasa normal precaution to rope us together and told him that allfamilies had special words for communication. As he onlyunderstands Hungarian I came up with our family word (hehe), fank which means doughnut. I told him that if you saythe word or tug on the rope 3 times it means you‟re asking ifyou‟re okay, 2 times meant that you needed help and 1 timemeant that I‟m injured. He enjoyed all of this thinking that itwas a real life adventure. I was really anxious but didn‟tshow it because he had already had a big drama that day. Sofor me it was a huge responsibility, especially as we only hadthin jumpers and no way of communicating with anyone.We couldn‟t see anything in front of our faces; we could justsee a small area by our feet. We searched for the lift forabout 15 minutes. Finally we reached the lift which felt likea great relief, as we thought all of our troubles were over!!!!In my head I was celebrating that we were both alive.(hallelujah!) The lift man was a grumpy old chap and wasabout to close the lift but with some persuasion and a little
  • 39. lying from me he waited until my mum and a 3 years old and2 other 9 years olds. When Mathe and I got down to thevillage it was raining. So when we arrived at my chalet Italked to my tennis coach and he said that tennis wascancelled because of the rain. All of the dangerous life killingchoices were for nothing (argh). That afternoon it was stillraining so we played hide seek all around the house. We gotso carried away with playing that we spentabout 3 hours. That night we all went out to supper withBen and my cousins to Borsalino. When we woke the next day we waited until I playedtennis. Then we went swimming altogether and did flipsand jumps into the pool. We played Marco Polo andsardines at home. We had a lovely, lazy evening eatingmarshmallows by the fire and had a good sleep. The next morning, after breakfast we played on thecomputers and watched TV. I played two hours of tennis. Itwas another fantastic tennis lesson like every other one.After tennis my cousins and I went down to the Swiss
  • 40. Vapour Park, It is amodels village with thehouses the same heightas me. We had funriding on all the littletrains. It was coolbecause you could siton top of tiny littlereplicas and it felt reallyreal (but in mini land).Before supper that night it was my responsibility to takeHumbug out for a walk so I asked if anybody wanted tocome, but as I expected no-one wanted to come so I tookHumbug out by myself. On my cousins last day in Switzerland we went downto Martigny to see the Monet paintings at the PierreGianadda Foundation. It was really good fun to see all theoriginal paintings of the really famous painter and learn hishistory. The next day was a sad day because my cousins wereleaving. We weren‟t too sad because we would be seeingthem soon in Hungary. They left with Anna and Munro ataround 8:00 to go to the airport. They were going to fly backby themselves for the first time. Levi was looking atsomething in the Departures area and wandered off. WhenAnna, Munro and Mathe arrived at the gate they realisedthat Levi was missing so they started screaming their headsoff, shouting, “Levi, Levi!” so the whole airport could hear
  • 41. them. The man who was taking the boarding passes thoughtthat they were completely mad and everyone else juststopped and stared. Around the same time as Levi and Mathe left, we drove to Gestaad to watch the Swiss Open tennis tournament. Unfortunately it started to rain so we only saw part of a match. This was a great shame for Ben because he had been w looking forward to it so much. Missing the tennis was annoying but we spent the time filling ourselves up with lots of cakes.So that was the fun part of the day. On the way back toVerbier we went to a restaurant to eat supper. When wearrived at home we went straight to bed. The next morning,while I was playingtennis my parents left togo to Italy. In theevening, Anna left withMunro and Max to go toairport to pick up Eliand Istvan, who come tostay with us. They wereHungarian friends ofours who came to help Anna to look after us while myparents were in Italy. When Eli and Istvan came it wasabout 10:00 o‟clock.
  • 42. The next day Max went to school for the morning as henormally did. Ben and I did not have tennis that day soinstead we rented dream bikes and went downhill riding. Iloved it but as neither of us knew what the colour codes ofruns meant, we just vaguely guessed. First, we went downthe blue for some warm up runs and then we wantedsomething a little bit trickier so the red looked like the nextstep up. It turned out to be some mad run with extremelydangerous obstacles so we ended up lifting our bikes downthe whole run. Luckily the bikes were quite light but wedid carry them a very long way because we weren‟t preparedto take the risk of getting killed!!!* After this experience welearnt our lesson not to go down something where we didn‟tquite know what‟s round thenext corner! The yellow signhad three zigzags so as thered had only one; wepresumed that it would besuper easy. We set offrelaxed and happy and asyou may have guessed wefinished feeling battered,bruised and with scars allover our bodies. I went for myparaponting with aninstructor. First of all Istrapped myself into the
  • 43. harness, and then he told me to run as fast as I could downthe mountain. We got up speed and the parapont filled withair. Suddenly, we just lifted off the ground and I was flyingfor the first time in my life. It was so incredible to be floatingover the whole of Verbier. On the flight I did 360 turns and aback flip. When we were about 50 meters off the groundand he pulled out a 5 franc and threw it onto the ground andwe bet whether we could land on it or not. We could see itglimmering and I did manage to land on the coin but Istumbled and fell forwards in a heap then he fell on top ofme! Later, I told Ben how exciting it was and he said he justhad to try it. So the next morning he went up the mountain and triedit. After his flight he admitted that he had been too scared totry doing a back flip but he did a 360 instead and reallyenjoyed it. The next day Ben left for Berlin to meet a friend. Annatook him dawn to the airport, and we went down to ourpool to swim and use the exercise machines for two hours.When Anna came back we all watched a movie together andwent to sleep. The next day was August1st, the Swiss National Day.The street in front of our place was closed because of all thestalls! We went up and down the street and looked at allthe different stands and the activities. That night there weresome magnificent fireworks which was simply amazing. Itlooked like God was painting the sky.
  • 44. We drove back to Fechy and met my parents whoarrived from their time in Italy. We had supper with mygran and another cousin who was my gran‟s temporarycarer. So that was nice. The next day we played hide and seek with my cousin,Jamie. We swam in our pool and we went up to Signal duBougy tree climbing which was very good fun and then wehad another supper all together. The next day we prepared forthe last part of the summer holiday-Hungary!!! My mum had to pack thecar and put the roof box on our carwhich was full to the top. We set offfor a two day journey. We‟d beendriving for a long time and by noweverybody was hungry so westopped at our usual café and therewe had an American breakfast with blueberry pancakes. We headed off again and later stopped for lunch. As it was my dad‟s birthday we had a picnic which was really good fun because we ate right next to a big dam and had a delicious pudding.
  • 45. My dad said that if we didn‟t get a move on we would belate for the hotel. So we packed up quickly and set off againto our Austrian destination for that day. As soon as we gotthere we rushed out of the car to the playground I usuallydon‟t like playgrounds but this one is fantastic. There aretwo slides that are really long. When you look at it from theoutside it looks boring but when you go down the slides it issuch fun. We‟ve always stayed at this hotel. I‟ve been goingto it since I was a baby. So it kind of turned into a traditionto go break our journey there eachtime on the way to Hungary. Thatevening we had Wiener schnitzeland some homemade ice tea forsupper. We had a good night‟s sleepready for the rest of the journeytomorrow. The next day we woke up and went downstairs to have breakfast and after we went to the playground again for the last time. We continued our journey to Budapest. Whenwe arrived in Vienna, my dadthought it would be a good idea tolook around. So we went toSchonbrunn Palace to go site seeing.
  • 46. We learnt about the Austrian Hapsburg Empire and how itaffected Hungary. We also looked at some outdoor toyinventions. There were different types of mazes, some weregood but some were boring. We met up for lunch in a smallrestaurant next to the palace which was delicious. Afterlunch we had to push on because we still had quite a longway to go. We were heading for my grandparents‟ housebecause my two brothers and I were going to spend thenight there. When we arrived at their house we spent timesettling in. My parents left to stay in our flat in Abonyiwhile we visited relations. When they had left, Max and Iwent out onto the pavements and rode on electric scooters,which my grandfather had made us out of an ordinary pairof scooters. We had fun and rode them for a long time. Wewatched some TV and went to bed. The next morning we had a traditional Hungarianbreakfast which had; salami, lots of the best Hungariancheese, fresh bread and paprika. After breakfast we went onthe scooters again. Later we picked fruit and veg from theirgarden for my grandmother to cook with for lunch. We hadthe typical cold fruit soup which was absolutely delicious.After lunch our aunt, Timi came to pick us up to stay attheir place for two nights. We said good bye to mygrandparents. My grandmother gave us a big load of herfamous fresh doughnuts. So we took them to their place toeat. We arrived there, said a quick what‟s up and settleddown to eat the all the doughnuts. We played Halo Reachon their x-box. Then we went down to their school which
  • 47. was about a five minute walk away to play basketball withMathe and Levi‟s friends. But when arrived down there itturned out that nobody wanted to play basketball so weplayed football for an hour. Then that got boring as well sowe walked back up again. That night we got ready for aparty that they had been invited to and we came along asguests. We walked over to the other people‟s house andwhen we arrived there we played hide and seek. Although itwas a small garden it had several great places to hide and weplayed on the Wii as well. For supper we had tastybarbeque on the grill. The next day it was a special hunting day and as Laci,my cousin‟s dad was a hunter we went to it. We drove forabout 2 hours over army territory. We saw bombed uptanks and a soldier running with a gun totally on his own, inthe middle of nowhere. When we arrived there we went andlooked around to see what there was to do and Laci signedin. The first thing we did was archery. I really enjoyed thatwe used real hunting bows and arrows. After archery wewalked over to the range where they did clay pigeonshooting. Luci signed in to try with his own double barrelshotgun. Mathe and I were very keen to shoot so we askedLaci whether there was a chance for us to have a go. Laciwent and asked the judges if it was okay for us to shoot afterthe competition. We had to wait for a long time so we didother stuff like archery again and ate lots of food.We alsolooked at the knife and trophy stands. Then it was Laci‟sturn to go clay pigeon shooting. We still had about an hour
  • 48. and a half hour left to wait, so we went for a walk in theforest and we saw some wild pigs. In the mud there werelots of different kinds of animal tracks such as deer and pigsand we ate wild black berries off the bushes. When wearrived back Laci told us about how big the recoil was andwhere we had to place the end of the gun. It was an amazingfeeling to shoot with a real gun. I hit the box twice and wehad three tries. On the way back we all slept in the car (Ireally don‟t know why!) The next morning we had another delicious traditionalHungarian breakfast. Afterwards we had a water fight withwater gun. We had great fun watering their dog, Bator. Ataround lunch time we were picked up by my mum and dadto go to our place in BALATON. It took about two hours toget to our place. On the way there we have to cross the ferryover BALATON Lake. When we arrived at our small hut wewere invited over for a barbeque at our only neighbours. Ourlocation was in the hills, roughly10 kilometres away fromthe BALATON Lake and in the middle of nowhere. We wereall ready to walk over there when the wind came up. Wehelped to make a huge fire. Because there was so much windand I was the oldest child I had to have a hose ready in myhands for safety. So whenever the fire spilled onto theground or sparks flew I would have to hose the grass downquickly because it was so dry and we could have started aserious forest fire! We had a delicious barbeque for supper(yum yum). That night we slept really well on our comfybeds!!!!
  • 49. We woke up the next morning and as the wind wasreally strong we flew our kites for a long time. In theafternoon we played football and explored our surroundingsbecause we hadn‟t been there for almost a whole year. We were all up at 9:00 o„clock the next morning. We allsat outside on our deck and ate breakfast. Afterwards, mydad and my baby brother went out shopping for food and onthe way they found a horse riding place. So we thought ofgoing that afternoon. When we arrived there they hadalready prepared the horses for us. So without further adowe set off on our horses. It was only my mum, brother and Iwho came because my dad doesn‟t like horse riding! Wetrotted, walked, galloped and traversed through trees. As Iam an experienced rider I was given the biggest and mostdifficult horse in the whole stable. This trip was a muchbetter experience than the last time we went riding inHungary. The next day we visited Tapolca, a town close by. Thebest bit by far was the fantastic ice creams (Yum Yum). Ichose a blue one with red spirals going up it. I had no ideawhat flavour it would be, I just loved the pattern. We drankan ice tea in a nearby café. Then we walked around thetown a little more, looking into the windows of differentshops. The next day we were all fussing about whether or notto go Go-karting. Eventually, by late morning we made upour minds to go. It took around 40 minutes to get there.When we finally arrived we had to wait because it was
  • 50. busy. When it was our turn we sat in our Go-karts andvroomed off, around the dust circuit. We went as fast asthey would go so that our 5 minutes was used wisely. I wasthe last one to set off so Max had a big head start but in theend it was a tie, so no argument happened. On the way backwe talked about getting a Go-kart for us but as usual itturned out to be a big, fat NO. On our last day in our hut I rode down to our little localvillage. When I arrived at the shop I went in and boughtbreakfast. I wanted to buy a local magazine about secondhand tractors for sale but they didn‟t have one. So I waiteduntil my mum came in the car to pick me up. That was thegood part ;) of that trip only riding downhill. It would havetaken me at least 55 minutes to ride up on my little,wretched bike. Earlier that week I went and asked Sanyi,who looks after the hut while we are away, about whether Icould drive his tractor. He arrived and I sat on the tractorand he showed me where the gears and the pedals were andtold me all the other stuff you need to know. I drove forabout 10 minutes and thanked him very much because Ithought it was the best part of my stay at the hut. The next day we began our journey back to Budapest tostay with Eli and Istvan again. We didn‟t get to Budapestuntil late because of the traffic, so unfortunately Eli andIstvan were waiting for us for quite a while. When wefinally met them, outside the mall, they took us to see a Legoexhibition. It was amazing that teenage kids could do such a
  • 51. thing. My brother Max (who‟s a huge Lego geek) had hismouth open the whole time.Afterwards we went back to their apartment and wewatched a couple of movies and went to bed. The following day we went to the cinema and watched“Mr Poppins and his Penguins” in Hungarian. When wecame out of the cinema our parents came to pick us up andwe drove to Szeged. It was a very hot day. For lunch we hadthe famous Szeged fish soup. We drove to south of Szeged,to have a party, with my whole Hungarian family. Firstthing we did was to jump out of car and play with ourfriends. We explored the hotel and we found 3 of the cutestpuppies on earth. They were a cross between a blackretriever and something else. Then we had supper and afterwe went catching frogs with our bare hands untilabout11:00. Next morning we woke up and fished in the pond.Unfortunately, we didn‟t catch anything. Our time wasrunning out at the hotel, so the whole family moved out. Wehad lunch in another hotel. We played a good game of hideand seek. Sadly, it was now time to head back toSwitzerland. It took us longer that we expected to get to theSerbian border. They wouldn‟t let us go a cross because wedidn‟t have one of the papers that they wanted but my dadmanaged to persuade them to let us through. The view wasvery pretty and there were no cars on the motorway. Wewere all playing on our I pods when all of a sudden we saw acar driving in the middle of the road coming straight for us,
  • 52. which was a bit odd! Then we came off the motorway anddrove over the mountains. It was a long drive along theBosnian border to Zagreb. My dad used to work in Zagrebduring the war. The hotel which we booked to sleep over onthe way was in the forest above the city. The temperaturewas higher than 40° c. Luckily, our rooms had airconditioning which was a great relief. The next day we set off to find some new tyres. Then wehit the road to Champron, which was a semi-medieval town.We looked for a restaurant but there were only café s whichwas a bit weird. So we had some hotdogs instead and droveto our destination that day which was Verona in Italy. Wearrived quite late at night and we went to a café for a drink. Iplayed on my skateboard on the road in front of the café.Later we went to a restaurant, which my parents had beento when they were younger. It was very good in fact butthere was a slight problem with the wine, but apart fromthat it was a great evening. After super we were all verytired so we went straight to bed. On our last day of our trip we looked around more ofthe beautiful city of Verona and then set off for our finalDESTiNATION. We drove on a very pretty drive towardsthe Mont-Blank tunnel but when we arrived we had to waita very long time before we were allowed to drive through. Itwas worth the wait to see all that snow in the middle ofsummer. It felt just like winter! It took us about one hour toget home and we all started to get very excited to be homeso we ran in and that was it….