Fix Perspective

Teens Take The Train To Discover Europe

Nicole Hendry / youthjournalism.org

 

View overlooking the city of Prague, Czech Republic

 

By
Nicole Hendry
Reporter
BIRMINGHAM, England – There
is no better way to broaden ones horizons than to do so quite literally.
It definitely does not
scream rest and relaxation, but if you can stand smelly travelers and long
train journeys, there really is no other way to see Europe than via the InterRail
system.
In just 11 days, I saw
six different cities, used four different currencies and travelled 1,197miles.
The one consistent
factor we found was the people. It seems no matter how far afield you venture,
the Australian population will be represented in one form or another. One such
Aussie we met after a game of ring of fire that had the hostel bar run dry of beer
glasses estimated that there were “50million of us worldwide but only
23million back home.” 
Our trip saw 10 post
A-level teenagers teeter on the boundary of adulthood, torn between organizing
the shopping kitty and climbing trees. We explored the cities by day and night,
keen to soak up all we could in our short time in each one.
youthjournalism.org

Travelers climb a tree in Berlin’s largest park. From left: Luke Rostron, Nicole Hendry, Dominic Stevenson, Tom Lusuardi and Aarren Mannion. 
From our home in
Birmingham, England, to Liverpool, to Amsterdam, to Berlin, to Prague, to
Vienna and finally to Budapest – it was an adventure for overgrown kids as much
as anything. 
One of the most
interesting people we witnessed on our trip was in Prague. A small crowd was
forming as we approached the main square, and as typical tourists, we were
desperate to muscle in on the apparent action.
We found ourselves a
spot with a perfect vantage point and familiarized ourselves with what appeared
to be a drummer and dancer. They looked to be a peculiar pairing, but they put
on a good show and passersby tossed coins freely into the strategically placed
hat. 
Nicole Hendry / youthjournalism.org

 

A dancer and drummer perform on a Prague street for passersby, who dropped coins into a strategically placed hat.


The drummer was
incredibly skilled, unlike the male dancer who swayed and swaggered in a style
reminiscent of the last man on the dance floor of a drunken British wedding.
This was what was drawing in the crowd. 
He continued on his own
for a while before he surveyed the building crowd and spotted a woman bobbing
her shoulders to the beat at the edge of the circle nearest to him. He shimmied
over and pulled the rather alarmed-looking girl into the center and encouraged
her to go. All credit to her – she clearly was a dancer – she pirouetted and
leaped around for about a minute before his beckons became a little too creepy
and she disappeared back into the crowd. 
Not a man to be deterred,
however, he dived in after her, pulling her out again. She repeated the short
routine demonstrated previously before once again returning red-faced to her
friends, who were doubled over in laughter. 
The drummer, who had
been going solidly for the last 10 minutes or so, paused to rest a moment,
rubbing his palms against his legs and taking a sip of water. As he did so, the
dancer took a bow, pointed towards the hat and clapped as a few of the nearer
members of the crowd gave a few coins, and left. 
The rest of the gathered
tourists were as confused as we were and when the drummer began to play again
without the dancer, quickly lost interest and dispersed.
It was only as we headed
up the street towards the market that we saw the dancer, who had returned to
his makeshift bed and dog. The most entertaining part of the duo had in fact
been a completely random homeless man, who had nothing at all to do with the
drummer. He had raised what must have been three times the performer’s average.
 youthjournalism.org

 

Ready for a night out, the travelers pose in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Pictured are Aarren Mannion, Tom Lusuardi, Chris Nock, Nicole Hendry, Michael Johnson, David Smith, Charlotte Harrison and Steven Glare. 


It just goes to show the
unsuspected stories and skills the people of the world carry. The ‘Aussie rule’
should apply to all of us – 6.9 billion in the world, but only 3 billion at
home. 
My short tour of Europe
definitely gave me the traveling bug. Just the sight of a backpack now has me
reaching for my world map, itching the get going again. It has inspired me for
my gap year after my studies.
The world is such a
diverse and exciting place, I can’t wait to experience it further.