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As part of her educational curriculum, Funtaj International School organised an educational tour for 32 of her students. Fourteen-year-old Muktar Ajibola was one of them. He recounts his experience.

Before March 25, 2010, arrived I had dreamed many dreams of finally seeing for real all the beautiful things I had read and heard about…

Before March 25, 2010, arrived I had dreamed many dreams of finally seeing for real all the beautiful things I had read and heard about or seen in movies about Europe. I began counting the days with a lot of anxiety from when I confirmed I would be going on the three-week excursion organized by my school.

I didn’t sleep a wink as my anxiety and excitement ticked with the hands of the clock in my room and as I waited for 4.00pm, our departure time and quickly gave my bag for the routine check at school before we proceeded to the departure lounge at the airport.

We waited for the flight to Amsterdam and by 11.00pm, which was six hours from the nation’s capital, Abuja. It is the longest flight I have taken but the excitement refused to allow me feel tired.

As we landed at 6.00am, my first encounter with Europe was the biting 4°C cold as we bought train tickets to go to Brussels and waited nine hours to get on the train. I had calmed down and slept through the trip.

We stayed in an apartment in Zued-midi and immediately acquainted ourselves with the area and then started going to the OLL school in Cain Tram; but in a fun way.  We took French classes for four days.

We proceeded to Germany on a Saturday to a place called Heineken. I never in my wildest dream imagined Heineken was the name of place; as far as I knew before the trip it was a beer.  We had a tour of the ancient relics, malls, nice roads and beautiful buildings.  The churches and museum were spectacle and carried the history of the area.

In that museum, we saw the Davina portrait, the Monalisa and other ancient portraits of the Greeks and many more like them which before now, I had only read about or seen in movies. After that, we had lunch of burger, chips and a drone at McDonalds setting off for Brussels.

Week two, was a great one as we went to Luxembourg at the end of the week.  It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The prominent features of the place are its ancient building which have stood the test of time and will narrate the history of its country to generations unborn.

We toured Luxembourg in a bus accompanied by a hired tour guide who also was lecturing us about the places we visited.  We went to the Fortress of Luxembourg, the bridge which had the first European Union site on the right and a very ancient church as well.  Thereafter, we went to a place call ‘The Area of Europe’.

It had the most beautiful scenes and buildings in Luxembourg which signifies Europe Area.  We also went underground in that area and we were shown the ancient fortresses and the room which the 3,000 Luxembourg soldiers slept and stayed when they were attacked in the 16th century. It was an indescribably beautiful mixed feeling of excitement and sadness that many of these soldiers lost their lives in the course of protecting their fatherland as well as being able to behold this great piece of history.

It was quite cold and as we exhaled air, it became fumes.  We walked around Luxembourg streets and finally went to ‘Quince’ restaurant to have our lunch.  We were there for like two hours eating and playing with friends and then we finally headed back home.

The next week at school, we went to the zoo at Antwerp to see animals which we were taught and learn how to express them in French.  We had a list that we were to fill of all the animals we saw there.  After school, by 3pm, we went back home, had our meal and we slept in readiness for the next day.

That night was another near sleepless one for me as excitement once again built up in anticipation for the so-much-talked about Disneyland which I would see the following day in Paris.

As can be imagined, the thrill from the many rides, space mountain, rollercoaster to the tower of terror is beyond description.  It was really fun and the best thing was that I was there with my friends which made it interesting.  The climax for me was encountering Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Aladdin and their counterparts along with other guests like us. The rain brought our excitement to an abrupt end but did not flush the memories away. All the way back home we recounted and shared our personal feelings of the day.

After that week, we went to the mall in Roadbed, where we saw many things and shops like H&M, C&A, Footlocker, Molders, Louis amongst others. My head kept ringing about how I was seeing designer shops.

Although, things are very expensive in Europe, many of my friends still shopped but for me, I was broke and I had to call my dad for extra money.  He kindly but sternly obliged my request and sent an additional 200euros to me.  This indeed made me happy because I was finally able to shop like my friends did. 

The next time I went to the mall was two days later after school at the Grand place.  At the place, we saw the Manikin pis.  Then we saw other Brussels legends like the gods starting from Zeus to Ares.  Then, we went to a Greek restaurant to have our lunch.  All I can say was that I don’t like the food. I missed my mother’s cooking and my Nigerian food a lot.

Then we went to the Mall where we entered different shops and this time, I bought even more than my mates who had more money than I.

The following day we went to the Brussels Anthodium to watch a movie in the cinema entitled The Spy Next Door.  It was a comedy which we all enjoyed.

The next week we went to France again but this time, to a place called Paradise Paradiso where there were the most beautiful birds and other creatures like flamingos, okapi, parrots and others I had never seen.  We also went to the aquarium; there we saw fishes, dolphins, seals, and many more. I kept saying to myself how beautiful God is with his creations. 

We headed back to school and the following day was the last day of school and the most interesting. Immediately we finished our lesson, we had a party and there was lots of food and other stuffs.  Then we said goodbye to our teachers.  They were very sad and started crying because they were going to miss us.  Then we left school and had to get ready for our last trip before we left Brussels.

Amsterdam is a city which consists of lots of people who speak Dutch as a general language.  It is a very big busy city with ancient buildings. As we approached Amsterdam, we saw lots of nice roads, buildings and cars.  Then on our arrival, we had a tour guide to take us around Amsterdam.  At a point, we got off the bus and walked around a bit.  This was by far the coldest place we went to as our hands froze as we walked round.  It was 3°C this time. 

We then went on a boat to have a sea experience.  Since this was the first time I was on the boat, I was a bit scared but I came to find out that there is really nothing to be afraid of.  We were shown some ancient buildings and the ancient Amsterdam.  The city was one of the most beautiful and by far the busiest we have been to.

It was fun but we did not eat there which made us very angry.  There, we also went to the windmills of Holland which had giant fans in front of the towers.  Then we headed back home. 

On Saturday we were to come back to Nigeria and there was volcano eruption in Iceland and its ash covered the cloud making dangerous for planes to fly.  As a result of this, airports canceled all their flights to and out of Europe.  We were already dressed in the morning when we heard of this development we were indeed very upset and had to remove our clothes and waited for the next information.  The proprietress told us that we will be going back to Nigeria on Thursday and we were free for these four days and it was fun since we played.  Finally, we came back to Nigeria.

The trip was very exciting and we had fun and I wish I could go again and again, my parents and school, willing.

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