News – Walk to WordCamp Europe https://www.walktowc.eu Yes, it says walk Wed, 25 Sep 2019 06:00:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 https://www.walktowc.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/cropped-walktowceu-default-image-32x32.jpg News – Walk to WordCamp Europe https://www.walktowc.eu 32 32 Wrapping up Walk to WordCamp Europe https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/29/wrapping-up-walk-to-wordcamp-europe/ https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/29/wrapping-up-walk-to-wordcamp-europe/#comments Sat, 29 Jun 2019 07:58:20 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=2114 The last post about Walk To WordCamp Europe. Thank you all!

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The last stage to Berlin

On Wednesday June 19th, an important day arrived. It was the last day of my walk to WordCamp Europe, one of the biggest challenges in my life, to raise funds for DonateWC and to help people get to WordCamps to contribute to WordPress.

I slept in Potsdam, just 30km west of the Estrel Hotel and conference center, my final destination not only for this day, but also the final destination for the whole walk, 718 kilometers. Caspar, who was joining me for the final stage, was one of the first people to offer me a place to sleep. Together with all other hosts they were key ingredients of my walk. They provided a place for me to rest, a place to recharge, and a place to talk about my experiences of the day, and the days before. more information about the walk itself can be read in the post about this last stage.

Waking up for WordCamp Europe

On Thursday, June 20th, WordCamp Europe started with a Contributor Day. A day on which people van contribute to the WordPress project. Not just in code, but on al these area’s. There are 18 of them, so please take a look.

After breakfast I walked up to the registration desk where volunteers and organizers were preparing for registration to open up. I was welcomed by Remkus de Vries, in a slightly different way than my first meet with him in (I believe) 2011 when he just said ‘Hi nostromo’.

For me Contributor Day was a bit different than other times. I had a few planned interviews, talked with lot’s of people that were interested to hear my story, and took a rest in my hotel room to process all the attention I got. Oh, and I had a nice chat with Matt Mullenweg, on of the co-founders of WordPress, about, yeah, walking.

That night it was time for the speakers/volunteers/sponsors/organizer social event. A great location alongside the Spree. I met a lot of new people, talked about my walk (surprise!) and had a great time. Seeing so many people being inspired by what I did really gave me a good feeling.

The first conference day I attended the opening ceremony, and talks of Jenny Beaumont and Matt Mullenweg. That was it, the rest of day it was hallway track, interviews, selfies with people congratulating me and a small afternoon rest.

The second, and last conference day I was scheduled to be on stage. I did some final edits in my slides for the flash talk (10 minute talk) in the hotel lobby and went to Track 1 just to get a feeling of the room, and talk to the Room Manager about further planning. Around 11:00 I was ‘microphonized’, and waited for my time, 11:45.

My talk in Track 1

Here’s my talk.

This was an emotional experience, I almost cried a few times on stage because of the enthusiasm of the audience, by the numbers I presented, the organizer take-over and receiving my own Wapuu.

Resuming my experiences

If I were to summarize this whole adventure in one word, I would pick the word impressive. Let me explain. I had trained before I started, but not with:

  • heavy backpack (11 kg),
  • being alone during the day for more than two days
  • being outside all days
  • being in a small hotel in a small village with no shops/restaurants in walking distance
  • crossing a military practice area
  • seeing wolf tracks in a forest
  • walking on a hill and experiencing a close-by thunderstorm
  • walking on paths that were officially not there
  • being away from my family and coping with the emotions that come with that
  • Well, I can go on and on, you probably understand what I mean.

So many impressions, so many nice people, so many personal mental challenges, the joy of arriving in Berlin, and in other cites where family and friends visited me, sometime even by surprise.

Have I learned from this experience?

Oh yes I have. A lot, maybe even too much to mention. The key things I have learned:

  • Don’t be afraid of things you don’t know
  • Do things that feel uncomfortable and give you lots of energy afterwards (which you don’t know is going to happen, so just do it and see)
  • Focus on small achievements, not just the final goal
  • There’s no such thing as trying. Just do it, and if you fail, do it again.

Donation statistics

  • 107 donors
  • Average donation: €51,94 (!)
  • Donors from 28 countries

Transparency

I have received donations and got sponsor income. Because I didn’t want to use any of that money for myself, all income goes to DonateWC, excluding the cost of my replacement and the payment transaction costs. And because I want to be transparent, here are the numbers.

Total donations: € 5.557,70
Transaction costs:€ – 176,59
Sponsor income:€ 4.000
Transaction costs:€ – 43,67
Replacement costs:€ – 747,18
Total funds received:€ 8590,26

The final donation total

After even more donations came in after giving my talk on WordCamp Europe, the total amount of donations is:

€8590,26

Eight thousand five hundred ninety euros and twenty six cents. Thanks donors and sponsors!

Keep on walking

Have you blogged, tweeted, recorded a video about Walk To WordCamp Europe, please leave a comment with a link, I’ll post them in a list in this post.

Thanks to my sponsors

See all sponsors here.

Golden Shoe Sponsor

Silver Shoe Sponsor

Silver Shoe Sponsor

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Day 32 – Berlin https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/19/day-32-berlin/ Wed, 19 Jun 2019 20:51:21 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=2053 Read about the last stage of Walk To WordCamp Europe.

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The morning

After a good night of sleep, I woke up at 4:12am. Today is the day. The day I will complete my Walk to WordCamp Europe. Since it was going to be 30+ degrees Celsius today, Caspar and I agreed that he was going to be awake around 5am, so we could start early and enjoy the fresh outside temperatures. Ad so we did.

The walk

We first walked to a memorial of victims who got shot while trying to get into West Berlin, and flee East Berlin and the GDR (former Eastern Germany) Here you can read about the Berlin wall, and here’s a map with the wall as a layer.

After this visit of the memorial site, Caspar and I continued the walk along the Teltowkanal. A great route because it was green and we walked in the shade. We took a little detour to take a look at an old bridge that used to be a border checkpoint when the wall was there. We walked in the nature until Telkow, there we entered the urban area.

We had fun, talked about all kinds of stuff, from chimpanzees and gorillas to WordPress stuff and post World War II events. We took plenty of breaks to cool our feet and to apply some blistertape when needed.

The arrival

For our last break, we sat down on a bench under a highway bride. In the shade. The temperature had really gone up, and we really needed to cool down, drink some water and apply some more sunscreen. When we were ready, there was just 4km to go. The first part of the last phase we really walked together, but the more I came to the Estrel Hotel, the faster I was walking. Caspar said it was OK to continue., so that’s what I did. When I arrived on the bridge across the hotel, Noam, my son, came running towards me. We had the best hug ever, and then the rest of my family joined me. My daughter Mila, my wife Beatrijs, my parents, in-laws, and my niece Lilian.

We then continued to the entrance of the Estrel where a small crowd of people from the WordPress community were waiting for me. I hugged them all, and was given a cold beer.

I then quickly checked in, and hugged even more people that were inside. We went to my room, so I could have a shower and get some clean clothes my wife brought from home. We took a train to the Ostbahnhof to watch a piece of the wall. After having take some pictures there and telling our children what this wall was and meant for the inhabitants of Berlin, we went back to the hotel. I was getting tired.

We grabbed a small bite in the Biergarten of the Estrel Hotel, and the I said goodbye to my family again. Four more nights without them.

Here are some pictures of today:

Tomorrow

WordCamp Europe starts tomorrow. It’s Contributor Day and I have a few interviews planned about Walk To WCEU. Of course I will contribute, just not really sure in what form.

See ya!

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Day 31 – Potsdam https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/18/day-31-potsdam/ https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/18/day-31-potsdam/#comments Tue, 18 Jun 2019 18:13:34 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1996 I walked to Potsdam today, and left very early. Only one stage left.

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The morning

Well, waking up today was again very easy. At 4:45am I was awake… I took a fast shower, got dressed, packed my bag and grabbed the prepared breakfast the hotel made for me. At 5:27 I started walking.

The walk

Today’s walk from Gross Kreutz from Potsdam brought me though a rather diverse landscape. Small hills, forests, agricultural areas and orchards.

I started the walk so early because weather forecasts told me it was going to be very hot, above 30 degrees Celsius. I know my body operates well in temperatures in the 25 degrees Celsius range, but walking 30 kilometers with a 10kg backpack is another thing. I just wanted to be ready before the temperature hits it’s highest value today.

I left in the eastern direction, and a bit south, to Werder, across the Havel. On my right side I saw the Schwielowsee, a recreational lake. I thought about getting in the water, to take a swim, but I didn’t do it. Just kept on walking. From Geltow it was just a few kilometers to get to Potsdam.

Potsdam is huge and has a rich history. Read the wiki page here, it’s interesting. Around 1pm I arrived at the house of Tina and Caspar. They were very welcome and made me feel at home. I had a quick shower first, then I was invited to join lunch. I nice vegan meal prepped by Chef Caspar.

After a few business calls of Caspar we went to a shopping mall, because I needed to buy some thing.s Yes, I’m a bit vague, because people who are going to get those things might read this blog…

Finally we got some groceries and power bars for tomorrow, and we all did some work. I wrote this blog, Tina was creating some jewelry and Caspar did a little MC thing for WCEU.

Here’s my route of today.

Here are some pictures of today:

Tomorrow

The last stage.
The last kilometers.
Being welcomed by my family.

Can anyone bring tissues?

See you tomorrow, follow my Twitter account for live updates or follow the hashtag #WalkToWCEU on my progress, position and estimated time of arrival at the Estrel hotel.

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Day 30 – Gross Kreutz https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/17/day-30-gross-kreutz/ Mon, 17 Jun 2019 17:21:13 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1985 Today was a small walk. 12km to Gross Kreutz. It was really warm though.

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The morning

After waking up around 4:40am, I decided to take shower and just get ready. I got dressed, packed my bag and watched an episode of a Netflix series. Then, it was time for breakfast. A nice buffet and I chose some health stuff like yoghurt, fruit and vegetables. And an egg.

The walk

Today’s assignment was a walk of 12km to Gross Kreutz. It was a nice walk, with lot’s of sunshine, very few trees for shadow and lot’s of water. To drink.

I took no breaks because walking felt really good. Yes, it was warm. Yes I was sweating. And as long as I can keep sweating, have plenty of energy in my body and drink enough it’s alright. And so it was. I saw a deer, a stork (yes here is the #WAMHST) and my picture was take a few times while I was trying to make a picture of the traffic camera (for speeding cars I think).

Here are some pictures of today, can you spot the deer?

Tomorrow

I will walk 30km to Potsdam, it will be very warm, around 30 degrees Celsius, so I will leave early. Around 5am. Because I will be awake anyway.

See you tomorrow and if you haven’t donated yet, do so here.

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Day 29 – Brandendurg an der Havel https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/16/day-29-brandendurg-an-der-havel/ https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/16/day-29-brandendurg-an-der-havel/#comments Sun, 16 Jun 2019 18:49:41 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1955 The morning After having breakfast in the hotel, I packed my bags and checked out. I woke up around 4:50am, and I was awake. This has to stop!!! It’s insane! Outside I waited for Nico, he was joining me for today’s walk to Brandenburg an der Havel. The walk We introduced each other and I…

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The morning

After having breakfast in the hotel, I packed my bags and checked out. I woke up around 4:50am, and I was awake. This has to stop!!! It’s insane!

Outside I waited for Nico, he was joining me for today’s walk to Brandenburg an der Havel.

The walk

We introduced each other and I first had to get to an ATM, because cash money is really something you need in this region of Germany. So, Nico launched Google Maps, and we walk in the right direction. No , we didn’t. There was the first detour of the day, and it was funny. We managed to find an ATM and I got some cash. Then we started our walk. It wasn’t a really challenging route, since most of the route we would walk alongside, or on the B1, a road that goes from the border of The Netherlands to the Polish border.

We took breaks about every 5-6km and around 12:15pm we saw a sign of a restaurant, and it started to rain a bit. So, we decided to get lunch at Restaurant Seeblick, with a view of the Wendsee.

After lunch we continued our walk, which brought us over the Havel. Nico had an idea to walk alongside the B1 route, but that was a dead end. There was detour number two. Just a hundred meters, and we had a big laugh about it.

Close to the village of Heideklug we had a beer and our last break. Just 6km to go. Around 4pm we arrived at my hotel and we said goodbye.

It was really fun to be accompanied during a walk. It really makes time go faster. Thanks again Nico!

Here are some pictures of today:

The animals

In today’s episode of “What animals has Marel seen today?” #WAHMST, we have some dogs, and a part of some other animal….

Tomorrow

I will walk to Groß Kreutz tomorrow. A small walk of about 12km. 3 Stages to go.

See you tomorrow!

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Day 28 – Genthin https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/15/day-28-genthin/ Sat, 15 Jun 2019 17:25:24 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1901 Today I walked to Genthin. I was on a boat. On which I walked, so it wasn't cheating.

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The morning

This morning was different. Not different because I slept longer than ‘normal’, but different because I decided to leave early. Too early to have breakfast. The friendly people of the hotel made me a take-away-breakfast. Sandwiches, an egg, drinks, yogurt, an apple and a banana. I could hardly fit ll of it in my bag.

The walk

I walked out the door of the hotel around 7:15am. I had already checked the route, but I decided to check while I was walking. After about one kilometer, I had to choose, left or right. The route to the left would bring me through a forest-ish area, possibly with dirt roads. The route to the right would also take me through forest-ish areas, but then alongside a main road and some villages. I decided to go right. Both routes eventually end up at the point where I would have to cross the river Elbe by boat.

Until the crossing of the Elbe the weather was ok. It was couldy, warm and very humid, but not too warm. When I crossed the Elbe, I took a moment to eat some sandwiches, an apple, drink a juice carton and applied some sunscreen. The clouds started to move north, it was about 11am, so the sun would reach it strongest moment of the day. From Frechland, the town just next to the Elbe it was about 5km to the next town, Nielebeck. And then some 8km more to get to my hotel in Genthin. These two stretches were boring yet I had to keep paying attention. They were boring because these two stretches were mainly straight long roads, I had to pay attention since there was no bike/pedestrian path. I walked on the left side of the road. My compliments to 99% of the German drivers, they all noticed me and gave me some room to walk while they passed me.

Around 1:30pm I checked in at the hotel in Genthin. Which by the way is the birthplace of Persil (a well known laundy detergent in Europe). I took a shower and chilled for while. Around 6pm I went to the restaurant in the hotel. They said there was no room, becuase the kitchen was too busy. So, I walked across the street, ordered a take-away pizza (which was yummy, and baked in a wood burned oven) and a small bottle of soda. then I went back to the hotel, smiled at the receptionist and went to my hotel room.

Here are some pictures of today.

Tomorrow

I will walk to Brandenburg an der Havel tomorrow. A walk of 28km and I will be joined by Nico Danneberg.

See you tomorrow!

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Day 27 – Rest day in Tangerhütte https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/14/day-27-rest-day-in-tangerhutte/ Fri, 14 Jun 2019 18:22:02 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1888 A resting day in Tangerhütte today.

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The morning

After a great night of sleep, after some thunderstorms and rain yesterday evening, breakfast was calling me. I had a few brötchen (small bread) fresh orange juice, tea and a perfectly cooked egg.

The walk

There was no official walk today, just some wandering around this town. It’s an old town, with industrial history. There are two castles here, both in a not so good state. Here is some more info about Tangerhütte on the German wikipedia page. (please translate to your own language, if needed)

I walked through the city park, visited (not the interior) the two castles and walk across the main road. Here are some pictures of my walk:

The animals

I was lucky to encounter a squirrel in today’s edition of #WAHMST (What animals has Marcel seen today)

Tomorrow

I will be walking to Genthin tomorrow. A walk of 26km, with no military practice area on my way.

See you tomorrow!

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Day 26 – Tangerhütte https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/13/day-26-tangerhutte/ Thu, 13 Jun 2019 19:02:29 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1839 This was the most adventurous day of Walk to WordCamp Europe.

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The morning

After waking up in the hotel in Gardelegen, I had a quick shower and prepared all my stuff so I could pack my bag after breakfast. So I did. I checked out of the hotel and started my walk. I did not know what adventure I was starting…

The walk

It was a real adventure. As you can see on the map, I was to walk towards the east, cross a forest and go to a town called Schernebeck. I decided to give the alternative route, that Google Maps gave to me, a chance.

That route went a bit south east, and indicated I should cross the Colbitz-Letzlinger Heide somewhere in the middle. So far so good. I followed the B71, an important road for the local towns and cities. I was passed by cars, trucks, buses and two cyclists. I had to go on to the former R71. This road at some point was a dead end because I was in front of an sign. A sign that indicated the area was a military practice area and entering that area without an approval is not allowed.

I checked Google Maps and decided I then had to go further south to crossed the area there. I still had the feeling that that was somehow possible. So I continued my way. Walking back 8.5km was not seen as an option…

When I followed that road, a dirt road, I saw the two cyclists again. It was a dead end, crossing the military area was not possible. We had a short chat, they were from Kansas and were on a trip to Berlin having started in Amsterdam. They asked where I was from and what I was doing here. They were amazed to hear I walked from Rotterdam. So, there we were, in the middle of a deserted area, guided by Google Maps, which still indicated we could cross the military area. Which we didn’t. I came up with an alternative, to go to Letzlingen and ask further instructions there. They also went in that direction and so we wished each other a good and safe trip.

When I arrived in Letzlingen I asked two older ladies if they know how to get to Tangerhütte. They didn’t, and sent met to the local bank. After asking there, I realized crossing the military area was an absolute no-go. Time to improvise. I walked to a gas station to ask the personnel there if they know of a way to get to my destination. A man, Arnold, who happened to just have lunch overheard our conversation and he said I could ride with him to Hüttel and on to Colbitz, where I could walk north to Tangerhütte.

After 25km in the car, and having a chat about Arnolds work, his very old car and the area and of course my adventure, he dropped me off at a crossing close to Colbitz. I was on my way again and had to walk 19km to get to my hotel.

It was a great walk with nice scenery, some shadow, and lots of trees. I had a quick lunch somewhere in the shadow and continued. When I was about 3km from my destination, Google Maps said I needed to take a left turn. But, there was nothing. Just a wheat field and a small strip of bare soil that could not be called a road. I had two options, walk back one kilometer, or go on and walk through high grass and wheat. Of course I chose the latter…

When I left the wheat field, and exchanged the bare and sometimes soft soil for a solid road, I cheered a little. Just 1km to go. Around 4:20pm I arrived in the hotel.

Lessons learned

  • Do not just trust Google Maps. If the route takes me across forest/military areas, inform with the locals first.
  • People are helpful, just ask and see what happens. Don’t improvise without first consulting with locals.
  • Did I mention talk to locals?

The hotel

I am staying in the Hotel am Rathaus. A small hotel and cheking in I was quickly shown to my room. Which wasn’t cleaned. I got another, bigger room, which was cleaned and perfect for staying two night here. I really need a rest after this adventurous day.

The animals

Yes, today is another edition of #WAHMST, “What animals has Marcel seen today?”. I have seen a deer, scared, so it ran away. Furthermore I saw lots of cows, some horses, two hares and two donkeys.

Oh, and I saw wolf tracks, but no wolves. Although I walked large parts of the stage with a big stick to be able to defend myself when encountering one.

Pictures of today

Tomorrow

I really don’t know what to do tomorrow. It’s going to be 32 degrees Celsius here, there is public swimming pool, so I might enjoy a little swim there.

I’ll let you know what I’ve done tomorrow.

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Day 25 – Rest day in Gardelegen https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/12/day-25-rest-day-in-gardelegen/ Wed, 12 Jun 2019 17:49:16 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1812 Today was a resting day and I visited a WW2 memorial site here in Gardelegen.

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The morning

The night was a bit weird. A big thunderstorm passed Gardelegen and between 1am and 3am it was very noisy outside, and I couldn’t sleep. Around 7:30am I woke up, had a shower and enjoyed a nice breakfast here in the hotel.

When I was done, I saw a few old Ford Model T cars that a bunch of people were using to tour through Germany. The were in great shape. The cars I mean.

World War II

When I planned my route, I also checked each city to see if there were and cultural / historical sites I had to visit, when I had the time. Since today was a resting day, I took that time to visit a memorial site of a massacre that took place just outside of the town of Gardelegen. 1016 people were forced to walk to a barn, where they were brutally killed. It was a 4km walk, and along the route were small memorial stones, with the date this occurred, April 13th, 1945.

The visit made a big impression to me, as all WW2 memorial sites do. Here are some pictures. If you want more about this, please look it up on Wikipedia or search for it. Some resources are too graphic to be included here.

Tomorrow

I will continue my journey to Berlin tomorrow, and will walk to Tangerhütte. A walk of 32km.

See you tomorrow!

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Day 24 – Gardelegen https://www.walktowc.eu/2019/06/11/day-24-gardelegen/ Tue, 11 Jun 2019 19:19:00 +0000 https://www.walktowc.eu/?p=1783 Today I walked to Gardelegen. I saw lots of trees, some animals and more trees.

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Breakfast

I woke up at a very decent time today, around 6:30am. I agreed with Sybille, the host of the AirBnb place I was staying, to have breakfast around 7:30am. So, at that time I went downstairs, and enjoyed a very nice prepared breakfast. She even prepared some strawberries, from her own garden, for me to take with me.

Also, because this was an AirBnb booking, I did not expect to have diner and breakfast. Sybille told me upfront that I would have to pay for that, and I was of course ok with that. So I paid Sybille €20, and she asked about my shirt. I had not told here I was also raising funds for DonateWC, and as soon as I said that, she gave me back the €20 and insisted that I should transfer the money to the fundraiser account. And so I did, After thanking her very very much.

The walk

After packing my bag and thanking Sybille for her great hospitality, I started my walk . A 28,9km walk to Gardelegen. I saw some small towns, lot’s of trees, not so many people, lots of trees, some hills, and did I mention trees?

It was a great walk and I greatly enjoyed the loneliness in the Klötzer forest, east of Klötze. The weather was very humid but there was also some wind and the temperature was around 25 degrees Celsius, which was just right.

Here are some pictures of today:

Here’s the route I walked today.

The hotel

I arrived around 3pm at the hotel in Gardelegen. It’s a nice hotel, where I will stay 2 days.

Tomorrow

A day of rest is planned for tomorrow. I will visit some cultural places and I will visit a memorial site from a massacre by Nazi’s in the second World War.

See you tomorrow!

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