Exploring Europe | My Family Travels
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           For a while, visiting Europe seemed like a distant whimsical fantasy, an unreachable desire, a goal yet to be accomplished, and something I could only get an idea of through books and movies. It was two summers ago, that this seemingly distant fantasy became a close reality.  This trip was like a tour of a massive museum of impeccable art, one that stretched from London to Paris.  Europe was a piece of complex art with many designs and dimensions. It was an enriching experience to be able to be in an atmosphere with so many different languages and accents. After my flight to Europe got delayed by five hours, my journey began with only a peek of London. Frankly, I was upset since I had been really looking forward to seeing London.  It was the fact that the tour had just begun which reassured me and reminded me that there was a lot more to be explored and experienced. So the tour continued with Amsterdam, where I was instantly captivated by its natural beauty and its people, who radiated a sense of happiness and health as several of them biked past grassy parks.   I felt the urge to jump into this tranquil Amsterdam life, take a bike and ride all over the city or read a gripping novel in a grassy park. Amsterdam definitely reminded me that life should be enjoyed. Next, my tour bus drove to the busy city of Cologne in Germany, where my family and I visited a tall, dark, ominous looking cathedral, in which I felt a rare desire to become a part of the holy atmosphere and pray. The city of Innsbruck in Austria offered a visually pleasing experience where I had the chance to really learn about the history of different artistic churches and buildings. Every architectural element there had an interesting history, from a decorated balcony to a mere bench. In Switzerland, I immersed myself in its nature, which proved to be ubiquitous as the coach drove around several mountains, green hills, pastures with livestock, and flower gardens.  It was nice for a change to have less of an industrial setting and a more of a natural setting. Italy was next on the list and it was an experience filled with art, delectable food, grand architecture, and history.  What made Italy a greater adventure and a deep experience was the novel I was reading, Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown. The novel brought me closer to the architectural sites such as Saint Peter’s Basilica and Rome itself. I was experiencing Rome directly as well as indirectly through the fictional characters and situations in Angels and Demons.   Before I arrived in France, the tour stopped in the city of Geneva in Switzerland. There I had the opportunity to see the United Nation’s Headquarters, which emitted a sense of importance and pride as my family and I walked around it. It was inspiring to see the flags of the world all in one place. After Geneva, Paris amazed me with its architectural sites, a lively night life, its art, and history.  On the night that I was there, my family and I walked around, observing French lifestyle and buildings. Every one of these European countries reminded me to enjoy life, made me appreciate art and history more, inspired me to travel more, and allowed me to value personal experiences more. Every now and then I dream that I am back in Amsterdam in a grassy park surrounded by flocks of people biking or that I am back walking the streets of Paris.

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