On December 23rd, my dad and I sat in our seats aboard our plane to France. When we arrived in Paris, our first exploration destination was the Eiffel Tower. My dad and I went to the top of the tower. I could see the whole city, including all of the palaces and historical buildings. It was beautiful view, although it was very cold and there was a light fog. It was as crowded as a pack of sardines throughout the entire tower and there were many languages being spoken. It was like an international meeting place. Next we went to Monte Mart, a popular place for artists to show off their work.
On Christmas morning, my cousin and I went on a bike ride through Tourcoing. The city was an adorable town that you would think were only seen in movies. It was so different than my home town, Encinitas because everything was so old and historic. The beach was different as well. When I touched the water, it was freezing. I was expecting it to be cold, but it was so different than the Pacific Ocean. There were not even any people on the sand, compared to the severe crowding on California’s beaches.
Following France, we visited Poland. Along with seeing the tallest building in the city, The Palace of Culture and Science, eating real polish food, and going on horse carriage rides, we also visited the town Majdanek, where the German concentration camp was held at during WWII. There was a memorial filled with the ashes of all the people who were burned in the gas chambers at the camp, including my great grandpa’s ashes. We got to see the rooms where people were kept, as well as the chambers where the people were burned. Walking into each room, you could feel the previous presence of the people before us. Although it was heart-wrenching, it was not as effected on me as it was my father because it was his grandfather.
On New Year’s Eve, my dad and I took a train from Starachowicje to Krakow, Poland. That night my friend and I went to the town square. It was more crowded than New York on New Year’s Eve. There was a concert going on and when midnight came, there were fireworks and we got drenched in champagne from people spraying it.
On New Year’s Day we went to the salt mines. They were way down underground. It was cool seeing all these statues made of salt. There was even a church underground with things made of salt, where many people got married.
The next day, we went to this famous church where every hour a man plays the trumpet at the top of a tower. He plays in each direction on top of the tower but he stops playing in the middle of the song because the original musician was shot in the middle of the same song.
That night, my dad and I took a sleeping train to our final destination, Gdansk, Poland. It took the whole night and it was very scary because every sound the train made, sounded as if we were breaking away from the rest of the train. The beds were tiny bunk beds that looked as if they were going to fall off the wall any second. I barely slept that night because of all my worries. We spent our time seeing war ruins and winding down from our exciting trip.
As we boarded our plane to head home, I felt grateful for the experience that I could remember forever.
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