Europe Trip - My Family Travels

The summer of 2009 was an incredible experience for a group of 10 students and parents from my small town of Bradford, Pennsylvania. Our high school language department gave the opportunity for students to travel overseas to European destinations. We departed from Washington D.C. at 6 p.m. local time and arrived in London, England 6 hours later. It felt like midnight, but it actually was 6 a.m. local time. Jet lag is just such a great way to start a trip.

We met our tour guide, Sergio, at the airport. Sergio spoke with a very thick accent of Spanish, French, English, and Italian. Our group liked to call it ‘Sergian’. Sergio took us to the hotel from the airport where we relaxed for about an hour before starting out on a full day in the busy European city. We became acquainted with the subway. Sergio was keen to inform us of the major risks of European travel, pickpockets (Sergian translation peekpickets). We couldn’t help but to let the dialect grow on us, as most of our group picked up the accent by simply poking fun at the easy going tour guide.

After two days of London tours, dinners, and walking, we traveled to France via the Eurostar channel tunnel. It was a great experience to ride a train underneath the English Channel. We arrived in France and made our way through customs. Most of the students on the trip had taken French in high school, but we were not prepared for being surrounded with a complete different language. We adjusted to the change though and seemed to learn more of the language in two days than in two years of class.

Paris was an incredible experience. The sights surely are all over the internet but pictures are nothing compared to actually standing beneath the Eiffel Tower and riding on a tour boat of the nearby Seine River. We also were acquainted to the subways of Paris, which I must say were more complicated in a different language. Sergio also warned us that the peekpickets are more prevalent as we move south in our trip.

Paris was not our last stop thankfully, as no one wanted the trip to end! We went to Sergio’s homeland of Barcelona, Spain. It was a very hot environment as you would expect by comparing the latitude on the map. We were lucky to have timed our trip to arrive on St. Johns Day, a major Spanish holiday with fireworks and firecrackers exploding throughout the night.

The second night in Spain and the last night of our trip proved our trip to remain eventful from commencement to conclusion. We went to a Flamenco night on the town. We returned to the hotel (hot-el in Sergian) on a very late subway as it was closing in on midnight. The group was very tired and ready to relax the next day on the hours of flights back to the United States. Before we could do this, the climax of the trip arrived. Sergio was pick pocketed. One member of the group saw it happen and alerted Sergio as he did not realize himself it was occurring. He turned around and saw the group of pick pocketers and said, “Peekpicket, you put that down, you are feelthy scum!” The group sat the wallet on the ground and exited the train. We were warned continuously of the danger, yet our experienced tour guide was the victim. How Ironic!

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