Teen Travel Writing | My Family Travels
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The best trip I have ever taken in my life was to Europe. I spent 3 days in Spain after my freshman year of high school. My Spanish teacher organized the trip through EF Tours. I will never in my life forget the things I saw and learned while I was there.

We went from Columbus to Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany. From there, we flew into Madrid. We were given a half hour to rest at the hotel after the long flight; then we began our tour. First, we went to Retiro Park, a large, beautiful area right in the middle of town. One of my favorite things there was the large lake around the monument to Alfonso XII. People were seated at the base of the statue, boating on the lake, or standing by the edge to look at the fish. We also saw the Plaza of the Fallen Angel. Here, there was a sculpture of Satan, one of very few in all of Europe.

            After leaving Retiro Park, we took a walk through Madrid. We passed the Plaza of Bulls, a large bullring in Madrid. It was beautifully decorated in the style brought to Spain by the Moors. We also saw the Monument of Columbus, a large area honoring Christopher Columbus’s travels funded by the Spanish monarchs. We then drove past the Palacio Real, one of the palaces owned by the king of Spain. We also had a chance to go into El Prado, a large art museum that contained many different types and styles of art covering over seven centuries. When El Prado closed, we went back to the hotel for the night to get some much needed sleep.

            The next morning, we left for Zaragoza. We only stayed for a few hours, but we had time to shop, eat lunch, and see the town. One of the most interesting things to see was the Roman ruins. Some of the lower portions of old Roman buildings were still intact. We also saw the Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, a large Roman Catholic cathedral at the entrance of the town. The inside was ornately decorated, but the outside was pockmarked with cannonball-shaped indents from when it was used as a wartime safety house.

            After a few hours in Zaragoza, we continued on to Barcelona, arriving around evening. The first thing you could see was a giant church known as La Sagrada Familia, or The Holy Family. It was a frightening sight at night, but when we went to see it the next morning, it had a much friendlier appearance. It is intricately carved with every imaginable religious image. During our time in Barcelona, we also saw many smaller buildings designed by the same architect, Antoni Gaudí, and many shops along the way. We also took some time to relax at Port Vell in the afternoon.

            We may have left Barcelona and the Spain, but its influence will never be gone. Everyone had a great time, took a lot of pictures, and learned a great deal about the art, architecture, and history of Spain. The most important thing I got out of the trip was an enormous increase in my Spanish vocabulary. I was constantly asking my teacher what things were called in Spanish or what signs said. It deepened my love of the language and helped strengthen my desire to learn the language. It helped me decide that translation is my future career. I may never have made that decision if not for my trip to Spain.

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