Over the spring break of my sophomore year of high school, I had the privilege of being able to go on a trip through Europe with my school. We visited France, Germany, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein. The trip as a whole was a new experience being my first time out of the country, and symbolized a new chapter of my life being written.
The first place we visited was Paris, France. Instantly I saw a difference in cultures and people. The history of France and Europe was reflected through the buildings and architecture that surrounded me. The amazing monuments and statues reminded me how new of a country I lived in compared to the countries of Europe. The food in France was different and seemed to reflect the French culture perfectly. One of my fondest memories of France was eating a nutela and banana crepe at the base of the Eifel Tower. I experienced the taste of France while also standing under the one of the most famous structures in the entire world.
In Switzerland I experienced two different aspects of the country. First our group took a ride up to the top of the mountains in Luzern. Seeing the snow fall as we got higher up in the mountains was beautiful, and the view from the top was breath taking. The scenery at the top of the mountains was nothing like I’ve ever experienced. Back down in the city of Luzern a few of us walked around the city, and eventually made our way into the outer edges of the city where the local community lived and roamed. Seeing the homes and gardens of the citizens of Luzern gave us an insight into how they lived. On our adventure we even got to see a local train station. Walking the streets with the locals gave us a better look at the real culture of Switzerland than we could have seen if we had stuck to the main areas of the city.
The inn we stayed at in Switzerland was in a small town called Hutvil. The experience of staying at a local inn was new compared to usually staying in some hotel. We got to experience the local hospitality and the friendliness of the people of Switzerland. Once again a few friends and I found ourselves wandering the streets of the town at night. Accidentally we managed to stumble onto a local farm and ended up next to a cow, and we being there did not make the owner too happy. He let out his dogs and came running out after us with what we thought was a gun. I ran faster than I have ever run in my life, and once we got away it became a great story to tell everyone we were with. I consider some of the things we did on the walk as some of the greatest times on the trip.
We ended the trip in Munich, Germany. While taking a bus tour around the town I realized there were still shrapnel markings and explosion damage from WWII, and seeing the lasting impact of the war on the buildings alone was an eye opener. We visited the concentration camp Dachau while we were in Germany, and it was surreal to see first hand the brutality of the camps. Our stay in Germany had a lot of fun memories too, but the lasting evidence of World War Two stands out the most in my recollection of the time we spent in Germany. The trip over spring break was truly a once in a life time experience.
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