The summer of 2006, just one year after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and destroyed everything I owned, my family decided to go to Europe, where we could visit our family members in Portugal and Germany and bring happiness and adventure back into our lives. I was thirteen years old and traveled to Italy, Portugal, and Germany; there I experienced the different lifestyles and learned the history of the places I went.
Walking off of the plane to our first stop in Italy, I felt excitement as I smelled a clean, flowery aroma filling the airport. The smell came from a gift shop, it was there that I was truly ready for the adventure that was to come. My mother, brother, and I took a cab to our hotel, my grandparents decided to go to Germany and stay an extra week there and we would meet them in Germany after our week in Italy was over. Upon our arrival at the hotel, I could not wait to get unpacked and eat a true Italian lasagna. While unpacking, I realized that the majority of the hotel was made from marble and the outlets were different than the ones in America. I then noticed, while on the balcony, the gorgeous view of the local park. After getting unpacked, we headed downstairs to the hotel lobby, took a map of Rome and found a restaurant called "Lo Zio Frankie" in walking distance from our hotel. We walked to the restaurant and ate dinner. After eating, we headed back to the hotel to plan the rest of the week we had in Italy. We went to the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, to St. Peter's Basilica, and to the Coliseum. We saw the ruins of a castle where a mother poisoned her son and husband to be in power, and the place where Julius Caesar was murdered by Marcus Brutus and Cassius Longinus. When the week came to an end, my mother, brother, and I took a cab back to the airport. As we were going down marble stairs to board the jet that would take us to Munich, Germany, I slipped and fell down the stairs. I was very embarrassed, but I laughed and then boarded the jet to go visit family and friends in Germany.
After landing in Munich, Germany, we walked around the airport where we were reunited with my grandparents again and met my grandfather's brother, whom I call Uncle Bobby. Leaving the airport, we boarded a train that took us into Frankfort, Germany. When we got off of the train we took a cab to our hotel, where I met one of my cousins. We spent a week in Germany visiting castles and walking around a park where a festival was going on. The experience as a whole was wonderful.
After the week was over in Germany, we headed to the last place on the list, Portugal. While in Portugal, we visited family from Lisbon and the Acores, went to Fatima, where the three children saw the Virgin Mary, watched a bull fight, and went to "running with the bulls" in the streets of Portugal. I had a great time.
The time I spent with my family in Europe was the greatest time I have experienced. I learned so much history about the places I went and it was a great distraction and vacation away from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina at home. I will always have this wonderful memory.
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