How did I spend my summer? Oh, it was nothing special. I just took the trip of a lifetime. I’ve wanted to go to Europe my whole life, especially after I took AP World History sophomore year. I loved the romantic stories about kings and queens and adored the beautiful artwork and architecture. My whole family had planned to go to Europe after I graduated, but we never got the logistics quite right, so my parents decided we’d go by ourselves. Later, my dad decided not to go. So, my mom and I would go alone; however, my dad only agreed to let us go on a tour. My mom found a tour company called Cosmos, and booked an eighteen day tour called “The Best of Europe.” I was going to live my dream!
June 22 finally arrived. At 11 o’clock at night, we departed for London from Atlanta. Because it was an overnight flight, we slept, and the flight seemed relatively short. You should book flights early, because we couldn’t sit together and each sat between two strangers. Upon arriving in London, we were hungry and exhausted. We checked into the Hotel Novotel London West, which isn’t in the best location, but is very comfortable. We immediately went to a little pub. Once we ate some fish and chips, and felt better. Next we explored and took a cab to Trafalgar Square. On arrival, we boarded a hop on, hop off bus with The Original London Sightseeing Tour, which I highly recommend. We saw the “big” places, like Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. We hopped off near Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and hopped on a Thames River cruise. We saw Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London. By the end of the day, we were even more exhausted, and were back in our hotel and asleep by 9 o’clock.
The next day we got up early and had breakfast in our hotel. The breakfasts in Europe aren’t like the ones at home. They eat breads and cold cuts, which aren’t appealing. We spent the day shopping and had tea at a beautiful tea room. Of course, we went to Harrods, but did more admiring than shopping. We were blown away by the gorgeous designer shoes, clothes, and handbags, but the biggest surprise was the huge grocery store. We couldn’t believe the beautiful meats and desserts. After we had our fill beautiful, unattainable merchandise, we saw Wicked. My mom haggled with a ticket vendor that morning, and got a good price. Our seats were farther away than we’d like, but we didn’t care. I recommend this play to everyone! The acting, singing, and costumes are impeccable. We were still thinking about days after we saw it. By the time we got back to our hotel, we couldn’t keep our eyes open.
The next morning we departed for the rest of our tour. The next 18 days were spent travelling to Amsterdam, throughout Germany and Switzerland, around Italy, and back up to Paris. I saw things that I never imagined I would, but nowhere felt more like home than London. I would definitely recommend a tour to anyone travelling to Europe for the first time, or who wants to see everything quickly. You’ll deal with early mornings, tight schedules, and hotel food, but you won’t mind. No matter what you decide to do, there will be pros and cons, but don’t let that deter you from getting out, seeing the world, and having the time of your life.
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