Medieval castles, winding river valleys, and literary poignant tours! Sound exciting? I had the privilege to visit my mom’s side of the family in Belgium and tour London in fifteen and a half days. Her parents are originally from the United States; however they are missionaries to Belgium. This past summer, I had the opportunity to visit my mom’s family there. Traveling with my parents to Europe was a great learning experience. The thrill of spending time with my family, discovering the important cultural history, and dealing with foreign money, made this trip exciting.
Going to Belgium and seeing my family, was a heartwarming experience. Seeing my cousins and an uncle after ten years brought me tears of joy. I spent most of my two weeks shopping in downtown Namur, Brussels, and Jambes. Being able to spend time with my family by sightseeing and shopping was an experience that I will always remember. Not being able to remember how I felt when I was six, but going back when I was seventeen was like a picture worth a thousand words. It was indescribable. Learning about a new culture was an interesting experience in my opinion.
Being able to experience the cultural history of Europe first hand was incredible. Going from battle sites to seeing what comic strips were like in Belgium was incredible beyond belief. Did you know that the smurfs original name was the shtroumpf, and that they were originally made in Belgium? I did not until I got there. Also in Brussels we were on the main street that had all the shops and there was a golden statue. I loved seeing the reaction of some of the people walking by. The statue was portraying a mime and yes it did move too. There was a real man in there. A person would walk by and jump when he moved. We could definitely tell we weren’t the only tourists there. London had some historical sites too: the big Ben, The London Eye, the tower of London, and so much more. Me and my parents went on the London Eye and loved it. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. We could see thirty miles out when we were at the top. It was very beautiful. The last thing that was definitely a learning experience was dealing with foreign money.
Here in the United States we have dollars, pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. In Europe they have Euros and pounds. Having to exchange dollars for Euros and pounds was somewhat of a challenge. One pound is one dollar and ninety-three cents. One Euro is one dollar and thirty-one cents. I was so glad that I didn’t have to give them the amount in dollars for what I needed in Euros and pounds. I was so use to American money that I couldn’t handle European money much because I would have gotten confused. Thankfully, my parents gave me money already in Euros and pounds. So I didn’t have to deal with giving twice as much for one of the currencies. Even though it was tough, I still had fun in the process of learning all of it as a whole.
Dealing with all of this within a few weeks wasn’t that hard once I got used to it. What made it more interesting was asking for everything in French. I had help from my family, but a few of them barely spoke English so I had one of my cousins translate for me. Overall, traveling to Europe was an interesting experience.