There truly was no better decision of a weeklong European vacation rather than a short-lived Sweet Sixteen party for my birthday. Prior to the bon voyage I was soon to embark on with my mother and older sister to the glamorous cities of London and Paris, there was a constant doubt present in the pit of my stomach. There was much apprehension being the first vacation without my father, let alone visiting another continent with a drastic time difference. Despite my worries, nothing seemed more thrilling than my birthday vacation that was soon to come. I was sure I made the best decision but the fact that my grandmother inquired, “Do you regret not having a party yet?” before my trip even occurred place a cloud of anxiety over my head. Europe had to superior than a party, right?
When arriving at the Melia White House Hotel in London as our first destination, the presence of being in a famous foreign city gave me an adrenaline rush. Upon spending three full days there, I learned many misconceptions about London. For one thing, there is no specific teatime, nor do soldiers/guards regularly wear the silly hats and red uniforms, nor did it rain in the duration of our April vacation (altogether, the weather exceeded seventies and higher for both cities). To my dismay, there were no fish and chip stands on corners like I imagined or actual use of telephone booths! I did, however, absolutely fall in love with the city’s charm, history and elegance. I’ve already envisioned myself attending the London School of Economics, as seen on the tour aboard the classic red double-decker bus! The Crown Jewels were breathtaking, the British Parliament and Westminster Abbey (a week before the Royal Wedding) were gorgeous and the London Eye provided outstanding views. Nonetheless, I miss the wonderful British accent!
After being transported on the EuroStar to Paris, France, I admit I feared for being American and being loathed for it. What a silly rumor! Upon arriving at the Duminy Vendome Hotel, my family and I got quite a laugh when the friendly staff directed us to the elevator. The lift was so miniscule that each one of us New York girls had to make separate trips with our enormous suitcases. Luckily, almost every French citizen we spoke with was able to speak English. With Paris’ nighttime beauty and the Eiffel Tower lit top to bottom, my mother, sister and I got easily sidetracked. We missed the turn for our hotel and were complete tourists with the Parisian map sprawled out in hand and questioning locals. Our embarrassment ended once we found the hotel twenty minutes later, although we continue to blame each other for who got us lost on our first night there. One of the coolest moments occurred after a day of shopping, when we observed people shouting in the hotel’s street. Assuming there was an automobile accident, we went to see the commotion. I was ecstatic to hear Beyonce and Jay-Z were rumored to have been passing in the car before us! Also, after waiting an hour and a half to see DaVinci’s Mona Lisa at the Louvre (which was surprisingly super tiny in size), us girls bought delicious and fresh iced tea that was out of this world!
Before I knew it, seven days had come and gone. I learned that my family and I could make a wonderful time out of anything and everything. The enchanting cities of London and Paris made my experience something I could have only hoped for and more.
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