I am a 17-year-old Wisconsinite and have only traveled to Iowa and Florida, but this summer I got to have a two-week adventure in Europe. I went along with a group of 27 people. Together we ventured to France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, and the experience will be in my memory forever. The first day was definitely the hardest but super exciting at the same time. It was unusual for me to stay up for about 32 hours without any sleep. We had traveled by plane most of the day and Wisconsin time is eight hours behind France’s, so we stepped right into the same day. Notre Dame was our first destination and it was beautiful. I could soon see why it is an extremely popular tourist attraction because it has a different design than a normal church.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Notre Dame was built with a gothic style and right away one can point out the gargoyles that sit high on the wall. Luckily for our group, we got to tour the inside of the church but had to be quiet because the building is still functioning as a place of worship. The only downfall of this viewing was that pickpocketing is common in that area because there are so many people that come to visit the cathedral.
Since I was gone for two weeks, I have much to talk about but I will only highlight my favorite parts for the sake of length. Day four was a fantastic day because we stopped at the Louvre for a couple of hours and saw the original Mona Lisa! I was so surprised at how small it actually was. The Louvre is enormous and I had been walking around with one friend and we almost couldn’t find our way out! Our tour guide said one would need to stay for days to see everything at the museum. Our night stop was the Eiffel Tower and I went all the way to the top. The view was amazing, and we stayed late enough to see the Tower sparkle for a few minutes. Skipping over to day eight, it sure was an interesting day because we got to stop at Lichtenstein for 45 minutes. I had no idea that a monarchy was still in control. From Lichtenstein our group headed off to Austria where the hills really were alive! The mountains were luscious and never-ending. In the town of Innsbruck, our group shopped and later watched an evening show of folk music and dancing. It was a great way to end the day, and the coolest part was that three members of our group were picked to go up on stage and dance. Watching the three was ridiculously funny because they had no idea what they were doing.
Looking back on the trip, I feel like I brought so much back home even though I hardly bought any souvenirs. For one, what I brought back was maturity. I had handled everything on my own such as tracking my spending and taking good care of my belongings. Another asset I gained from this trip was friendship. I made many friends on this trip that I never even knew existed and we grew close after spending two weeks together. Lastly, I brought back the memories that I will cherish forever and that I can tell my relatives about for many years. I can’t thank my parents enough for letting me go on this trip and having this great experience.
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