Europe

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As I sip my steaming hot cocoa that I had just made, my mind travels back to my winter vacation. With each swallow of my chocolaty drink, a piece of my trip flies back to me. The warmth of my hot cocoa reminds me of the beautiful coldness of Paris, the sweetness of Italian gelato, and just the fact that it’s a hot drink reminds me of English tea. It’s amazing how a simple mug of cocoa can trigger so many memories…

After 10 hours of stiff and crammed legs on the Virgin Atlantic plane, I finally arrive at my destination: the London Heathrow Airport. Because I was an unaccompanied minor, I had to be escorted by flight attendant ladies who were afraid I would get lost or run away. Therefore, they dragged my by the elbow. After much frustration with my landing car and the security questioning me, I was so glad to be released to my sister, who had been living in Europe for the past year. (I was here to visit her.) What a relief it was for me to be able to see my beloved sister for the first time in Europe! I felt like I would soon burst with joy and eagerness! Since we had no time to waste, my sister immediately called her friend, whom we would be staying with that night. Just as I had expected, as soon as I stepped out of the airport, a gust of chilly wind sent my teeth chattering, as I hastily pulled on my furry coat to protect myself from the December air that did not exist in Southern California.

Even though we were quite cramped in my sister’s friend’s tiny apartment, that evening was filled with adventure. After eating some leftover pizza and salad, my sister’s friend gave us a miniature tour of London. While riding on the second floor of a big red bus, we got a great view of the Big Ben. Next, we turned into pedestrians and walked around the Buckingham Palace and the London Eye Ferris Wheel.

Early the next morning, my sister and I took a two-and-a-half hour train to Paris, my sister’s home city. Well, actually, my sister lived in a cozy petite town, just off Paris, called Velizy Vacouble. The glistening frozen pond where the duckies wobbled on, and the white frost everywhere simply dazzled me. The family that my sister lived with, and worked as au pair for, was called the Jordans. They lived in a bi, three story house, with my sister’s little guesthouse attached. Over all, Paris was great. I climbed the Eiffel tower, went to the Sewers, ate Paninis by the Seine River, went to French classes, and was forced to eat fat duck liver and moldy cheese on Christmas. Apparently, it’s a tradition, so I politely managed to swallow my dinner without barfing.

The day after Christmas, was the day I left Paris, and took a night train to Venice, Italy. The two days that my sister and I were there, we had loads of fun. I ate my first-ever gelato, saw glass blowing, and rode “water taxis” and gondolas. You see, since Venice is just a group of tiny islands bunched together, you have to travel by boat to the different islands. Thus, the water taxis. I loved watching the ripples of the turquoise sea water, while sitting on the edge of the boat, munching on my new favorite flavor of Italian ice cream. However, it is oh-so-easy to get lost! Each alley way of Venice looks just like the last one, and once you get inside on, it seems as though you’ll never get out! One of the coolest Piazzas on earth is the Piazza San Marco, “land of the pigeons”. There were hundreds of thousand of fat pigeons roaming around for food in that big square, and thousands of kids and tourists feeding and chasing them, with hundreds of locals selling pigeon food! And before I knew it, we were on another train, to Rome.

Don’t get me wrong, Rome was cool, but I didn’t love it as much as peaceful Venice. Yes, I went to the colossal Colosseum, the Pantheon, and lots of ancient ruins. I ate the best Italian food and gelato out there too, but it was probably too tourist-y for me. However, there was one place I absolutely loved- Castel de San Angelo, the Saint Angelo Castle. It was a REAL ancient castle! There were dungeons and prisons, and many cool structures! I spent half a day discovering the great halls and spiral staircases of the place.

After two days of Rome, we took a plane back to London, where I was supposed to leave in three days. However, the Underground that we took to the airport broke down several times, causing me, and many others to miss our flight! But it wasn’t such a big deal, since we just rescheduled my flight. The plus part was that I could stay another day in London and watch another show! In all, I had watched the Nutcracker Ballet, the musical Chicago, and The Lion King play.

When I came back home to Los Angeles, for the first time, I realized my home was not so perfect. I realized that everything felt stiff in my city. There were not as many people enjoying the day by walking around outside. No one goes out on the street to buy a crepe. I felt a bit- lonely without the big crowds of Europe. But you know that saying, if you don’t know what you’re missing, you don’t miss it. I’m hoping to go back to Europe next year, where I shall travel to many more countries.





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