This year in school we did a lot. Unlike every other person I know, I got to travel around Europe, and get the best history education possible. We went to places like Rome, Paris and London, and we went to every historic place that we had time for.
I bet that half the places we went to you hadn’t even heard of, such as Pune and Bangalore (both in India), until I wrote about them. We started off the trip by going to Haarlem, a place in the Netherlands. It was a long week there, getting used to the jetlag and all. It didn’t help that we were right above a really loud bar that kept us awake. After Haarlem, we went to Naples, Italy. The first night we were there, we went to a pizza place. We are all saying that it might be the best pizza in the whole world, because it was dang good. Next, we flew up to Krakow, Poland, where it was cold and wet. We went to a Holocaust concentration camp, called Auschwitz, where over one million people died. After that, we went to Florence, Italy. You may have heard of the statue of David (Michelangelo), which is in Florence. We didn’t see it though.
We then ventured over to Nice, France, where it was very warm and we were right on the water. Then, it was down to Lisbon, Portugal, where it was also very warm. We spent two weeks there, then met Grammy and Papa Willy in Paris. We did a lot in Paris, from going up to the top of the Eiffel tower, to going in Notre Dame. Going to the Louvre was my favorite part of staying in Paris. Then, we went to Barcelona, Spain, which I didn’t like very much, because there were too many people and it was all concrete, no grass at all. Then, we went to London, where we spent the rest of our time, and then left to go back to Reno for Christmas.
After Christmas came our big trip. We started in Rome, where we toured the Colosseum, and went to the Vatican City (the smallest country in the world). After Rome, we went to Dublin, Ireland, where some of my Dad’s friends are living. We were there for a week, then took a train up to Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was really boring and gray there, so we went to Amsterdam, Netherlands, which I didn’t really like. Then, we went to London again, because Dad was going back to the States for work, and Mom wanted to be somewhere where they spoke English. Then we went to Paphos, Cyprus, another very warm place, where they spoke Greek. We stayed there for four weeks, and Nana visited us for two of them.
Then we went to one of my favorite places, The Hague, Netherlands. It was my favorite, because it was right near the beach, there was lots to do, and I really like their language. Even though it is the same country as Amsterdam, it was a lot different. Amsterdam is a very touristy city, and they mostly spoke English there. Then, we went to Leeds, England, which was one of my least favorite places, because it was so gray and depressing. Next, it was down to Palma De Mallorca, Spain. It’s an island off of Spain that is very warm and has a lot of water around it. Then we went to Krakow again, except this time we didn’t go anywhere exciting. Then we went to Dubrovnik, Croatia, which was also one of my favorite places, because it’s right on the Mediterranean, and part of it is in a big wall. The first week there we stayed in the walls, then we flew over to India, where I explained my impressions in a different blog *cough cough* maybe you should read it *cough cough*. Then we went back to Dubrovnik, and stayed outside of the walls. We got sick that week, which made it worse, but we were ok. Then we went back to London and did the museums again. Now, we are in Spain again, in a city called Bilbao. It’s semi warm here, but i really like the humidity. We are going to stay the rest of our trip here then go visit our cousins in Vermont. After Vermont, we will go back to Reno, and spend the Summer.
Anyways, our trip has been amazing. We have gotten to spend a lot of time with our Dad, which is what we were missing when we still lived in Reno. I’ve learned countless new things about Europe’s culture and history that they would never be able to teach in school. There are still some places that I want to go, like Germany and Greece, which we will visit on our next trip.
I think the most interesting thing that I have read about on this trip has been the Holocaust. I’ve read books about survivors of concentration camps, which I would recommend reading, but that doesn’t matter right now, as I am trying to write about our trip, and I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks about it. Just kidding.
The first time we got into Europe, it was when i was still in 6th grade. I had no idea what to expect, because, of course, I had never been there. The first week there, we were in a little town called Felixstowe, in the U.K. I thought it was pretty cool, but not great. Then, we went to London. I thought that was awesome. We went on the Eye of London, and saw Big Ben and all those kinds of things. London was definitely my favorite part of that trip, but we did go to one other place. Stockholm, Sweden. It was beautiful there. The weather was amazing and the trees were just starting to bloom. But there wasn’t as much to do as there was in London. The museums honestly were awful, except for one that we went to, that was built around a boat that sunk in the ocean and was dug up.
The idea to take this long trip was my Mom’s. She brought it up when we were in London and i thought it was a joke. Then they said it wasn’t a joke and that they were seriously considering it. I was like nuh uh definitely not. But now I am noticing that it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Actually, I noticed that right after we came back to Europe for the second trip.
I have a few favorite places. Rome is at the top. I wanted to go to Rome even before we were thinking about the trip. The colosseum fascinated me, and then actually getting to see it was amazing. When we went inside the colosseum, I thought to myself “wow, what a dump”, because there were holes all over the walls. The tour guide explained why there were those holes. It’s because when Rome wasn’t superpower anymore, and the colosseum wasn’t in use, people went and took the resources like iron and marble from the walls. There must have been a lot of that stuff in the walls, because there were tons of holes.
Another reason Rome was my favorite is because of the food. The oranges were amazing. The oranges were probably some of the best i’ve ever had. And, the pizza was pretty good too, but especially the pasta. The penne arrabiata (spicy penne noodles) was really, really good.
My second favorite place has to be The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch). I really like the language that they speak. It’s got a lot of words that are just like English, but I just like it better for some reason. Also, there was a little city there called Madurodam. It was really cool.
My third, and last favorite place is where we are right now. Bilbao, Spain. The weather here is amazing, and it is very humid and nice. We are right on the ocean, and there is a pool right below our apartment. We walk everywhere and we are able to wear our shorts and T-shirts. Dad is seriously considering moving here, and he says it might be the most beautiful place he’s ever been.
I have really liked this trip, and I know it won’t be a permanent solution to Dad being gone, so we are going to have to find a new way. The books I would recommend are: The Hiding Place, I Have Lived A Thousand Years, The Last Train, and (a WW1 book) All Quiet On The Western Front.