Adventures in Europe ⊰ ⊰ *Part one*

In 2016, my mom, aunt and I planned a two and a half week trip to a place I dreamed of going my entire life, Europe!!! My aunt, who traveled the world for a living, had endless experience in logistics, helping us to plan the perfect itinerary. When the time came, we flew from our local airport to O’Hare International airport in Chicago. From there, we flew to Paris, France, a tiring nine hour flight. I was especially excited for Paris, after studying four years of French in high school. I could finally see, first hand, all the history, landmarks, and culture I’d been so infatuated with. We stayed at the stunning Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome hotel, in the heart of the city. Due to the convenient location, we were in walking distance of some of the most beautiful landmarks. We visited The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Couer, and Champs-Elysees. My favorite memory of Paris was going up in the Eiffel Tower and seeing the city of Paris from a bird’s eye view, with a picnic on the grounds below to follow. The cafe’s and restaurants were something out of the movies. Everything I layed my eyes on made me fall more and more in love with the city. I was warned by people who’d been there previously of some trash on the streets, some negative stares by the locals who weren’t exactly fond of foreigners (especially Americans), and occasional rude comments. I did experience a lot of side-eyes and even a few locals who had some not so nice things to say but my sensitivity was almost numb because of the extraordinary place I was in. Most of people I met in Paris were extremely kind and very helpful. The food there, which I’ll never forget, was definitely better anything I’ve experienced in my 20 years of living in America. In my opinion, the bread, cheese, pasta, orange juice even, you name the food…. it was all better in Paris. I also quickly learned that when learning a foreign language, the best way to do it is surrounding yourself in that culture and being around native speakers. I learned just as much, if not more, by spending a just days in France than I did in my four years of French courses. After about five days of exploring the busy streets in the city of love, we boarded a train to Nice, France. The scenic ride took a long seven hours, with a few encounters of old men asking to sit next to me and talk…. non, merci!!!

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