Griselda Ruan ECO2013 Summer 1 Professor Davis Due: June 14th EUROPE JOURNAL

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1 EUROPE JOURNAL

2 Day 1: Arriving in London On the very first day in the U.K., I noticed the beautiful architecture in the buildings that differ entirely from the buildings or houses in the U.S. I saw how their buildings are more castlelike than anything. That caught my attention almost immediately. Anyway, I loved the transportation service in London. The underground district line, or the tube as they call it, makes traveling across London very quick and easy. Living in a small town, I have never really experienced this kind of transportation, and I realized how quick, easy, and efficient it was to get around. Our first stop was in the Covent Garden. There the St. Paul Church is located, which I learned that it was known as the Actors church. Moving along, we came across the monument of Edith Cavell, which has the word humanity carved right in the middle of the monument. I learned that she was a nurse during World War 1 who chose to nurse the allied soldiers as well for which was the reason of her death sentence. On the bottom of Cavell s statue it says Patriotism is not enough I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone. I thought that was such a brave statement for her to make in those times. We, also, got the chance to visit the National Gallery which was amazing! It contains many beautiful European paintings including several battles. Many of them are very interesting to just take a moment and pay attention to all the detail and what is going on around and in the picture. There is a statue outside the gallery of George Washington who swore to never set foot on British soil, and our tour guide informed us that there was American soil imported to rest the statue on it in order to keep his promise. In

3 addition, we walked through the famous Chinatown of London. There you can find many restaurants of Chinese cuisine, souvenirs, and many other Chinese items. It is interesting to see so many historical monuments and know a little about them. Overall, my favorite sight see of the day was the National Gallery because all the paintings varied from being so simple to the most famous detailed paintings. Day 2: Exploring London Some More After a well needed rest, we were ready to see more of the famous London. During our bus tour, we passed by the Tower of London. I learned that the Crown Jewels of the U.K. are set there for the public to see. For me, it is extremely interesting to know that there is still royalty in Europe; it is almost unbelievable, but only because in the U.S. we do not have royalty. We came across The Shard which I learned was the tallest building in Europe. Accordingly, we stopped to see the Tower Bridge, which London has become known for having. Its construction is very amusing to me, and its name just says it all; the Tower Bridge is literally two towers connecting the bridge. We, then, made a second stop to enter St. Paul s Cathedral. In the Cathedral many services and celebrations were made for historical people, such as a previous Duke, and it stood through the Victorian Period. The structure and long-lasting of these old churches and buildings are interesting because we are walking in the same places through which many of these people walked through. Another iconic symbol that most people know London for is the London Eye, which I experienced from going on it. When I went on it and reached the very top, I saw why it was given that name; I could see the entire beautiful city of London. It was such a great opportunity! Anyway, we also passed by the Houses of Parliament, which has three main towers. The three towers are the Victoria Tower, Elizabeth Tower (also known as Big Ben), and the Central Tower. I noticed that these buildings are very Gothic-style, as I learned in previous

4 history classes. In addition, we made a third stop to see the Westminster Abbey, which is where many Royalty get crowned, and just recently was where Prince William and Kate married! It all sounds like a fairytale to me, but knowing that this is reality is a great experience. The last stop we made was at Buckingham Palace. I know there is a wide historical meaning to this palace, and some of the information I gathered at the sight seeing was that Queen Charlotte lived there, and Queen Victoria set foot in there as well. The London Eye I could say was my favorite part of the day because just being able to look at the whole city from the top was breath-taking. Day 3: Traveling and arriving in Paris We traveled via Eurostar from London to France, which was another addition to my wonderful experiences. I have never been on a train before, so this was all new to me. It was a very quick and easy ride there, and I have always heard of the English Channel but never really knew how it worked. It is such a great invention in my opinion since it easily lets you travel from England to France. Later on, we finally arrived and made our first stop in Notre Dame. It is such a beautiful church. When we pay attention to the detail on the front of the church, we could see the message that they were trying to convey. There s people who do good and are rewarded with heaven, and well there is people who are punished when they do bad by going to hell. The structure is very nice as well. Our tour guide had us do a demonstration on how flying buttresses were brought into constructing cathedrals which allowed us to understand why it helped keep the buildings balanced and strong. After dinner, we went on a beautiful boat ride in the river. As the sun set, we passed the bridges and saw gorgeous buildings, and on our way back, we saw what most people think of when they think of Paris: the Eiffel Tower. I was pretty excited to see it and go on it since it has always been a dream of mine. It lights up beautiful at night, and it sparkles

5 for five minutes every hour. It seemed so unreal to be there. That was definitely my favorite attraction for that day. Day 4: Another day in Paris Our first stop on this day was at the palace of Versailles, which I learned was the home of King Louis the XIV, XV, and XVI. I loved Versailles because it is covered in paintings, and it is just super colorful inside. The detailed work caught my attention. It was also interesting to see their rooms and the room of Marie Antoinette. The garden outside the palace has several statues that were amusing to me. The palace itself had a golden color to it on the outside that caught my eye. It was definitely one of the most beautiful places I visited that day. I was excited to see and just learn some more. Our next stop at the Louvre Museum was also filled with masterpieces. The original painting The Mona Lisa is located inside this museum. I have always heard and learned so much of the Mona Lisa and her mysterious facial expression, so being able to just look at the original painting of it was a great opportunity. There was also many Michelangelo works inside the Louvre. My absolutely favorite place to visit that day was the Pont de Arts, or as many of us know it The Lovers Bridge. I have seen it all over T.V. multiple times, and I got the chance to walk on it and see many of the different locks where couples, mother-daughters, or any other kind of love where they promise their eternal love to each other. It was a great experience! Everything was actually a great experience, so I might get a little repetitive with that. The last but not least place that I listed was the Basilica of Sacred Heart. That church was on a hill, and the view from there to the city was absolutely stunning. We watched during the night how the city was lighted up very beautifully. It was such a nice way to call it a night. Another

6 little interesting fact for this day was that I tried the famous escargots! I am not a seafood fan, and it definitely tasted like seafood to me, and well at least I can say that I tried snails in France! Day 5 & 6: Traveling and Arriving in Switzerland After a long bus ride, we finally arrived in Switzerland, and I immediately noticed the beautiful snow-topped mountains. The houses reminded me of the definition of a village. The grass was very green, and Switzerland seemed to have the most beautiful scenery in comparison to the last few places we visited. We were finally able to explore the country a little more the very next day in Lucerne. I found the Lion monument interesting because it is a memorial for all soldiers lives that were lost during the French Revolution. I can see why they chose a lion because of its strength and courage. My favorite part of the day was the paddle boat ride on the river that my partners and I decided to ride on. It was probably the best decision we made because when we looked back, the town looked absolutely amazing, and when we looked forward, the mountains caught our attention. That is the closest I have ever been to snow, even though it was on the mountains, and the environment there looks and feels very fresh and pollution-free. I must give Switzerland an award for the most beautiful scenery. Day 7 & 8: Traveling to and Arriving in Florence, Italy During another long bus ride to Italy, we made a lunch stop at the famous Milan. I was excited to see what the big fuss was about, and the gothic-style church there is very creative! Many people go there to shop and if only we would of stayed longer. Anyway, we did not make it to Florence until the next day. Our first activity was at Leonardo s Leather Works. Learning

7 about how they made that leather was extremely interesting. Now I know if any leather goods I buy are real leather or not. I can probably tell just by feeling and smelling it because it has such a unique characteristic which I learned at the presentation. A great experience I would never forget from Florence was going up 463 steps in the Florence Cathedral, or the Dome. After that workout, the view was priceless and definitely worth it! We could see the entire city of Florence from the top. We visited a few churches that had detailed decorations and colorful stained-glass. In Florence, the original statue of David by Michelangelo is where it is located. I have always heard of all of Michelangelo s famous pieces of art, and having that opportunity to be where he once was, as well as where other artists and creative people from the Enlightenment period, was incredible. Day 9 & 10: Traveling and arriving in Rome (with a quick stop in Assisi) During another traveling day, we stopped in the beautiful town of Assisi, Italia. The town is on a hill, and it was such small town, but the houses were very pretty and looked fascinating. We stopped in the Basilica of St. Francis and got a tour of it where they told us the history of it. Assisi is where St. Francis lived his life which is important to my family and me because we are catholic, so I found this very interesting. I was excited to go back home and tell my parents. The next day we roamed Rome in one whole day. We started off at the Colosseum, and we continued through the Roman Forums, Vatican City, and the Trevi Fountain. The colosseum, which I ve learned was an amphitheater for the Romans, was everything I expected it to be and more. When I saw it and walked in it, I could just imagine gladiators fighting in the ancient Roman times. It is unbelievable to know that it has been around for such a long time and more than half of it still standing with some repairs of course. Then, we walked over to the Roman

8 Forum where we learned was somewhat like the government area because all decisions were made in there. I saw the grave of Julius Caesar, who who was involved in Roman politics as well later after ancient Rome. The whole time I am just mind blown because I can t believe I am in the same place that the people I have learned about once were. My most favorite part of the day was visiting Vatican City. I mentioned earlier I was Catholic, and my mom is very religious, so I was excited to experience it and tell her about it since her dream is to one day visit it. We walked through the Vatican Museum and went through the Sistine Chapel. As we left Vatican City, we saw the Pope through the screens as he walked through the streets of Rome! It was exciting! We were not able to go into the Basilica of St. Peter because it was a special holiday that day, but our tour guide promised us to make a quick stop the next morning before we left Rome. Our night ended by visiting the Trevi Fountain. Honestly, I ve seen this fountain in movies so many times, so I was pretty eager to visit it and make a wish and toss my coins in there. Supposedly, if you throw coins in there, one day you will return back to Rome. I hope it works out for all of us again! Rome was more than a dream come true! Day 11 & 12: Traveling to Sorrento and Visiting Pompeii As promised, we visited the Basilica of St. Peter the next morning before leaving to Sorrento, Italy. It was closed once again but only because there was going to be Sunday mass given by Pope Frances! That was definitely the best part of my day. To be able to experience that was truly amazing. I recorded some parts of the mass so my parents could see them as well. It was truly a blessing. That memory will always be my favorite because it means the world to me and my parents. It was just unbelievable. Moving along, we finally proceeded to continue with

9 our travel to Sorrento. Little did I know Sorrento was beautiful! It was by the Mediterranean on a cliff and the houses looked very tropical. It was like a dream. This city was definitely beautiful. The very next morning we stopped by Pompeii. I learned that the city of Pompeii was buried due to a volcano explosion, and then it was later founded. I found it to be extremely interesting. We passed to what they said was an old bakery during that time in Pompeii. I can only imagine what life was like in those times. I loved seeing and experiencing this city. Just to see it and just to be there was amazing for me. Before this trip, I did not know of Pompeii much, and now when I hear the name it will automatically take me back to this day and just see the memories that will stay with me. That night we arrived at a Ferry station that took us to Greece; another experience that I enjoyed. Day 13: Arriving in Meteora Region in Greece We started our day bright and early since we arrived pretty early in the ferry to Greece. Our first stop was at a place where we could have a wonderful view of the rock pillars of Meteora. That was the first time I was at the top of one of these and I loved the view so much. I noticed the monasteries on top of the cliffs. I learned that in these monasteries women are expected to wear long skirts and dresses as a sign of respect which I thought was interesting and did not mind at all doing so. We actually went into one of the monasteries called the Monastery of Holy Trinity. It was very small inside, but it was detailed with so many colorful, meaningful paintings. Day 14 & 15: Athens, Greece (our last days)

10 Our first stop that day was at the site of Delphi. I learned there that the Temple of Apollo, who was a Greek god, was located. However, only the remains of the temple rest there. Also, the very first Olympics were held in Delphi. It is very interesting to know that because now the Olympics are a very important international event. We took a walk through the Delphi museum, and it gives us a little taste of ancient Delphi. The writing on the rocks caught my attention. The only other time I used the Greek alphabet was in math, and I would love to actually learn how to speak the Greek language one day. The very next day we visited Athens, Greece: our last and final visit. Our first stop was at the rocky site of The Acropolis. I learned there that Athena was a Greek Goddess who was worshipped at that site. We also saw the remains of the Parthenon. I have read, learned, talked about Greece in my previous classes, and to be there seemed so unbelievable. I loved looking at all these sites because I knew about them a little, but I really learned more being able to just experience and take a close look of all remains still standing and be able to just go back in time and imagine what it was like to live in that period. I will most definitely never forget this trip because I got a taste of history which influenced most things going on today. It was our last day here and even though I was sad to leave, I was content and satisfied with the tour around Europe. These memories will go on with me forever, and I m glad I met the people who experienced this with me. My dream of going to Europe one day came true, and I still can t believe it. Having a little bit more knowledge about Europe as well, gives me hope to go back some day. I will definitely do this trip again and visit new places.

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