Her Story: My International Travel Adventures

 

I always knew I liked traveling. It was one of my favorite things to do. My family has been on several vacations together both in the U.S. and outside of it. In recent years however, I have been left to explore the world with other organizations. Although I've been on quite a few trips, my most recent adventure to Europe has to be my favorite.

I finally got the chance to travel to Europe for two weeks with a school based organization and it was one of the best trips of my life. I had never been that far out of America and the cultural experience was breathtaking. It was my first real time going somewhere with a time difference larger than 3 hours. As a group, we spent four days in Portugal and the rest of the trip was spent in various cities in beautiful Espana.

Lisbon, Portugal was the first stop. I stayed at local hotels and experienced so many different foods and atmospheres. My favorite place in Portugal was Cape St. Vincent. It was a beautiful place with a tall lighthouse and cliffs that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea. The water was so clear and blue, I've never seen anything prettier. I also loved how you could see the whole city from various buildings and attractions.

Every place I went to was a new experience. While in Spain, I visited the glorious cities of Grenada, Seville, Andalucia, Valencia and Barcelona. Valencia and Barcelona were my two favorites. The architecture and style of the buildings was so different from anything I had ever seen in the states. I saw fountains, gardens, castles, cathedrals and so much more.

Aside from the buildings and sights, the food was also a new experience. I ate gelato almost every single day and always looked forward to what my next meal was. During one of the days I was in Valencia, I ate a home cooked meal made by a native woman. Her food was out of this world and I would go back for seconds in a heartbeat. Spain is also a huge exporter of olives so one of the stops on our tour of Spain was an olive oil factory. I got to try freshly made Spanish olive oil and see how it was made. I definitely made sure to bring a bottle home.

Overall my first European experience was everything I hoped it would be. I took over 2,000 pictures on my camera to share how amazing the trip was with all of my family and friends. It was also really amazing because I was able to work on my Spanish speaking skills. I didn’t know Portuguese so that was hard, but after taking Spanish for several years in school, it was cool to be able to put what I learned into action.

I would go back to Europe in a heartbeat and I cannot wait for my next experience!