Spanish Trip Summary

Well I arrived back from Spain/France this morning, EARLY, this morning. It was a pretty awesome tripand I got to see a lot of stuff I never thought I would. Here’s a summary of what we did each day:

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006 (Day 1): I woke up at 3:30 AM to get ready to meet the group at the high school at 4:00. We left from the high school, on a school bus, bound for Minneapolis, Minnesota (a five-hour bus). We got to Minneapolis at about 9:30 or 10:00 AM and got everything checked out and sat around until the plane left. We got on the plane and got settled in on the way to Toronto, Canada. The plane was small, though it is the first plane I actually remember being on. We got to Toronto but we couldn’t find our luggage. The flight was only about an hour and twenty minutes, and we got to Toronto right on time and got some lunch. They said it was getting moved on but I wasn’t so sure. We got on the plane headed for Montreal but there was a problem with one of the engines. First there was a delay, and more delay. They, then, decided the plane couldn’t leave because the weather was getting bad. We were held up in Toronto for about two hours or so. We finally got on the other plane, but that too, had to wait because of the weather. We barely got to Montreal when we had to get on the flight to Paris. This was an overnight flight, so we got a blanket and a pillow to sleep with. We got two meals and then flight lasted about six hours.

Thursday, June 1st, 2006 (Day 2): So we arrived in Paris in the morning. We went to the airport and, again, our luggage didn’t show up. We talked to the guys there and they checked and said it was in Toronto still (like we should’ve picked it up…) and that it would be delivered to our hotel, but not until the next evening. So everyone, who was already pissed about the luggage thing, went to our hotel. Then, we took the subway system to the Arc de Triomphe and got some money exchanged. The Arc was pretty cool. We got to get on top and take some pretty cool pictures. After that, everyone just got some souvenirs and then went back to the hotel. On our second subway trip, we had some entertainment. Some French kids started rapping and dancing to a boombox they brought on the subway. It was pretty interesting.

Friday, June 2nd, 2006 (Day 3): On this day we woke up pretty early. We ate breakfast and then got on an actual tour bus. We drove around Paris for the greater part of the morning. Soaking in the sites and the information from the tour leader. We stopped at a really good Eifel Tour picture point and took some pictures. Then, we went to Notre Dame Cathedral, went inside and got some cool pictures. We, then, drove to the Palace of Versailles and walked around for a while. Caren, Colby, Kelsey and I got a little lost and couldn’t quite get back to the group. We were found, however, and went to eat lunch. After lunch, we traveled back to Paris and went to a little shopping mall. We met up with Jordan and his mom, who had to leave a day later because of State Golf, at the supper restaurant. We ate supper, then went back to the hotel. We got all of our stuff together and went to the Eifel Tour. Most of us only went to the first level, but some went all the way to the top. This was just a huge waste of time and we were there far too late. We got back to the hotel and got ready for bed. We did, however, have time to go to the little shop next door and get some Smirnoff Ice (at the age of 17!), which was pretty nice. Then we went to bed.

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 (Day 4): We woke up and got on a subway train to La Galleries Lafayette, which was a really fancy shopping mall. We saw the Paris Opera House, where Phantom of the Opera takes place. We went to another shopping part of town and ate lunch. After lunch, we did some more shopping. We left the shopping area and headed for Sacre-Coeur, a really famous, old and nice church. We left there and headed back to the hotel area to eat supper on our own. After supper we all just stayed at the hotel and sat around until we went to bed.

Sunday, June 4th, 2006 (Day 5): We woke up, early again, for another long day. First we went to the Lourve. It wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be, but it was still a pretty cool place. We saw the Mona Lisa and the glass pyramid and everything. We did, however, lose Julie (Jordan’s mom) in the process of leaving, so our teacher had to stay back and find her. It was pretty interesting. We then went to eat supper, then back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the group. After that, we just sat around until it was time to load the bus to go to the train station. It was an overnight train ride so we got there, sat for a while, and then I got out a little pocket knife and picked the locks to get our beds to fold out. After that, we just slept until we got to Barcelona.

Monday, June 5th, 2006 (Day 6): We arrived in Barcelona in the late morning. The first thing we did was go on a short bus tour. We saw the old Olympic buildings from when it was held there in 1992. We traveled from Montjuic, a hill on one side of Barcelona, and took some great pictures. We then traveled through the city, looking at old buildings and learning about the city. We got to another hill, on the opposite side of town, called Parc Guell (Guell Park). It was all designed by an architect, by the name of Gaudi, who designed a bunch of old buildings in Barcelona. It was really interesting and he uses a lot of ceramic tiles in his work, so it made it really pretty to look at. We, then, went to Sagrada Familia. It’s a church that’s still being worked on, and has been for the last 134 years. It’s gone through three architects, though the most influential being Gaudi, and is still not finished. Each side of the church represents part of Jesus’ life with figures carved into the walls to tell the story. One side is his birth, showing the three wise men, the sheppards and Jesus, Mary and Joseph by the manger. The opposite side is his death, showing the story of the Passion in stone. The final side, the one that isn’t finished yet, is going to be the Ascension. They hope to be completely done by 2029, but that’s a long time. After we saw the church we traveled to our other hotel. It was pretty far away from the city but it was really nice. We got settled in and then decided to go to a beach. It was a holiday in Spain on this day so we didn’t want to go to the main beaches because they’d be crowded, so we got on a train and headed out of town. We, however, had no clue where we were going, and after a while we had to ask for help. It turned out that we got on the wrong train and missed the beach we were going to. We found a nice one at the place that we stopped at, though, and we had fun. We swam in the Mediterranean Sea and then ate some real pizza. That night we headed back to the hotel and just hung out.

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 (Day 7): We woke up early and got ready to head into the city. We rode a bus, then a subway to La Rambla, which means ‘The Riverbed’ in Spanish, and is a very busy shopping street. The Cathedral de la Seu (The Cathedral of Barcelona) was around there, too, so we checked that out too. We walked around until it was time to eat lunch. We ate at the Hard Rock Café, which was nice because they served American food, which I was so ready for. After lunch we walked around some more and went into a huge shopping mall called El Corte Ingles. After that we went to a traditional flamingo dance. It was really weird and not what we were expecting, but it was pretty interesting. After that, we went back to the hotel and got all of our stuff ready to leave in the morning.

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006 (Day 8): We woke up a little later than we usually did, and finished packing to get ready to leave. We rode a bus to the airport. We said goodbye to our tour guide, and got on our flight to Frankfurt, Germany at about 1:00. We arrived in Frankfurt at about 3:00, bought some German chocolate, and sat in the airport until it was time for our next flight to leave. We got on our flight to Chicago at about 5:00. The flight from Frankfurt to Chicago was a nine hour, but because we were going west we gained seven hours. So, we left Frankfurt at 5:00 PM, rode for nine hours, and arrived in Chicago at 7:00 PM. It was a bad flight, I couldn’t sleep and my seat had a screwed up headphone jack so I couldn’t even watch the movies. We got to Chicago at 7:00 and got some American food and a Mountain Dew, which I hadn’t had since I left… it was hard. We got on the plane, bound for Minneapolis, at 10:00. We had a little bit of a delay on the plane but the flight was only an hour long so it wasn’t too bad. I slept the whole time, so I didn’t even notice. We got to Minneapolis around 11:30, a half-hour late, got our luggage, and got on the bus. The bus ride home was horrible. I couldn’t fall asleep, and when I did it was in the most uncomfortable position, so it didn’t last long. We finally got back to North Dakota, filled up with gas in Fargo, dropped off the kids from Hillsboro, and finally, made it back to Mayville at about 5:30 AM. I had a car waiting for me so I just got my stuff and went home. As soon as I got home I fell right to sleep, it felt so good.

I can now, officially, say that I’ve been to Europe. I would really like to go back, but with some friends and maybe just do some backpacking throughout the continent. It would be so much more rewarding, and so much more fun, to not have a schedule and just go wherever we wanted. That will be my next trip. All-in-all it was a great trip, though. Paris got a little boring towards the end, and I wish we would’ve been able to stay in Barcelona a little longer but it was still good. Looking back at pictures of the cities and sites we went to, it doesn’t even seem like I was there. I loved it but I’m glad to be home. I’ll post some pictures when I get my cameras developed in a week or so.



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