Att the beginning of July, my family and I departed on a trip to Europe. We would begin in Paris, then take a train to Torino, Italy. We were all so excited when we boarded the plane that we couldn’t sleep on the long flight. After hours on the huge plane, we finally landed in Paris, France. We navigated through the busy Paris streets to our hotel only to find our reservations were mixed up. My dad spent most of the day trying to correct the error but unfortunately, he could not. This was only the beginning of our crazy trip. After catching up on our sleep after a good night’s rest, we started touring Paris over the next few days.

Our first stop was the Academie Nationale de Musique, also known as the Opera House. While we toured the beautiful building, I hoped the Phantom would come. The Phantom of the Opera is a musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and it takes place at the opera house. Sadly, we didn’t see him, but I still enjoyed seeing such a magnificent place. We also visited Notre Dame Cathedral. Because of the construction, we could not go inside. I guarantee the outside was just as beautiful.

The Louvre Museum was much bigger than I imagined. We barely covered half of the museum while we were there. The one thing we did see was the Mona Lisa. It was nothing like I thought. My mind told me it was this elaborate painting that took up a whole wall. I thought that was what attracted millions of tourists to see it each year. But it is only a small painting that looks even smaller with everyone crowded around it. It really was breathtaking though. The detail, the colors and shapes brought everything together. The Mona Lisa wasn’t the only great thing at the Louvre. There was so much amazing art such as Venus de Milo, and the Raft of Medusa.

Another attraction that surprised me was Napoleon Bonaparte’s tomb. Napoleon Bonaparte was a very short man, but his tomb seemed like the biggest thing in the world. I wonder how big he is inside of it. I enjoyed every bit of Paris, but I must admit, my absolute favorite part was the Eiffel Tower. Just staring at it from the ground made me smile. We walked all the way up where I could see the entire city and beyond. It was amazing.

While we were in Paris, my dad got an email stating that there was a mudslide on the train tracks, and our train was cancelled. After a visit to the train station, he found a detour. First, we trained into Basel, Switzerland and then Milano, Italy, and finally we made it to Torino late at night. Even though it was very dark when we arrived, I could tell Torino was completely different than Paris.

A long time ago, my parents made friends with a couple in Italy, the Frassas. They would fly back and forth to Italy over the years, but this would be my first time meeting them and their children. I was a little nervous though. They only spoke Italian, but I knew it would work out somehow. We all were a little nervous when we met, but before I knew it, we were having fun together. After we got to know each other better, the first thing Mrs. Sara, Mr. Stefano and their children—Amanda, Miriam and Leo–did was take us to a special Egyptian exhibit. It was a little scary because there were real mummies inside! After that thrilling experience, we walked around until dinner just admiring the beautiful city.

We were staying at a hotel that was an old Fiat industry. Fiat is a big car company that is very famous in Italy. The roof of our hotel had a car track on top where Fiat would test their cars. So, we headed to the elevators to go to the roof. One man got out of the elevator and told us something in Italian. We all crammed into the elevator and pressed for the roof.

My mom asked Mrs. Sara what he said, and she told us he said that the elevator was broken, and he was trapped in it for half an hour! Everyone laughed and it took us two seconds to realize we had gotten in the same elevator and we weren’t moving! Nine of us, stuffed in a tiny, hot elevator was not great. Thankfully, the mechanic came and freed us. We did make it up to the track, and the view of the city was worth the trouble.

We spent all our days with the Frassas’s while we were in Italy. They took us up mountains to hidden spots, beautiful lakes, and even dinner at their house one night. On our last day in Italy the Frassas’s had a special surprise for us. We were going to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. Once we had all put our jackets on, we took the sky lift to the top of the mountain. At first it was hard to breathe, and it was very cold, but the view was incredible. Miles of mountains filled the distance, most of them covered in snow.

After we left the mountains, we all drove to another village named Aosta, where we would be staying the night so we could get a head start on our drive back to Switzerland. My first thought was that this was a very bland village with not much to do. I was proven wrong. Aosta is a very lively village that looks like it came out of a storybook. Shops lined every street and there was music and laughter. The Frassas’s took us to dinner then walked us back to our hotel. Sadly, it was time for goodbye. Our goodbyes were very sad–none of us wanted to part. I missed them immediately, but I knew I’d see them again.

The next morning, we drove from Italy to Switzerland, so we could catch our train back to Paris later that day. We had one last day in Paris before our plane back home. We walked around, went to Musée d’Orsay, and bought most of our souvenirs.

It was early the next morning when we left for the airport. Our first flight was to Stuttgart, Germany. When we arrived, our baggage was late. We almost missed our last flight! We made it just in time. Once we landed in Atlanta, we had no reason to rush because there was a hurricane going on in Louisiana and all flights were cancelled. We ended up staying the night in Atlanta, then catching our rescheduled flight to New Orleans in the morning. During the drive home, all we could talk about were our adventures–the fun, food, music, our wonderful friends, and the amazing sights.

Even though I miss Europe, I will never forget its beauty, food, art and people. I learned there is always more than meets the eye.


“Tu retiens plus quand tu voix plus.”
(You take in more when you see more).

Canoeing in the Summer by Harper E. Anderson

Canoeing in the Summer by Harper E. Anderson

My teacher, Mrs. Harriet, thought this would be nice for me to draw and paint. It reminds me of canoeing at camp this summer. I loved looking around to find the right colors to paint the boats.

Harper is 10 years old, fluent in French and loves art. She has a cat named Oliver that shares all her adventures and experiences in Louisiana