Bonjour and witnessing history with my own eyes!

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Hello! It’s Melena Appling here. I am here to tell you all about my adventures from this past week. I went and visited Hampton Court Palace in London where I saw King George the Second’s and Henry VIII’s homes. It was simply dripping with grandeur, there were so many beautiful murals and amazing décor on display. I enjoyed walking around and seeing how older time periods were and the significance of their culture throughout the architecture. I also got to see the rooms and recreated outfits made of paper like a navy uniform. The gardens were so cool to see, I saw the longest vine in the world! ‘The Great Vine’ has a Guinness World record for being the longest healthy living vine in history. I attended my CIEE courses, and it was great to learn about the rich history of London.

Then, this week, I took a trip to Paris and had the most exciting time! On the first day, I traveled to The Palace of Versailles and saw the rivers and musical gardens. Next, I had some wonderful bakery treats and pastries. Soon after, I went to see the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum with the pyramids, and I saw the Mona Lisa painting. I took a trip to the Eiffel Tower and climbed 669 stairs to the second floor. It was such an amazing view to see the skylines of Paris. Additionally, I went inside the Arc de Triomphe where I saw all the other landmarks of the city from the top. I loved seeing the buildings light up at night like the Eiffel Tower glittering for 5 mins every hour and the Arc being lit in the center roundabout of the city. The French cuisine was very good, I ate at a white tablecloth dining experience, where I had duck and mash. It was packed with flavor and immersive in culture. On the final day, I went to the Pantheon in Paris and walked past the Sainte-Chapel. Finally, to conclude my trip, I took the train back to London where my train went underwater, and I ate a yummy macaroon.

Later, when I returned to London, I heard the tragic news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom, the longest reigning monarch. It was sad to see everyone mourning the loss of a leader and monarch, but the ceremonies held in her honor have been spectacular to see. I am happy to be in the United Kingdom of Great Britain while history is being made in front of my eyes.