If I was asked to sum up my trip to Europe this April in one word, I think I would end up slurring words like; awesome, excellent, breath-taking, phenomenal, and just-wow into one unrecognizable sound.

My sister and me in front of the canals by the Anne Frank house

On April 6th, I left Canada with a group from my school to embark on the Vimy 100 tour, run by EF Tours. We landed in Amsterdam where I saw the Anne Frank house and fell in love with the canals. My sister and I couldn’t resist to get a cute picture in front of it! We stayed for one night just outside of Amsterdam, in a city called Rotterdam, and there is a huge difference between the two. The streets of Amsterdam are full of old buildings and rows upon rows of brick houses, whereas Rotterdam has more modern buildings, because of the area was bombed in WWII.  

Amsterdam Streets

The Vimy Memorial at Sunset

After Amsterdam we moved on to the main purpose of the trip—Vimy Ridge. 100 years ago, on the 9th of April, thousands of Canadian soldiers fought in the battle that many say was the true mark of the beginning of the Canada as a nation. By nightfall on April 12th, 1917, the Canadian Corps successfully won The Battle of Vimy Ridge, but not without sacrifice. A total of 3,598 Canadian troops died in those brutal three days, and another 7,004 wounded.

My cousin, sister and me wearing our EF Vimy gear

As a Canadian student, it was a privilege to be part of the Vimy 100 ceremony in Vimy Region, France. EF tours provided us with some awesome red Vimy 100 jackets, which I actually ended up using it to shade myself from the intense sunlight, rather than using to keep myself warm. It was a beautiful day in Vimy Region, one that I will never forget.

Juno Beach

 

Our stay in Vimy eventually came to an end, and we moved on to Normandy, France, specifically to Juno beach where many brave Canadians fought and died along the beach. My friends and I had the chance to walk into one of the tiny bunkers not far from the shoreline, watch videos on the battle and learn more about the soldiers who died for our freedom. #ProudCanadian

Paris has always been on my top bucket list of places to go, so I’m sure you can imagine the look on my face as our tour bus came into view of la Tour Eiffel. We spent three nights in the City of Love, shopping, sightseeing and soaking in the view. I got the chance to go up the Eiffel tower, see the Mona Lisa with my own eyes, go shopping at Champs-Élysées and go under the Arc de Triomphe. I practiced some French while there of course, in fact I was stunned at how much French I learned from being in France for only a week. I think I’ll be returning to France very soon…

The London Eye from the ground

Finally, we reached our last destination—London, England. From the moment I stepped off the train, I was absolutely in love with the culture, the buildings, the accents—pretty much everything. Even the “sweets” were something else. The London Eye was the highlight of my visit, because from there I got a true perspective of the city and all its beauty.   

The trip to Europe truly broadened my perspective of life, and I can’t wait to travel again.

Thank you for reading!

All the best,

Lydia, Miss Teenage Halton

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