My sisters and I have been asking our parents to go to Europe for as long as I can remember. Much to our dismay, the answer was always a vague "we will one day." However, on Christmas Eve of 2018 this answer changed. We were gifted a trip to London and Paris after successfully completing our annual Christmas Eve scavenger hunt in which the clue spelled "passport." We immediately knew what was happening. To put it simply: best Christmas present EVER.

Europe. April, 2019.

First, we flew to London where we took a train to Paddington station upon arrival. The start of our journey was marked by a cab ride in the traditional cab cars in London. If there was something to do in London, we did it. From the changing of the guard to a river cruise to afternoon tea to bus tours through the city and even seeing the hit Broadway play Hamilton. We covered it all. To Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, Churchill's War Rooms, and even Harrod's. You name it, we did it. And let's not forget about the food. Tapas. Gelato. Meat pies. Cheese. Chocolate. Mediterranean. Ramen. Our time in London was marked by so many memories like being evacuated from the Victoria Palace Theater or wearing bibs while eating Ramen and even my little sister being a participant in a magic show on the street. The trip to London was the best vacation I had ever had. But, we weren't done yet.

As if our days in London were not enough, we packed up and traveled on the EuroStar to France's capital: Paris. We started our journey exploring the City of Lights and Love by bus as we looked out from the top deck. We submersed ourselves in the history and culture of Paris by spending time at Versailles and The Louvre and eating one too many chocolate croissants. We saw Notre Dame Cathedral just several days after it was devastated by an unexpected fire. We climbed to the highest point in Paris and sat on the steps of The Basilica Sacre Coeur (ask my Dad how it is pronounced) as we watched a fire twirler perform above the city lights. We went to the top of the Eiffel Tower, where the reality of the height of the structure hit me hard (let's just say it may have ended with some tears). We ate countless crepes and had enough Nutella for a lifetime. There were so many laughs and memories including my sister's Irish golfing hat and there was not a moment that was not enjoyed.

There is no better way that I would have wanted to spend my first trip to Europe. I got to spend time with my family and share many "firsts" and memories alongside my sisters, which was special because it does not happen too often anymore because I am away at school. This trip was everything that I imagined and more. Cheers to the Homies!!