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Queen’s Guard Marching from Buckingham Palace

Queen’s Guard Marching from Buckingham Palace

My mom and I were unintentionally (believe it or not) in London for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It was an amazing event to be in England for, but it did have its limitations. Buckingham Palace was blocked off, so we never got a good look at it. To make up for that, my mom and I did get to see other things that people don’t normally see in London, including the Queen’s Guard marching from Buckingham Palace. After my mom and I found out that Buckingham Palace was blocked off, we stopped for a traditional English breakfast at a nearby restaurant. After we finished eating, we walked back outside and noticed people had lined up along the street. We figured something cool must be happening, so we decided to stick around. Not long after we posted up, we saw the Queen’s Guard marching from Buckingham Palace. I figured this was a pretty rare occasion, so I grabbed my cell phone and got video of them. My mom and I had...

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Venus de Milo at the Louvre in Paris

Venus de Milo at the Louvre in Paris

I’ll be really honest with you: I’m more into sporting events than museums, but my first trip to Europe started to change me. I had an incredible time romping through the British Museum in London, and visiting the Louvre in Paris (no trip to Paris is complete without it). On top of seeing the Louvre’s most popular piece, Mona Lisa, I also really enjoyed taking in the Venus de Milo. Venus de Milo is one of the most famous ancient Greek sculptures. The statue is believed to depict Aphrodite, who was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. I originally thought the sculpture was created by Michelangelo, but that’s not the case. It’s actually unknown who sculpted Venus de Milo, but they think it was created by Alexandros of Antioch. The “Milo” part of her name comes from where she was found — the island of Milos in the Aegean Sea. It’s impossible to not be in awe of Venus de Milo. The statue was sculpted out of marble between...

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Statue of Liberty in Paris | An Often Missed Attraction

Statue of Liberty in Paris | An Often Missed Attraction

There are replicas of the Statue of Liberty all over the world, including a 6-foot model on Alki Beach in West Seattle. But it was the French that gifted the actual Statue of Liberty to the United States in 1886, so it was only fitting the American community in Paris honor the French with a Statue of Liberty right back. That’s right — there’s a Statue of Liberty in Paris, too. The Statue of Liberty in Paris is located off the beaten path on the Ile aux Cygnes (about a 20 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower). It’s one-fourth the size of the real Statue of Liberty in New York, standing a little more than 72-feet tall (the actual Statue of Liberty stands 305-feet). The replica in Paris was inaugurated on July 4, 1889 (to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution). The statue has stood in Paris for a long time, but it’s not nearly as popular as the one you find in the United States — or...

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Banff | Canadian Rockies Getaway

Banff | Canadian Rockies Getaway

I’ve been drawn to Banff for years. After seeing pictures of snow-capped mountains, turquoise blue lakes, and incredible wildlife, I wanted to see it with my own eyes. That’s exactly why my dad and I recently booked a trip to the Canadian Rockies. I was surprised at how easy it was to get from Seattle to Banff. It takes about an hour and a half to fly to Calgary, and then it’s another hour and a half drive from Calgary to Banff. If you really feel like going for it, you can drive from Seattle to Banff, but it will take you about 11 hours. There are a million different things to see and do in Banff, including spectacular drives, incredible hikes, and other fun outdoor activities like rock climbing, kayaking, and white water rafting (to just name a few). My dad and I only had four days in Banff so we tried to squeeze in as much as we could. This is a day-by-day breakdown of what we did...

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Salzburg Castle | Festung Hohensalzburg Fortress

Salzburg Castle | Festung Hohensalzburg Fortress

The first thing you notice when you get to Salzburg, Austria is the large castle planted high above the city. Salzburg Castle (which is known locally as Festung Hohensalzburg) is the ultimate landmark. Anywhere you go in the city, you see the fortress looking over you. Not only is Salzburg Castle beautiful, it also acts as a museum and offers incredible views of the city. Salzburg Castle literally sits on top of a mountain. The Austrian name, Festung Hohensalzburg, actually means “high Salzburg fortress.” To get to the Salzburg Castle you can take a cable railway called a funicular or you can hike to the fortress. Admission tickets to the castle are a little cheaper if you walk to the top rather than taking the funicular (it was €8.50 compared to €11 for adults). My mom and I chose to take the funicular to the top (we only had one day, so it was our quickest option). It was a short ride with a great view. If you don’t catch the views on the ride up — don’t fret!...

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Salzburg, Austria | A Music Lover’s Paradise

Salzburg, Austria | A Music Lover’s Paradise

While music is always in the air in Salzburg, Austria, it wasn’t really meant to be that way. Once one of the world’s most famous composers was born there, and a popular musical was set and filmed there, it just sort of happened. There’s no doubt the city embraces its musical past, and that’s what makes it a music lover’s paradise. Music in Salzburg begins with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The influential composer was born in Salzburg on January 27, 1756. He started composing at the age of five in his home, which is right in the heart of Old Town Salzburg. Mozart’s birthplace (Mozart’s Geburtshaus) still exists, and is now a museum (located on Getreidegasse — a popular street/shopping area in Salzburg). More than 220 years after he died, Mozart’s presence is still everywhere in Salzburg. There’s Mozartplatz, the Mozarteum, and a Mozart statue. The home where Mozart lived as a teenager is another museum. The list truly goes on and on. A trip to Salzburg is obviously a must if you’re a fan of...

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