Ahhhh, I have just gotten back from a ten-day trip to Paris, London, and Luxembourg. I know I’ve written a little bit about traveling around before, but this was my first big trip outside of France. And it was a blast.

The week break came in the middle of the semester and was for a holiday called “Touissant.” It seems that not all French universities got the full week off, but I guess I got lucky with my school! Lots of students (both Californian and French) decided to take mini-vacations. I went on mine with  a friend who goes to UCLA but who I met here in France, and we had an absolutely marvelous time. I hadn’t been to Paris yet, and going with my friend was great because she lived there in high school so she got to show me around her old stomping grounds. Normally when I go to big cities I end up doing a ton of touristy stuff without ever getting to ~experience~ the city as a local. Not this trip! I felt like I was surrounded by locals the entire time. We went to museums I hadn’t heard of and to neighborhoods that I didn’t know existed (French class at UCLA only tells you so much about Paris). We ate ice cream even though it was in the forties and walked along the city’s prettiest bridges. And I am pretty sure I spent as much time in the Tuileries as I do in the botanical gardens back at UCLA.

Up next was London. I have never been to London before, and this time we didn’t really have an experienced tour guide. We saw a lot of the sights – Big Ben, the classic phonebooths, Buckingham palace (which was less impressive than I thought it would be), and we also got to ride around in the big double-decker buses. We also met up with a girl my friend knew from UCLA, which was too fun. I always get a kick out of meeting Bruins especially if it’s halfway across the world. I ate a lot of yummy food in London (my two favorites – the Indian food and the English breakfast) and had a fab time riding the tube. Leaving was sad, but I know that next semester I will be making a week-long trek out to London. No worries.

Luxembourg was last, and it was absolutely charming. We were only there for one full day, but we took a lovely hike around in the woods and explored the village where we stayed. It only had about 400 inhabitants and the only business in the town (besides the hostel) was a pizzeria where we had to order our food with broken French and hand signals (they speak a lot of different languages in Luxembourg, unfortunately French wasn’t one that our waitress really knew).

It was a great time! And this coming weekend I look forward to heading off to Madrid to see some UCLA friends studying there. Bon voyage.

Charley Guptill