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Visiting "Moúnt á már" in Paris at age 11 | Throwback Travel Series

My mom recently shipped me a box of my childhood diaries and journals. As I flipped through the pages, filled with sloppy sketches of famous tourist sites and lists of my favorite meals, I was warmly greeted by my younger self.

When I was 11 years old, the paternal side of the family spent two weeks celebrating my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary on a transatlantic cruise with the Queen Elizabeth II, an ocean liner that has since been converted to a floating hotel in Dubai. Our first port of call was New York City with a stop in London, before taking the Eurostar to Paris.

Our entire family wore bright red shirts commemorating the trip.

Listen carefully and you'll hear my brother, Michael call me a show-off in the background.

It never really occurred to me when I was a kid just how privileged

I was to be taken on such an adventure.

This Throwback Travel (TBT) series will launch every Thursday and include a real journal entry about a destination visited during my childhood. My journal entries have been copied below exactly as I wrote them. The entries remain unedited, so please excuse any spelling errors, horrifyingly bratty comments, inconsistent capitalization, overzealous exclamation marks and hilarious attempts to write in French. The only thing I've added is brackets to clarify a reference to a family member or place.


July 19, 1999

Today we are going to Paris, France. We will be traveling on the chunnel which is an underground train. It will take 4 hours to get there. Nana Doe [my grandmother] told me that we are staying in the same street that the Eiffel Tower is on! Cool! I'll write to you on the chunnel!

On the Chunnel...

Hi! It's Ashley. Here I am in Waterloo station ready to get on the chunnel. The man just put our luggage in a small room. We are not ready to board the chunnel.

Inside the chunnel...and at the appartment

The chunnel is so cool! We just finished a game of cards. Will [my cousin], Mike [my brother] and JD [my cousin] are playing Guess Who (R), and I am writing to you. The appartment is great! It is located on Chámps Avenue [The Avenue des Champs-Élysées]. We are right by the Arch de triumphe [The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile]. We are in room B 605. See you later!

July 20, 1999

Today we are going sightseeing around the city. I'll see you later!

After sightseeing...

The sights were really cool! First we went to the Arch de Triumphe. It was a lot of fun. Then, we went to the Eiffel Tower. There was like a two hour wait to go up into the Eiffel Tower so we just took pictures of it (although we are going inside it tonight). I am babysitting [my sister, Christine] right now so I have to go.

After babysitting...

Now we are going to Moúnt á már [Montmartre]. It is where artists display all their work. Well, here I go!

After Moúnt á már [Montmartre]...

Moúnt á már was a lot of fun! It is really late so I should go to sleep. Jour év wa [Au revoir]!

July 21, 1999

Today we are going sightseeing. It will be great! We will go the Louvre (a museum of art), Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower. I'll see you later.

After sightseeing...

The sights in Paris were so cool! First, we went to the largest art gallery in the world - The Louvre. We even saw the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci during the Renaissance! It was soooo awesome! We also saw the statue of Aphrodite. It looks like this. It has no arms and is 2,100 years old! After the Louvre, we went to the Notre Dame Cathedral [Notre-Dame de Paris]. That is the Cathedral that Victor Hugo based the story, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." After the Cathedral, we walked down by the Seine River and took a 30 minute ferry to the Eiffel Tower! Dad, Mike [my brother], Tine [my sister, Christine], and I all went up to the top! We could see everything!

Mom, on the other hand stayed with her feet planted on the second floor! I don't blame her!

Looking emo whilst enjoying a snack after summiting the Eiffel Tower via elevator.

After our experience at the top of the Eiffel Tower, we ate dinner at Altitude 95! That is on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower! We were all siked! I tried escargot (snail) for the first time too! They were really yummy! It was a night I will never forget. I'll see you tomorrow!

July 22, 1999

Today we are leaving Paris. That means that the trip is over. This was a very memorable trip and I will never, ever forget it. I enjoyed coming closer to the ones I love most. I also have enjoyed all the times that we laughed together during dinner at the Coronia [restaurant on the ocean liner, Queen Elizabeth II]. Well, I am now sitting in row 22C onboard the U.S. Airways plane. We have about 4 hours left on this particular plane. I'll write to you soon.

Later on...

Ugghh! Hi, this is Ashley reporting live from Philadelphia and it looks as though we will be sitting here for another hour! I am at the airport and we have been sitting here for three hours! Dad just went to find a rental car. Wish us luck!

Dedication Page

I am dedicating this journal to everyone in my family. All of them have encouraged me to do my very best in whatever I do. Whether it's playing lacrosse or singing "Tomorrow" in front of 300 people onboard the Queen Elizabeth 2! I just want to thank you for being there for me. Thanks!

All My love Always,



Adventure Unabashedly Recommends

Mina Rashid P.O. Box 6769 Dubai, UAE

St Pancras International Station

Euston Rd, Kings Cross

London N1C 4QP, UK

Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France

75007, Paris, France

Latitude 95 [now called 58 Tour Eiffel]

Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France

75007, Paris, France

Rue de Rivoli

75001, Paris, France

Parvis du Sacré-Coeur - 75018 Paris

Montmartre - La Chapelle - 18e Arrondissement

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées

8e Arrondissement

75008, Paris, France

8e Arrondissement

75008, Paris, France

75001 Paris, France

6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II

75004 Paris, France

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