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S: My International Trip

FC: My International Trip Brianna Zawada

1: On July 21, I started my trip in London, England. In England, I got to see some major landmarks and culture. England is part of the United Kingdom, right next to Scotland and Wales. Thankfully the official language is English, which made it much easier to communicate. It's a smaller country, at about 50,000 sq miles, but it's got a lot of people there, approximately 51,500,000. I stayed in one of England's biggest cities and their capitol, London, but there are also many other big cities, like Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester. In London, I got to see some major tourist attractions, like Big Ben, Parliament, and Buckingham Palace. | The weather here was very nice. It's a mild climate, so the weather doesn't usually get below 32 degrees F in the winter and above 90 degrees F in the summer. To get into the country, I needed my passport and to go through customs. The majority of the people practice Christianity, but there's also a small portion of the population that practices Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. One exciting current event there is that London is hosting the Olympics in 2012! Here's a link about it; This is also a really good like with all the amazing tourist attractions; | England

2: Well, I made my way to France! I stayed here for two days and to get here I took the Chunnel, which is a train that goes under water! It goes from England to France by the English Channel. To get int and out of the country, I needed my passport to get through customs. Then, I traveled to Paris, where I saw a lot of tourist attractions; like the Louvre Museum and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. There were so many other famous cities that I didn't have time to go see, like Nice, Strasbourg, and Bordeaux. A current event in France I found out about is that Parliament recently passed the president's controversial pension reform. There's an interesting story about it at this site; | France is such an interesting country! France is in Europe and is bordered by Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and Spain. It's a fairly small country, at about 551,500 square miles. It has a fairly big population, especially for that size at around 65,000,000 people. Of all these people, most of them speak French because it's their official language. If you talked to someone on the street there, they're most likely Roman Catholic, which accounts for a huge part of the population. There is also a small Muslim, Protestant, and Jewish population. I enjoyed the weather, it wasn't too hot because they have generally mild summers there. The winters, on the other hand, are generally cool. I found some especially interesting information at this site; | France

3: France | France's Flag | The Louvre Museum | The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower! | A map of France

4: Viva | Next on my trip, I went south of France to Madrid, Spain for two days. Spain is also bordered by Portugal, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. It's position on the globe explains the climate there. The summers are fairly hot and they also have cool winters. To get in and out, I just needed my passport. There are so many people who live in Spain, around 47 million! That makes Spain the 27th most populated country in the world. If you needed to ask someone for directions, you should probably ask them in Spanish, because 47% of the people speak it. It's also their official language. Other important languages are Catalan and Galician. If you were going to ask the 47million people what religion the practiced, a very popular answer would be Roman Catholic at 94% of the population practicing it! IJ visited Madrid, but there are so many other great cities that I could have gone to, like Barcelona and Sevilla, to name a few.

5: Espana! | There were so many places to visit in Madrid, and not enough time! I got to go to the Puerta del Sol. There's so much history there! Some of the buildings in the area were started in the 16th Century! The picture above is a picture of the Puerta del Sol. It's very interesting. If you want to learn more, you should look here; Another very famous place that I visited was the Prado Museum. It;s so filled with culture! The Prado is one of the worlds most famous art museums. It contains pieces from the 12th to the 19th century. I was so privileged to be able to see one of the most famous attractions in Madrid. The picture of this world famous museum is on the right. | One current event that I found very interesting is that Spain just won the FIFA World Cup in 2010! That's such a big deal, especially in a country where soccer (or, futball) is a huge part of their culture! Here's a link to a great news article about it. Spain is very proud of their team!

6: Finally, I made it to Rome, Italy! I have been dying to travel there for a long time! I decided to spend 3 days here so I would have some extra time. Italy is bordered by many seas, including the Mediterranean, and also by Austria, France, San Marino, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Pictured under here is the official flag of Italy. | The weather was pretty hot, especially because its summertime and its a predominantly Mediterranean climate. That means that it's hot and dry, especially in the south. My years in Spanish class didn't help me too much because the majority of 58 million people in Italy speak Italian. Italian is actually the official language. In some places, they also speak some German and French | Italy!

7: Religion has a strong hold in Italy. About 90% of the population is Roman Catholic, but there is also a small Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim populations. Rome is beautiful, but there are also many other important cities that I'm sorry I could see, including Venice, Florence, Catania, Verona. One interesting current event about the country is that a lot of the workers are protesting in Rome, demanding worker-rights and democracy. Here's an link to an article about it; There are so many amazing places to visit in Rome, I didn't know where to start! First, I visited the Colosseum . The Colosseum was built in 72 AD and is still a marvelous site today, even though it has fallen to ruins. In the past, this huge amphitheater was used for free games to entertain the public. If you want to know more about this historic site, here's a great link I found about it. Then, I went to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a beautiful ancient Roman temple that has been apart of Rome since 125 AD. And finally, I couldn't end my trip in Italy without seeing the Sistine Chapel. It's located right in the center of Rome in a place called Vatican City. The walls and ceiling were expertly painted by none other than Michelangelo, a brilliant Renaissance painter. All of the paintings were just gorgeous. I loved Rome so much. Although, if I want to come back, all I need is my passport and to make it through customs. | Italy!

8: I'm so excited to make it to the continent of Africa! What better place to stop than for 2 days in Cairo, Egypt? Egypt is in northern Africa and is bordered by Sudan, Libya, Israel, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. It was so hot there! It's a desert climate, so the summers are really hot, although the winters are slightly colder. One of the coolest parts of my time in Cairo was when I went to see the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx, which is right around Cairo. The photo on the bottom right of the next page is the gorgeous picture of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza. If you ever go to Egypt, here's a good site with great information about the tours of the | Egypt | Great Pyramid. In the article, they say you can even walk inside the pyramid! The picture on the left is the Sphinx with the Great Pyramid in the background. I didn't have a lot of trouble communicating with the 80,500,000 people that live there because even though Arabic is the official language, a lot of people know English, French, or both. This is the first country I visited that the biggest religion practiced is Muslim. It made for a pretty big culture shock, but it makes their culture all that more interesting. Muslims take up 90% of the population, but 9% of the Egyptians practice Coptic, and only 1% of the people here are Christian.

9: I spent my time in Cairo, which is also the capital city. Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to some other important cities too, such as Port Said, Al Fayyum, or Luxor. But, if I ever want to come back and visit those really cool cities, I know that all I need is a passport. One current event is Egypt that i personally think is really cool is that Egypt has a wind power master plan that they are launching this year. I find it so cool that other countries around the world are doing their part to go green and help the environment. Here's the link to an article about it. | Another place I was so excited to visit was the Sultan Hassan Mosque. It was built all the way back from 1356-1363. It was made for the Sultan Hassan el-Nasir. It's a great example of amazing Arab Egyptian architecture. On the right there's a picture of this beautiful mosque. | Egypt

10: Saudi Arabia is such a beautiful country! I was so lucky to be able to spend 2 full days there. Saudi Arabia is bordered by the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea and is located north of Yemen. Just like Egypt, it was so hot! Because it is in the middle east, the climate has a lot of temperature extremes and is very dry. The nation is very populous, about 26 million people! And one thing that i found amazing about this country is that, according to the World Fact Book, 100% of the people there are Muslim! How unique! It's probably because Saudi Arabia is the home of two major cities to the Islamic religion; Mecca and Medina. I had a really hard time communicating with people and reading signs because the official language there is Arabic. The English speaking population isn't very big there. | Mecca and Medina might be very important cities, but there are so many other places to visit too. I stayed in Riyadh, the capitol city, but I also could have stayed in Buraydah or Al Jubayl. But, if I ever want to come again, all I need is my passport. One current event I found out about Saudi Arabia is that in the country they are building a new, very modern city that has a westernized feel to it in the middle of the desert right by the Red Sea. This new city is said to be ready in 2030. I found a very interesting article about it; One great place I visited was the Al Douh Park. It was beautiful! It had many fountains, lawns, trees, and it even had a kids game area!The two pictures on the right are of Al Douh Park. Here's a link for more information about this great park; Another place that was so much fun was the Al-Thumama Entertainment Village. It was similar to an amusement park. It's filled with so many games and activities. You can go on bumper cars or play the video games offered. Then, if you get hungry, you can eat traditional Saudi Arabian food. | Saudi

11: Arabia

12: I am so excited to spend 3 days in India! This country is so cool! India is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Burma, an d Bangladesh. It was also very, very crowded. India is the second most populous country in the world with 1.2 billion people! That's a lot of people. And 80% of that population practices Hinduism. This is the first country I've visited that's a majority Hindu. There's also a 13% Muslim population, and a small Christian and Sikh population. There are a lot of different dialects in India. Almost half the population speaks Hindi, but there's also populations that speak Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, and many others. The climate varies throughout the country. In the south, it's a tropical monsoon climate and in the north its a temperate climate. I spent my time in New Delhi, which is also the capitol city, but there are also other important cities in India, such as Mumbai, Nagpur, and Bhopal. It's nice knowing that if I ever want to come back and see these other important cities, I can just hop on a plane with the necessities and a passport. A current event I found about India is that investors are eying inflation in India. Even people across the world have the same problems as us. Here's a link to an article about it; | India

13: One of the places in India that I had the opportunity to see was the Laxminarayan Temple. This temple was built by the Birla family in 1938. It's a beautiful temple with a garden and many fountains. A little piece of a more bleak history of the temple is that Gandhi was assassinated in the temple. There's a picture to the left of the temple. If you ever want to check out this beautiful temple, this website will tell you all you need to know about it; | One other place that I was able to visit was Humayun's Tomb. This tomb was built by Humayun's wife 9 years after his death. This temple was finished in 1565 and paved the way for other great pieces of architecture, such as the Taj Mahal. It was designed by a Persian architect. Here's a picture of the tomb on the right. | India

14: I am so excited to have finally made it to China! I'm so lucky to have been able to spend 3 days there. I've always wanted to travel here. China is surrounded by many different countries including Russia, Mongolia, India, Burma, and many other countries. I spent my time in Beijing, there are so many other important cities I could have gone to, such as Shanghai, Xi'an, Wuhan, and Shenyang. Since the country is so big, the climate is very diverse. It varies from a tropic climate to subarctic. Boy, was Beijing crowded! No wonder why, though, China is the most populous country in the whole world with around 1.3 billion people! And isn't their language so interesting? The official language is Mandarin, but people also speak Yue, Wu, Minbei, Minnan, and many other dialects. I thought that the religions practiced in China was very interesting. Most of China's population is atheist, but there is a small Daoist, Muslim, and Christian population. | China

15: One interesting current event is that China is making big improvements to an all electric car that they're manufacturing and it is probably going to be made available in 2012. Here's a link to the article. | One of the places I visited in Beijing was the Forbidden City, which was the palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties. There's beautiful architecture here. You have to set aside an entire day for this palace because there's so much history about it. Above this text is a picture of the well known palace. I also visited the Simatai Great Wall of China. This part of the wall was a pleasure to see. It was so cool to see one of the wonders of the world. There's so much history there, like how the wall was built to protect the people of China from the Mongols. The picture to the left is of the wall. Here's a link all about the wall.

16: I am so excited to be in South Korea for 3 days! I'm staying in Seoul, which is also it's capitol, but there are many other great cities I could have visited, such as Taejon, Wonju, Yosu, Suwon. I've always wanted to travel here because my mom had lived in South Korea for a year and she's told me so many great things about this country. And just like my mom, all I needed was a passport to get in. South Korea is in eastern Asia and is on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. South Korea is also bordered by the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. In South Korea, it's a temperate climate, and the rainfall is much greater in the summer than it is in the winter. There's also a lot of people who live in Korea, around 49 million. About 25% of these people are Christians, but there's also Buddhist population. About half the population aren't apart of any religion. Almost all of the population speaks Korean, but many people know English or study it in school. A current event in this country is that there is a lot of tension between them and North Korea because North Korea was the reason that one of South Korea's warship sunk earlier this year. Here's a really great analysis of what's going on; | South Korea

17: I also visited the Changdoek Palace. This palace has been around since 1412 and has a beautiful garden apart of it. Here's a link to more information about it; The picture above is of the palace and so is the one on the other page. | South Korea's Flag | One place I visited was the Korean Folk Village. It's a place where they recreate a traditional Korean village. They have people in traditional Korean dress, buildings, and people recreate folk traditions. Here's a picture of it above. | A map of South Korea

18: My last country I visited was Japan, and I saved a great one for last. In my 3 days here, I spent it in Tokyo, which is also their capitol city. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to make it to other important cities, such as Osaka, Sendai, Yokohama, or Hiroshima. Japan is in eastern Asia, east of the Korean Peninsula. It's located between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The climate is tropical in the south and a cool temperate in the north. Japan has a big population at almost 127 million. One interesting fact about their population is that their population size is decreasing. 83% of the people practice Shintoism and 71% of the people practice Buddhism. Doesn't make any sense? Well, a lot of the people in Japan practice both Shintoism and Buddhism. The major language in is Japanese. | Japan

19: One really cool place I was able to visit was the Asakusa Kannon Temple, which was founded in 628. It was made in honor of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. The picture on the left and the picture in the middle is of this temple. Another place I visited was the Tokyo National Museum, which has more than 10,000 pieces of Japanese, Chinese, and Indian art! There's so much to see in this museum, there's 25 galleries! The picture on the right is of this museum. If you want to learn more about the museum and what is in each exhibit, here's a link to a site about it; | A current event in Japan is that in December, there was a magnitude 7.4 earthquake near Japan, which triggered a Tsunami warning for Japan. Unfortunately, nothing terrible happened, but there has been a bad history of earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan because the country is very close to a fault line. Here's a link to the article I read; I loved Japan! And if I ever want to go again, I know that all I need is my passport.

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