The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas


  • Look at all the amazing articles written by our awesome writers!
  • For iUP info, visit the virtual vine
  • Follow us on Instagram @ihootnewspaper
The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas


The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas



My European Adventure
Caeden Conley

Land of The Unknown

This past winter, with the flexibility of iUniversity Prep and virtual learning, I was fortunate enough to travel across five breathtakingly diverse European countries and one city-state. The scattering of extensive culture, history, and art across the continent not only made for an amazing vacation but also for a life-changing academic experience. Over the course of 18 days, I had the opportunity to learn so many different things. From the gladiator pits in the Roman Colosseum to the world-renowned Louvre Museum, the knowledge I obtained in this unknown land has inspired me to share with you both the details of my travel and my newfound enthusiasm for learning more about the surrounding world.


Italy – (Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento, and Venice)

To begin, we started our adventure in the cuisine capital and well-archived streets of Rome, Italy after a grueling eleven-hour flight from Dallas, where I likely accumulated 30 minutes of sleep, therefore causing an immense amount of jet lag in the upcoming days (not fun). In the three days that I spent within the walls of Rome, I had the chance to visit the Trevi Fountain, Roman Colosseum, Spanish Steps, and Roman Forum, where history was rich and food was unsurprisingly spectacular. Not only did we visit Rome, but we also traveled up and down the country to take in the devastating ruins of Pompeii, the lemon filled coastal town of Sorrento, and the Sandolo (thin boats) traversed canals in Venice–all of which offered fresh scenes, beautiful art, and diverse Italian culture. Even though Italy was the first country that I visited in Europe, I can confidently say that it has both the best food and history out of any of the other European countries that I visited over the course of my experience.


The Vatican – (Vatican City)

While on maps it may look like the well-known Vatican City is in Italy, it’s actually a city-state surrounded by Rome. Although I entered the Vatican with no expectations whatsoever, I was blown away by its museums, galleries, and basilica which contained some of the most outstanding artistic talent and crafted beauty that I’ve ever seen in my life. The works of Michelangelo and the many other artists that contributed to the paintings, ceilings, and tapestries, created the most breathtaking fine arts exhibit in the entire world. Alongside the art, the architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square was incredible. If you are someone who loves art, there is no other place I’d recommend more than within the alluring walls of Vatican City.


Austria – (Vienna and Mauthausen)

After our 4 days within Italian borders, it was time to move on to our next part of the journey in Austria. So, we hopped on a nine hour train ride to the neat and intellectual city of Vienna. Since it was nearly Christmas time, we visited their famous Christmas markets, listened to orchestrated holiday ensembles, and tried various different cultural foods such as the wiener schnitzel and frankfurter. Our trip in Austria also included the most impactful historical site that I’ve ever encountered. On our third day in Austria, we took a train to Mauthausen where one of the most notorious concentration camps from World War IIwas located. While I won’t go into much detail on the matter, I can say that it is a trip that everyone should make in their lifetime. All in all, Austria provided a powerful history and the most well-kept and clean city (Vienna) over our entire trip across the continent.


Germany – (Munich)

Next up on our list of traveling was a 6 hour train ride to Germany where we eventually arrived in the charming city of Munich. Much like Austria, which is very similar to Germany, Munich was very neat and we toured the Christmas markets, churches, ensemble halls, and restaurants around the city. The most interesting portion of our trip in Munich was the “Third Reich Tour,” where we got to walk the streets with a guide and explore both the effects of World War II and the historical spots in Munich. Similarly to what I said for Austria, Germany has a very orderly way of things and some of the nicest people we encountered over the 18 days in Europe.


France – (Paris)

Soon after our tour around Munich, we had to hop on a 6 hour train ride to Paris, France. The city known as the capital of art, fashion, and architecture did not disappoint. While the food in France was not to my preference, the landmarks were extremely impressive. Over the 4 days I spent in Paris, I was lucky enough to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Napoleon’s Tomb, Hotel de la Marine, Arch de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, and Louvre Museum. Alongside all of this history, I also traveled a couple miles out of this city to Disneyland Paris, which was a good change of pace from all of the history (both good and bad) that I’d been learning. Paris offered me the chance to see famous art pieces like the Mona Lisa and breathtaking views from the second deck of the Eiffel Tower, undoubtedly leaving me to believe that it has some of the best inner city views in Europe.


United Kingdom – (London)

Last, but not least, I boarded a 2 hour bullet train from Paris to London. After more than two weeks in non-English speaking countries, in London it felt like I had to re-learn back and forth dialogue in English. Nevertheless, my time in the United Kingdom was great. I was able to visit Kensington Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Tower Hill, Parliamentary, and the Apollo Victoria Theatre where I watched the theater show, Wicked. Fortunately for all we did in our confined time, London has some of the best public transportation out of the European countries that we visited. We never had a problem getting around and the quick transportation and walkability gave us the chance to visit many of our desired destinations. Sadly, after 3 amazing days, we took our flight from London Heathrow International Airport back to DFW, marking an end to an amazing trip across Europe.


Be Vulnerable to Exploration

In the end, the exposure to culture, art, music, history, and diversity lead to an amazing vacation and academic journey. Over the course of 18 days, I had the chance to go back in time and experience anything from World War II to Napoleon’s reign in France. This opportunity not only inspired me to be more explorative within my travels, but it taught me that I should always be seeking the expansion of my knowledge, even when outside of a school environment. I hope that you, as iUniversity Prep students, take this message of information seeking into both the classrooms at iUP and your everyday life from here on out. What is unknown is meant to be explored, be vulnerable.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Caeden Conley
Caeden Conley, Community Section Editor

Comments (0)

iHoot intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our community agreements and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. iHoot does not allow anonymous comments, and iHoot requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All iHoot Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *