My winter tour of 4 major European cities

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

Arya Aliabadi/Staff

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Every winter, my family travels somewhere exotic. We’ve been everywhere from Jamaica to Costa Rica. This year, we decided to go somewhere different – Europe. As a stereotypical Los Angeles native, this winter trip to Europe was equivalent to an arctic expedition.

Our first stop was Paris.

First, we explored Montmartre. We walked up hundreds of stairs climbing to the top of La Basilique du Sacre Coeur. Once we reached the top, we could see all of Paris beneath us. The sweet melody of “La Vie en Rose” filled the air as harpists entertained tourists and natives alike.

Next, we journeyed to the Eiffel Tower to celebrate the new year. On our way, we caught a glimpse of Notre Dame de Paris and the Louvre (both filled to capacity with fervent tourists taking pictures as though their lives depended on it).

5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … HAPPY NEW YEAR! Now that the exciting part was over, getting out of Place du Trocadero was the hard part. There were hundreds of tourists from around the world gathered there to celebrate the new year. But leaving was not an option, not until at least 2 a.m.

Our next stop was Rome.

Who doesn’t love a country filled with pasta, pizza and gelato? We were not the disappointed in the slightest. First, we walked to the Fontana di Trevi and tested our luck by throwing a few euro cents into the behemoth fountain. We then continued down Via del Corso and came upon the Coliseum. The wait time to enter this Roman equivalent to a UFC arena was six hours! As we continued east, we ventured into the Vatican. Basilica di San Pietro was glistening as the sun was setting. We didn’t get to see the pope, but we witnessed our fair share of pope impersonators dressed up to take pictures with excited tourists.

Next, we explored Florence, or as locals call it, Firenze.

Florence greeted us with amazing museums, wonderful food and, most importantly, hundreds of designer stores waiting to demolish our wallets. We went to Le Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze where we saw the one and only David by Michelangelo (it is a lot smaller in person). We then ventured into the Uffizi Gallery that houses the most famous Italian Renaissance artwork in Italy. The works of Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli fill the walls of this national treasure.

Finally, we floated our way through Venice.

As we landed in this Italian beauty, we were in awe when we learned that even the taxis were gondolas (I felt bad for the poor man who had to paddle us and our four large suitcases). This floating paradise was filled with canal after canal.

Contact Arya Aliabadi at [email protected]