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Building Europe, Linking Lives A child’s journey around Europe

Introduction Dear Reader, You are invited to join Maria, on her amazing adventure around Europe. You will read all about her incredible experiences in Sicily, Spain, the United Kingdom and Denmark. She hopes to get to see different things in the different countries and at the same time experience some of the local culture and meet some of the local people.We hope you enjoy reading this story as much as Maria enjoys visiting these fantastic countries!


Maria goes to Sicily Hello, boys and girls! My name is Maria and I am at the beginning of a wonderful journey around Europe! My journey starts in Syracusa, Sicily. I am here to visit the Greek Theatre and admire this ancient landmark that is famous all over the world! Listen what I’ve found out‌


The Greek theatre was built in the 5th Century B.C. and it stands on the mountain of Teminiti. This Greek Theatre is the greatest example of Greek Theatre in Europe. It has the distinction of being almost entirely excavated in the rock. In addition to the plays and theatre performances, as it was customary for the ancient Greeks, the theatre was also used for meetings and celebrations.

I look at the theatre closely and can still see the three parts: the koilon (or auditorium), orchestra and stage. Koilon: is semicircular and it is crossed by a corridor where were engraved names of gods and rulers; the Orchestra is the semicircular space at the foot of the auditorium where the chorus danced and sang; the scene is the wide open space where there was the stage building. 3

The theatre has been through so many changes over the centuries to be adapted to the different need,

not least the gladiatorial games, typical Roman shows. I start to imagine all that has happened

here over so many years‌

Greek theatres were usually built on a high position to offer beautiful views, and from the theatre of Siracusa you can admire the port and the island of Ortigia. I think this monument is extraordinary, as it is surrounded by greenery and the

scenic sea in the background. 4

If given the chance I would remain here to enjoy its beauty for days, I have loved being here is Sicily; I have enjoyed the friendliness and happiness of the people who live here. It will always make me smile when I remember the sunshine, the music and the dancing. Tomorrow I will travel to Spain, so for now I must make the journey to Palermo airport and from there my journey will continue‌


Maria goes to Spain I have arrived at Malaga airport, where a magnificent sun and warm temperatures

welcomed me to the Costa del Sol! I found the bus stop and caught a bus to Granada to visit the Alhambra. It was a short trip,

about an hour and fifteen minutes. Even though it was really hot outside, the air conditioning kept me cool.

During the journey I was fascinated by the landscape. The views were filled with olive trees, olive trees and more olive trees! 6

When I arrived at Granada, it was easy to get to the Alhambra and I saw that it was very beautiful. A guide explained that the Muslims built it in the year 1239. I visited many parts of the Alhambra, walking slowly so I could see everything. My mouth dropped opened when I saw the Courtyard of the Lions, with the

fountain in the middle. It was surrounded by people taking pictures of it. My friends had told me that the courtyard and the fountain were beautiful, but I had never imagined that they would be that beautiful!


I spent many hours walking in the gardens. My favourite was the Garden of

Lindaraxa, a Muslim princess. In the centre, there was a pond and a window with a view over the beautiful “Generalife� gardens. I continued to walk around La Alhambra and completely lost track of time. I went to the Abencerrajes Hall, with a dome that was a masterpiece of Muslim artwork. It was such a surprise to see how many rooms there were in La Alhambra, and every single time I

entered a room I remained shocked with its beauty. 8

It seemed like every room I went in was more beautiful than the one before it. My favourite room was the King's room, which had dazzling white marble. It was the bedroom where the king slept and it was full of arches. When I got the bus back to Malaga, I thought that I would never find anything so beautiful during my journey, but I didn't realise how many more amazing places I still had to visit. I felt happy and fortunate to have visited such a magical place. 9

In Malaga it was easy to buy a ticket

to go to England, because the flights from the Costa del Sol to British cities were very popular. Also the

ticket was cheap, which meant that I would have plenty of spending money in England!

As I boarded the plane to the United Kingdom, I was both nervous and hopeful. I wondered what new

adventures I had left to enjoy and how many more amazing buildings I would visit‌ 10

Maria goes to the United Kingdom I vividly remember when I arrived in the UK. I was so excited about seeing my friend Brandon again and his lovely family. They were meeting me at Birmingham Airport so I wouldn’t get lost! I wondered if they would have changed from when we last met on holiday. I pushed through the double doors of the arrival lounge and scanned the sea of faces until I saw Brandon. We chatted excitedly in the car, catching up on the news since we’d last spoken. The English countryside flashed past in a blur. I told them about all

of the exciting things I had seen in Sicily and Spain.


When we arrived at the house we all had an early night; tomorrow Brandon was taking me into his school to see his year group’s assembly at St. Paul’s Church… I couldn’t wait! It was the morning. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I frantically got dressed and ate my breakfast of toast with a lovely cup of English tea. When I got to St. Paul’s, everybody was wearing either a yellow or black uniform, as a result I felt like the odd one out. Some of Brandon’s friends came over to meet me; they introduced themselves as Tom, Rhiane and Chloe, after chatting for a few minutes I felt like I’d known them forever. 12

At 9.30 am we walked across the road to St. Paul’s Church, my heart was pounding like a drum with excitement! Bewildered by the towering, dated church, I ambled up to the building doors and into the tremendous hall; my mouth wide open with astonishment. A seat was reserved just for me on the balcony; I took it gladly. Whilst I was waiting for the assembly to start, I looked around at the stunning stained glass windows and magnificent altar. The huge wooden cross reminded me about God’s presence in this special place. There were beautiful pictures on show; I couldn’t stop looking at them in amazement. 13

After a short while, the show began. Brandon and his classmates jumped to their feet with much enthusiasm and began to dance. They were dancing the Jitterbug, a dance that was very popular during World War Two. All of the children were dancing extremely fast and were in good rhythm with the music. I was very impressed as the dance steps looked very difficult. When the dancing had finished, we watched some short films which the children had made. They were the type of films shown during the war to boost morale and help win the war. The acting was very professional and the children took their roles very seriously. Some of them were very funny and had everyone laughing. 14

The assembly then took a serious turn when some of the children read out poems they’d written about being in an air raid, I was nearly in tears as they were very emotional.

Finally, in a flash, all the children were on their feet singing. I could tell the children enjoyed singing them because of the smiles on their faces. It was a fabulous assembly, I thoroughly enjoyed it and so did the rest of the

audience judging by the deafening applause. I really enjoyed the rest of my day at St. Paul’s. Then I was given the exciting news that the next day I was invited to join the school choir at a

concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London – how exciting! I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to go to the capital city of England, London! I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like.


The next day, we climbed excitedly onto the large, double-decker coach for our lengthy journey. We filled the time on the motorway laughing and joking with each other and singing songs, a few of which I actually knew! Every hour a new city passed. After travelling for what seemed like an eternity we finally arrived at the Royal Albert Hall! As we stepped out of the coach, we joined the huge crowd of excited people waiting to enter. At first all I could see was a golden dome lit up with what seemed like a thousand twinkling stars, with grand steps leading up to it.


Once I was seated in my plush, red velvet seat, my eyes darted from one grand sight to another. The hall was enormous and very impressive to look at. All around the sides were lavish boxes with golden pillars, the fronts richly decorated with patterns, for those who wanted extra special seats. In front of me the stage was lit up like the night sky and spot lights as bright as the sun dazzled the performers. 17

The show was breathtaking with choirs from all over the country. There was a mixture of young children and older teenagers singing. Also, some talented children were playing a variety of musical instruments including guitars, steel pans and many more. The sound was sensational, filling every corner of the immense building like a river flowing into every crevice. Unfortunately the show had to end and it was time to go home and leave the magnificent building behind.

On the way home, dark shapes of the night flashed before me lulling me to sleep. I needed plenty of rest, as tomorrow I was leaving for Denmark. I wondered what adventures awaited me there‌.


Building Europe Linking Lives (part 1)  

Building Europe Linking Lives (part 1)

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