Whether their travels took them as close by as a local beach or as far away as Bali, Lowcountry students agree on one thing: Summer vacation 2007 was fantastic! We asked students to submit brief stories, 200 words or less, about their summer travels: where they went, what they learned and the favorite things they did. More than two dozen responded, sharing not only their memories, but some fun photographs, too. Settle back in your armchair and get ready for a whirlwind world tour, courtesy of our young foreign (and domestic) correspondents.

------------------------------------------

Dolphins and Ice Cream

My name is Bradley Peterson and my brother is Brett. I go to Pinckney Elementary and my brother goes to Laurel Hill. We went on a cruise with my grandmother, Debbie Bush, to the Bahamas and Mexico. We did a lot of fun things. We went on a submarine 100 feet underwater and saw many colorful fish and we also saw a mermaid. She was cool!!! We swam with dolphins one day and we danced, kissed and rubbed them. Their skin feels like rubber. They are very smart and do many things.

The oceans in the Bahamas and Mexico are so blue and crystal clear. I wish our ocean looked like that.

On the ship, we ate so many ice cream cones, I lost count. It was so much fun!!!!

Also, our grandfather, Bob Harris, took us to the Nickelodeon Hotel in Florida and it was so cool. Our room was so neat with all kind of things to do. We swam in the neat pool the complete time we were there. We also went to Sea World. We had a great summer!!!!!

Bradley Peterson, 9

Mount Pleasant

------------------------------------------

My Fantastic Summer

My name is Cameron Ling. I am 10 years old and live in Moncks Corner. I did lots of fun things this summer like going to equestrian camp and to the beach.

Equestrian camp took place at Camp Lowcountry. Every day we rode horses and did yoga. We did capers (chores). We had 'feet on the bed' time. You had to stay on your bed for 45 minutes before we did afternoon activities like crafts, games and swimming. Peyton Svagerko is my best friend. We went to camp together. She is the funniest and loyalest friend I have ever had.

I went to Garden City and stayed in a beach house. While I was there my family went to the Ripley's Aquarium. We went swimming every day, played Frisbee on the beach, and took walks to collect shells. My dad and I rode go-carts and played at the arcade. When my parents went back to work, I stayed the rest of the week with my aunt. I went to see 'Ratatouille' and played putt-putt. It was a great week.

The best thing about this summer was that I did all of these special things with my family and friends.

Cameron Rachel Ling, 10

Moncks Corner

------------------------------------------

A Visit to My Homeland

We began our journey in the Charleston airport. We traveled 8,000 miles and more than 25 hours. We finally reached our destination, my homeland, India.

My mom and I were very exhausted, tired and sleepy after the long journey, but deep in our minds, we were all jumpy, excited and couldn't wait to reach India. All my family and friends were waiting to see us, and we were eager to see them. I went to stay with all my cousins and my grandparents. It was a time to reconnect.

I visited a few historical places in India. One was a palace in my grandparents' town. The marvelous edifice was decorated with elaborated designs in stone. There was a museum inside the palace. The pictures and the artifacts told me about the kings and queens from the past. The enormous garden was surrounded by massive trees, vast meadows, and in the center were ponds with gorgeous lavender water lilies contrasting the stony palace.

I learned so much about the history of my homeland and will never forget it. I was sad while leaving India but then I thought how grateful I am to live in a wonderful country like America and was happy to be home.

Nandita Karambelkar, 12

Goose Creek

------------------------------------------

The View From the Top

This summer, my family went to Yosemite National Park in California.

We hiked and climbed mountain trails and saw great views, like Half Dome.

It is a huge granite block that cracked and eroded from glaciers thousands of years ago.

Courtenay White, 5

Mount Pleasant

------------------------------------------

Tale of the Towering Tree

This summer, we went to Sequoia National Park in California to see General Sherman. General Sherman is a giant sequoia tree and is the largest living thing on Earth. It's 2,500 years old, 275 feet tall, and over 52,500 square feet in volume. It was really cool!

Haywood White, 9

Mount Pleasant

------------------------------------------

Ambassador to Australia

For my summer vacation I went to the 'Land Down Under' - Australia! I traveled with the People to People Student Ambassador Program. I was there for three weeks and I traveled all along the east coast of the country.

We went to Sydney, Brisbane, the Whitsunday Islands, Mount Isa and other smaller cities, including Boulia. Some highlights from my trip included snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, staying with a family that ran a farm and a bush camp, going inside an iron mine, seeing the Opera House, and I held a koala.

The most amazing experience was living with a home-stay family! I learned about everyday Australians, how they live, work and spend their time. I e-mailed this home-stay family almost every day since my return!

I met many other teens in Australia that are just like me, however, they have an amazing hunger to see America just like I had a hunger to see their country! All they wanted to know about was life in America and how amazing it was. Americans have more similarities than the differences that we perceive.

I will always remember this trip!

Victoria Bachan, 15

Charleston

------------------------------------------

Hello, Dolly

My name is Hannah Quinn Cole. I am 10 years old. I had a fun summer. Part of my summer I spent at PaPa Quinn's house in Awendaw. PaPa, Grandma and I took turns feeding Dolly, a baby deer Grandma rescued because her mommy died. She was sick when we got her but now she is all well and pretty.

Dolly can go in the woods by herself now but she comes home for her bottle and food every day. I love taking care of her. PaPa's dog Quinnie guards Dolly and protects her. Quinnie is a bulldog. My dog Grissley loves to run around the yard with Dolly.

Dolly is a wild animal so we can only keep her with us till she is old enough to take care of herself. Dolly is so pretty. I am sending a picture of her and Quinnie Quinn.

Hannah Q. Cole, 10

Ladson

------------------------------------------

Camps and a Cruise

I had a very fun and educational summer vacation. My first week of my vacation, I went to the Kevin Higgins Football Camp at The Citadel. We worked on all types of football fundamentals that you could think of. It was an explosive start to my summer vacation.

The next week I went to the Bobby Cremins Basketball Camp at the College of Charleston. That week we worked on ball handling, shooting, passing and defensive skills. I enjoyed camp, because I am on my school's team at the Charleston Catholic School.

After a very difficult two weeks, it was time for a little relaxation. My family and I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay, Bahamas. I really enjoyed our tour to Atlantis Aquarium on Paradise Island. When we returned from our cruise we went to Sea World. It was a blast!

When we returned to Charleston, I had yet another adventure. The next two weeks I attended two different sessions at Trident Technical College. The first session was Digital Photography. I even got my picture in The Post and Courier paper, North Charleston Lowcountry section. The second session was Detective Science. I had a terrific summer.

Graham Battle, 10

Charleston

------------------------------------------

Italian Holiday

This summer our family went on a 15-day vacation to Italy! We stayed in a villa in Sorrento that had lemon trees, olive trees and orange trees. We visited Capri, the Amalfi Coast, Positano, Naples, Pompeii and Rome.

The most interesting was Pompeii. This was a city buried by volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. It has been discovered by archaeologists. They preserved pottery, dead bodies and many buildings.

We also rented boats and snorkeled on the Amalfi Coast. We found lots of old tiles in the sea. One day, we took a ferry to the Island of Capri and swam and ate gelato. Our cousins from Rome took us to a restaurant in Naples called Pizza a Metro, where they let you choose all different toppings and bring a one-yard pizza to your table! The pizza was invented in Naples.

The last day we visited Rome and saw the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain. We traveled with our parents, grandparents and our parents' friends. Our grandmother was born in Pescara, Italy, so she helped us communicate with locals. We had a great trip!!!

Parker Vigeant, 12

Savannah Vigeant, 10

Sophia Vigeant, 6

Summerville

------------------------------------------

My Amazing Summer Adventure

My summer vacation destination was beautiful Arizona. We went to the airport and found that our flight was delayed for 2 hours. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we got on the plane. The coolest part about the plane ride was the layover in Atlanta, where I got to meet Jerome 'The Bus' Bettis.

We ended up getting to Arizona at about 2 a.m. their time. The next day we went to Flagstaff, which is about two hours away from Scottsdale, where we stayed. There we walked through their historic downtown. Afterwards we drove to Sedona to see the beautiful, huge and famous red rocks. On day three we had a resort day and got some R&R.

One day we went to this cool old Western town, Rawhide Pass, where we panned for 'gold.' I also rode a burro (donkey) and rode in an old-time carriage. One of my favorite parts of the trip was that we went to an indoor air-conditioned baseball game for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yet the Grand Canyon takes the cake because of its beauty and poise. It was the most amazing sight I had ever beheld. That was my amazing summertime adventure!!!!

Grace Benigni, 11

Charleston

------------------------------------------

Carolinas Sightseeing

Most of my summer vacation was spent right here in Charleston with my family. We spent a lot of time together playing games, telling stories, discussing faith, grief and helping people in need.

My family and I went to the area's water parks and swimming pools a lot. One week I attended Camp Puff 'n Stuff at the College of Charleston campus. It's a terrific camp with fun things to do and we learned a lot about treating our asthma.

We did go to Charlotte to visit Carowinds several times. It was great! We rode regular rides and then went into the new water park section. The wave pool was fantastic.

Best of all I enjoyed jumping on the trampoline and riding bicycles with my sister Breanna, our little buddy Jonathan and our friends.

Jay Haynes, 10

North Charleston

------------------------------------------

European Adventures

We took a European vacation and brought our parents along with us. We visited Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. We flew into Frankfurt, Germany. We visited Heidelberg, Rothenburg and Berlin. We took a bicycle tour of Berlin. We saw the remains of the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust museum and many other sites.

Next stop, Prague, Czech Republic home of the oldest castle in Europe along with many beautiful churches. Next, we went to Salzburg, Austria. We took a salt mine tour that took us 300 meters below the mountain. Then we took the 'Sound of Music' tour and saw the original home of the Von Trapp family.

Next stop, Garmish, where we visited the Neuschwanstein Castle, Dachau Concentration Camp, and took a river rafting adventure through the Bavarian Alps. Next we went to Munich to the famous HofbrÀuhaus and feasted on pork knuckles and pretzels. Final stop, Stuttgart where we visited family friends and took a day trip to Triberg, located in the Black Forest, where our parents bought a cuckoo clock.

We learned how important family trips are and how much fun our parents are to travel with.

Taylor Foore, 14

Justin Foore, 12

Hanahan

------------------------------------------

Aussie Wildlife Adventures

This summer I got to go to 'The Land Down Under,' Australia. On June 23 my journey began.

After 24 hours in a plane for the first time in my life, we finally landed.

We first went to a behind-the-scenes tour in the Sydney Opera House. ... We did lots of other exciting things that week also! Things such as visiting St. Anthony's School and making tons of new Aussie friends, holding a croc at Hartley's Crocodile Adventure, eating Australian style foods, like meat pie and kangaroo, seeing a frozen giant squid from deep under the ocean at Underwater World, going to the Blue Mountains and seeing the Three Sisters mountain formation after riding the steepest mine rail in the world, holding a baby koala at the animal sanctuary, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, and many other amazing things while we were there.

But after 12 days in a foreign country with only a few phone calls as communication with our family, we were very happy when our last plane landed.

Katie Buckler, 11

Ruffin

------------------------------------------

Wildlife and Wild Rides

This vacation, we went to Marblehead, Ohio, to visit my Mom's family. We went to the African Wildlife Safari Park. It was so much fun! You stay in your car and drive through the safari. Animals stick their heads right in your window. We were face to face with giraffes, buffaloes, alpaca, elk, llama and watusi (an African longhorn). We could feed and touch them. It was a really neat experience! I learned that buffalo LOVE carrots and won't get their head out of the car if you have them.

We also went to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It had real dinosaur fossils, artifacts, interesting rocks and minerals, and the real preserved Balto, the dog that saved the kids of Nome, Alaska. That night, we watched the movie 'Night at the Museum' with our cousins. We also went to Cedar Point, an amusement park with 17 roller coasters! I rode six of them. I learned that I LOVE roller coasters!

It was great to visit with family, go boating, stay up late, and have relays and water-gun fights with my cousins. I can't wait to go again next year!

Morgan Hunt, 9

Summerville

------------------------------------------

The Best Summer Vacation Ever

My summer vacation was the best I've ever had. I went to the Gifted and Talented summer program. When the program was over my family and I went to Baltimore, Md., for a wedding. We stayed in Baltimore, Md., for a week.

After we got home from Baltimore, Md., we played it cool, no trips or anything for a couple of days. Then we went to Chuck E. Cheese for some family fun. After a week or two we went to Frankie's Fun Park.

I went to the G.T. summer program for most of the summer. We had technology, etiquette, drama and language arts classes. Our teachers gave us a wonderful time at G.T. We did projects, watched movies, and got a special treat almost every Thursday.

After the G.T. summer program we went to Baltimore, Md., for a wedding. On the day of the wedding we rode in a limo. I was the Bible holder and my brother was the town crier. After the wedding we went to the reception area. After the wedding we went bowling for some family fun. After that day we left Baltimore, Md.

I really enjoyed my summer.

James Shaquille Carraway, 11

Kingstree

------------------------------------------

Life-Changing Summer

This summer was unlike any other I had experienced before. In fact, it was life-changing!

I, along with about 60 members from East Cooper Baptist Church, traveled 30 hours around the world to Chiang Mai, Thailand. There, we gathered with roughly 700 missionaries from South Asia. Our senior pastor, along with our worship team, led them in Bible studies, while the remainder of our group hosted Vacation Bible School for the missionaries' children. I volunteered for the 4-year-olds and spent two weeks teaching them through music, crafts, recreation, Bible stories, swimming and, most of all, showing them the love of Christ.

Following our nine-hour days with the children, our group explored beautiful Chiang Mai by dining in its open-air markets, shopping in the Night Bazaar, and touring the city through riverboat tours and elephant rides.

I could never have imagined a more wonderful trip. I was truly blessed, and in an often self-centered culture, I was reminded of the joys and blessings that result from serving others.

Caroline Graham, 16

Mount Pleasant

------------------------------------------

Visitor from New York

I am spending my summer vacation in Walterboro with my daddy, Grandma Jettie, Granddaddy Robbie, Uncle Fred, Cousin Rocky and the rest of my family and friends. My Cousin Rocky has a big pool and I get in and splash around in it. My Grandma Jettie and Granddaddy Robbie bought me a four-wheeler and I am learning how to ride it. I have a bicycle, too.

We are getting ready to go to South of the Border and the water world in Charleston and maybe to the beach in Edisto.

I go to church every Sunday and I have been to a choir concert in Augusta, Ga., and a senior warden retirement party. A man comes to help grandma in the yard every week with the flowers and I help him. I go shopping with my Grandma and Cousin Rocky a lot.

I am 7 years old and I spend all my summers in South Carolina. I am from New York. I am having a good time.

Jettie Alexandra Brown, 7

New York

------------------------------------------

An American Girl in New York

I went to New York City and I went to the American Girl doll place. In Kiawah, I played tennis.

Taylor Weber, 6

Kiawah Island

------------------------------------------

On a Mission to Moldova

This summer, my parents and I, along with a team from East Cooper Baptist Church, traveled to Moldova, a small former Soviet Union country that borders Ukraine and Romania. After long flights, our team arrived with our luggage containing the supplies for a children's vacation Bible school we would be directing. Getting through customs wasn't a problem but was still nerve-racking because their government is very suspect of Americans.

Monday through Friday, our team and the Titus team, a group of nationals, prepared dramas, meals, crafts, recreation and English lessons for all 85 of the precious 5- to 12-year-olds. The language barrier was difficult and the extreme weather, averaging 104 degrees daily, was miserable.

Our energy was very low at times, but the Lord provided by renewing our spirits and giving us the strength to finish camp and make a difference. Seeing the children's sincere happiness on the last day made it all worth it.

Regardless of everything Satan tried to throw at us, there wasn't anything he could do because these kids were beaming with the love of God. I learned that asking God for strength when you are in need can get you through ANYTHING.

Morgan Tennyson, 15

Mount Pleasant

------------------------------------------

Animal Adventures

For my vacation I went to Tennessee and Kentucky with my two brothers. We stayed at one of my brother's godmother's house. It is a farm. She raises 11 dogs and about 50 goats. One of the goats thinks he is a dog because he was raised in the house because he was sick when he was a 'kid.'

After that I went to Kentucky. On the first night we roasted marshmallows and caught fireflies. Also that night we went to an elk and bison preserve. We saw birds of prey and bald eagles at the nature center. We learned that the tallest bald eagle nest was 12 feet tall! We stayed in a cabin at a place called Land Between the Lakes. I had a fun time.

Kathleen Sherman, 8

Mount Pleasant

------------------------------------------

From Coast to Coast

The first thing I did this summer was to fly to San Diego to visit my 23 cousins. The reason I went there was to be a flower girl in my uncle's wedding. While I was there my cousins taught me how to surf in La Jolla. Going to the beach is my favorite thing to do in California.

After San Diego I went to Camp Gravatt in Aiken. Camp Gravatt is so much fun. It is a weeklong sleep-away camp. Three things you get to do are sleep in tents, swim in the lake and have a talent show. When I'm older I hope I can be a counselor at Camp Gravatt.

Kennedy Petit, 9

Daniel Island

------------------------------------------

Bali High

This summer I went to Bali, Indonesia, with my mom on a business trip. When we got off the plane, we got our visas for a seven-day stay. Incense, the little candlesticks that you burn so everything smells good, that's one of the first things you would notice. There were little baskets woven with grass that held food (offerings) for the Hindu gods.

The next day we got on the bike trail and started our adventure. As we passed people riding motorcycles with 10 gallons of water strapped to each side of the bike, you can't help but think, 'Imagine that being in America.'

The next couple of days we ventured around to the Third World shops on the side of the streets, went to some of the temples and visited Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot was, in the day, surrounded by sea, but about 6 o'clock all the water goes back 1 or 2 miles and leaves mud in its place. Tanah Lot is a temple used by the Hindu. They bring offerings to the temple in big grass woven hats on their heads.

I had a fun, cool experience in Bali, and it is a place I would want to go back to one day.

Kendall Phelps-Polirer, 11

Charleston

------------------------------------------

Fun Ways to Learn

Summer of 2007 gave me many experiences to remember and learn from.

In June when my summer began I started my first job: Waffle House on Aviation! I didn't have to leave the city to learn new things, but having this first job has made me learn how to be a harder worker!

When the time hit July, I had to travel to the University of Maryland for a pre-college summer program (Young Scholars Program) where I took a college class for three weeks. The class I took was American Studies 207 and I learned all about different cultures that deal with the contemporary times!

Along with learning all the new material that was in my class, I learned about how people from different regions of the United States are different, such as 'y'all' being a Southern word!

Finally, I learned more about what it is like to be a college student because of the residential life I endured as I made friends from fellow high school students!

Jessica Lemacks, 17

North Charleston

------------------------------------------

Dragon Boating in Taiwan

Boy, was I surprised when my mom asked me, 'Hey, would you like to go to Taiwan?' She said it so casually that I thought she was joking. Yet, a month later, we were on China Air flying to Taiwan with the rest of the Dragon Boat Charleston team!

At Taipei Airport, our team met up with the DC Dragons, a dragon boat team from Washington, D.C. They had invited members from our team to compete in the Dragon Boat Festival in Tainan. The festival was to honor the deceased poet Qu Yuan, who drowned in the river.

On the way to Tainan, which is a long way south of Taipei, we visited a spa with natural volcanic hot springs and mud baths. We also ate a variety of new foods, including milkfish, pig intestine (ew), steak with mango and exotic fruits.

At the festival, our team won the international division by sheer coordination. After the festival, once we were back in Taipei, Mom, Joy and I stayed with our friend, Sally. We went to a few night markets and went to the observation deck of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper in the world. Taiwan was truly wonderful.

Graeme Rock, 15

Charleston