Last April, 27 Abington High School students and four chaperones traveled to Europe. I was fortunate to be part of the group. While there, we explored London, Paris, Lucerne (Switzerland) and Munich. In these breathtaking cities, we were exposed to their diverse history and culture.
London and Paris
The first city we visited was London. I enjoyed exploring London because it made what we’ve learned in our history classes come alive. There were streets and tube stations named after famous people and battles, such as Victoria Station and Trafalgar Square. One of my favorite experiences was riding on the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel that provides an amazing view of the city. Seeing Big Ben and the Thames River from so high up was an experience that I will never forget. London has a multitude of beautiful buildings – such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace – that are so impressive to see in person. We even managed to time our visit to the palace right so that we could see the Changing of the Guard. Next, we traveled through the Channel Tunnel by train to Paris. Paris is a beautiful city with grand old buildings, and a “foodies” paradise. The outdoor cafes give visitors a great place to sit and observe everyday life. Cappuccinos, chocolate croissants, and crepes are just some of the wonderful foods and beverages to savor. My favorite experience in Paris was a visit to Montmartre, which is a large hill that overlooks the city. The beautiful white-domed Basilica of the Sacre Coeur is at the summit. Montmartre provides an amazing view of the city. Other highlights were a river cruise down the Seine, which gave us an opportunity to enjoy views of Paris at night, and a visit to the Louvre.
We traveled to Lucerne via a long bus ride that took us through the beautiful countryside of France and into the beautiful mountains and hills of Switzerland. While London and Paris were exciting, Lucerne was my favorite destination. It was nice to leave the hubbub of the cities and experience the breathtaking landscapes of Switzerland. The highlight of our visit to Lucerne was an excursion to Mount Pilatus, which is over 6,000 feet tall. We travelled via cable car to the top of the mountain, which was very enjoyable for those who were not afraid of heights. From the top of the mountain, we had a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and the lakes below. I would have loved to have stayed on top of Mount Pilatus all day because it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Lucerne is a peaceful, serene city with beautiful old buildings. Switzerland, like France, also has great food. It goes without saying that purchasing large quantities of Swiss chocolates is a must.
Our final destination was Munich, which had the most modern buildings of the cities we visited. Much of the city was leveled by bombing during World War II. Munich looked very much like the cities at home. The most moving part of our trip was a visit to the nearby Dachau concentration camp. The camp has been turned into a memorial with some of the original buildings still intact. We have been studying the Holocaust for many years in school and to actually visit a camp where so many thousands of people were murdered was a sobering, but worthwhile experience.
Everyone who was lucky enough to be able to travel to Europe was grateful for this opportunity. Our chaperones worked hard to make this trip such a great success. I will always treasure the memories of my experiences abroad, and I hope that this opportunity will be available to AHS students in the years to come.
Chaperons – Ms. Daisy, Mr. Holzman, Ms. Cynthia Louko, Ms. Laura Louko and Mr. Serino
Students – Christina Antonetti, Molly Atkinson, Matthew Burbine, Matthew Curran, Victoria Chiocchio, Victoria Curtin, Bryan Danahy, Brianna Donovan, Molly Ferguson, Meghan Golden, Sydney Hamilton, Taylor Johnson, Colleen Kearns, Megan Kelly, Greg Killian, James Landers, Sam Malafronte, Olivia Maly, Taylor Marston, Ashley McCabe, Jill McKeon, Megan Meehan, Lindsey Minchello, Michelle Minchello and Ali Phair.