Nine St. Michael’s School students plus parent and teacher chaperones took on Europe for what was a memorable education trip over the Easter break.
Stops included Italy,Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
The students learned a wealth of knowledge from standing at Rome’s Colosseum and the basilica in Vatican City to the Austrian countryside and learning about the Lion monument at Lurcerne as well as the Chapel Bridge in Switzerland. Some of the students may not forget what they learned at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site in Germany.
Jaxon Pahl enjoyed the early stages of the trip in Italy.
“I really enjoyed the different cultures and how unique it was,” said Pahl.
“What I thought was really neat was how old the buildings were in Italy and (how they) are still standing after all these years. My favourite place was Venice and experiencing the gondola ride. Venice was very beautiful and it was like nothing I have ever experienced before. The beautiful streets of water and the fascinating museum left an impact.”
Wade Mastel felt Italy’s capital city, Rome, left a lasting impression on him to the point of hopefully returning one day.
Mastel says the “City of Rome is breathtaking.”
“As we toured around the Colosseum we learned about its origin,” said Mastel.
“We learned about the gladiators that fought there and how they would rise to glory.”
The next stop was the Forum which was only a stone’s throw from the Colosseum and he learned that the Forum was the center of ancient Rome where all the trading happened in that location.
“It was also home to the ancient civil courts as well as some Pagan Shrines, which were later converted into Catholic churches and chapels, he said.
While Benjamin Gouw admired Rome’s history with its hub of trade and civilization, it was when the group hit the mountainous country of Switzerland that made the most impact on him.
“The thing that impacted me the most was in Switzerland where the Lowendenkmal (Lion) monument was built to honour the Swiss guards that died defending the Tuileries in 1792” he said.
“(It was) because of the amount of guards that died and that they were doing their jobs honourably.”
Lucerne, Switzerland caught the eye of Meredith Van Roessel because of not only the hotel overlooking Lake Lucerne, but for also other well known landmarks.
“We visited the Chapel Bridge, one of Europe’s oldest wooden bridges,” said Van Roessel.
A bit of Swiss culture was experienced at the end of the trip with an authentic Swiss show that involved yodeling, dancing, audience participation and of course cheese fondue, she said.
The “Lion Monument” at the east end of the medieval town also was a highlight of Van Roessel’s because of the history of how the mercenary soldiers died serving for the French King Louis XVI during the French Revolution.
Olivia Van Tryp thought the social aspect, especially in Venice, was an invaluable experience to the trip because she was able to be together with some friends.
“In Venice, we all went to arcade together and some rode the mechanical bull,” said Olyvia.
“That same night the girls did face masks in our hotel room before we all got together to play cards. Even the bus trips were fun when we travelled between countries. The people really did make the trip so great. I would go again in a heartbeat.”
She tasted some of the best gelato in Rome, she added.
Alexa Kielstra enjoyed the deep history of Lucerne and some of the sites including the Alps, the Chapel Bridge , Rhine Falls in Schaffhausen and the Chateau de Chillon near Montreux.
One aspect of the experience of that she noted was the Chapel Bridge’s history, which reaches across the Reuss River and connects the two-sides of Lucerne. The tower that stands in the middle of bridge is 30 years older than the bridge itself and it initially served as a prison, she added.
Kielstra says the hangings from the roof inside the bridge depict all of Lucerne’s greatest legends.
“In 1993, the bridge caught fire, destroying many of the paintings. Out of the total 147 paintings, 77 paintings were completely saved, while the remaining (paintings) were either completely destroyed or show signs of fire,” she said.
Europe is known for its trendy vehicle lines and for Karsten Van Tryp the BMW headquarters in Munich intrigued her interest in the trip.
“My favourite was the BMW headquarters,” said Karsten.
“ I liked looking at the new models coming out, being able to sit inside the cars to look at the dials, gauges and interior features and seeing how their manufacturing makes them suitable to drive on the autobahn at higher speeds.”
“Travelling to Europe during Easter break was an unforgettable experience and truly life changing,” said Kyle Crooymans.
“I learned so much about myself and I acquired multiple lifelong skills. What I enjoyed most about the trip was learning about all the different cultures, getting to see all the historical buildings, spending time with some of my closest friends and eating gelato in Italy.”
Crooymans had the privilege of meeting Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield on the plane ride back.
Lauren Lodders spoke about her Munich experience.
“I enjoyed the time in we spent in Germany and the new culture we learned about,” said Lodders.
“We learned the history of all the sites we visited and gained a better understanding of things, such as concentrations.”