By Cassandra Federico, Revelstoke Secondary School
11 RSS students, along with 4 teachers, and parents embarked on an exciting trip across Europe on spring break. With stops in London, Paris, Florence, and Rome, we certainly had a memorable 10 days.
After a long flight to London, we arrived at Heathrow Airport and, were greeted by our tour guide, as well as the other group of students from the Kelowna Christian School, whom we would spend the next 10 days touring Europe with.
We wasted no time before commencing the tour. It began with a beautiful walk down the Thames River. It continued to Trafalgar Square. We went on to see Piccadilly Circus, and Covent Garden, before stopping to enjoy a delicious fish and chips dinner.
After an early wake up call, we started the second part of our London tour. The day began with a bus tour, with a local tour guide. The bus made a few quick stops at the major landmarks, such as the Tower Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, before letting us off for our walking tour at Westminster Abbey. From there, we walked to Buckingham Palace, where there was a parade going on. We then continued past the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. Our final stop was at the British Museum. We were given three hours in the museum, to explore its fascinating exhibits, before heading off for dinner. Later that night, some of the students, and teachers went out to some fun night markets before heading back to the hotel.
The next morning, we departed from London, and took the Eurostar Chunnel crossing into Paris. Upon our late afternoon arrival, we were taken on a walking tour down the Seine River, and around the Ile de la Cité, and Ile St. A louis. Later that evening we were given free time to explore Paris’ nightlife.
Day two in Paris was packed with a ton of activities. It started with a bus tour, with a Parisian guide. We were given the opportunity to stop in front of the Eiffel Tower to take photos, and get an up close view of the amazing piece of architecture. The bus took us past the Arc de Triomphe, the Paris Opera House, and many more famous landmarks, before dropping us off at Versailles. There, we got an in depth look at the incredible palace, as well as its fascinating history.
After dinner that evening, our activity was a night boat cruise, down the Seine River. The cruise ended right beside the Eiffel Tower; so most of the group took the opportunity to go up the tower, before returning to the hotel. This proved to be one of the highlights of the trip, as the views from the top were absolutely stunning.
Our last day in Paris, before moving on to Italy, started with a visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The next stop was the Louvre museum. We were given three hours there. In this time, we saw some of the most famous paintings, and sculptures in history, including the Mona Lisa. From the Louvre, we were taken to the train station, and boarded an overnight train to Milan.
The following morning, a bus awaited us at the train station in Milan, to take us to Florence. Once we arrived, we were greeted by an Italian tour guide, and taken on a walking tour of the city. The tour took us to the Statue of David, the Duomo, Giotto’s Bell Tower, and many more of the city’s finest spots.
The final stop on the tour was a leather shop, where we were given a leather demonstration, before being sent off for a few hours of free time. The group met back up, and went out for an outstanding pizza dinner.
Florence was only a short portion of the tour, as we departed the next day for Rome. On the way, we stopped in Assisi for a quick visit to the St. Francis of Assisi Basilica. We arrived in Rome later that evening, and were treated to a pasta dinner.
Our first full day in Rome was the most jam-packed, but also one of the most memorable days of the trip. It started at the Vatican, where we saw the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Square, and Basilica. The next stop was at the Colloseum. From there, we went to the Roman Forum, before heading on to the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately, the fountain has recently undergone vandalism, but it was still an exciting thing to see.
The tour continued to the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps, before ending in the Piazza Navona.
Our final day in Rome was also the last day of the trip. After the exhausting tour the previous day, it was appropriate that it was followed by a full day of free time. Most of the Revelstoke students chose to return to the Vatican, with hopes to catch a mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
The lineups were massive to get into the church. After a three hour wait in the pouring rain, we got in, and caught the end of the mass. We then got to see Pope Francis give a reading in St. Peter’s Square. After the Vatican, the group enjoyed some laid back shopping time for the remainder of the afternoon.
Early the following morning, we departed the hotel for the airport, and said our goodbyes to the other group of students, and tour guide, before boarding our flight.
All in all, it was an incredible experience that all the students were fortunate to be apart of and will never forget.