England, France, Italy stops on tour for MCS, RCS students
Twenty-six students, teachers and chaperones from Margaretville and Roxbury recently returned from a 12-day adventure that saw them visit three countries including the cities of London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Sorrento and the Island of Capri.
The group departed on July 4 and hit the ground running shortly after landing in London. They started their adventure with a walking tour of London, visiting Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden.
As an added bonus, the travelers happened to be visiting when the Tour de France was scheduled to come to London and they saw interviews being conducted on big screens in Trafalgar Square.
On the second day in London, the entire group took a bus tour of the city with a local guide visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, and they were able to witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Later that afternoon part of the group visited Windsor Castle and got to pose with the famous Beefeaters, while others investigated the city using the “tube” to visit the Tate Modern museum and Piccadilly Circus. Later that night many group members went up in the London Eye, the Gondola-style millennium Ferris wheel.
“The vantage point provided was an amazing view from up there where we were lucky to have a rainbow visible during most of our ride. It felt magical,” explained Margaretville math teacher Beth Tanzer, the trip’s primary organizer.
Up next, the group took the high-speed Eurostar under the English Channel and spent the next two days in Paris. They took a morning bus tour of the city and visited the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, shopped along the Champs-Elysees and passed through the Place de la Concorde where the guillotine was set up during the French revolution.
Later, many members of the group visited the Lavish Palace of Versailles and strolled through the historical Hall of Mirrors. Others went exploring the city on foot and climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe (276 steps up) and walked down Champs-Elysees to the Louvre and took an open motorbike taxi to Notre Dame’s shopping area.
The next day, the travelers spent time in the Louvre and inside the elegant Notre Dame Cathedral. While walking to the Latin Quarter and visiting a World War I memorial they saw many jets flying low overhead, and they seemed to be escorting several military planes.
“It was chilling considering the memorial we were viewing,” Mrs. Tanzer commented.
In the evening, the group took a boat ride along the Seine River from where they saw the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle.
“This was definitely a highlight for our students. Partly because it was so peaceful and beautiful, but also I think that there were other foreign students on the boat who were friendly. We also met Roberto, a resident of Sorrento, Italy who dazzled us with his ability to fluently speak five languages!” Mrs. Tanzer recalled.
The rest of the journey was spent visiting several cities in Italy — each of which has its own charm. Due to train delays, time spent in the city of Florence was limited, but the group did visit Il Duomo and the famous Piazza della Signoria where the David replica statue sits along with outdoor museum of various famous statues.
“I generally have a good sense of direction, but I found negotiating the streets of Florence quite difficult, getting ‘sort of’ lost a few times. The kids were much better negotiating Florence than I, or our Tour guide, Catherine,” Mrs. Tanzer noted. “Although Catherine’s knowledge of art and history was abundant, her inability to get us directly from point A to point B soon became a running joke.”
On their way to Rome the next day, the group stopped at Assisi and visited the calming city on the hill and the Basilica of St. Francis. The students and adults really enjoyed the slower pace for the day,” she said.
Mrs. Tanzer continued, “Next, it was off to Rome and all I can say is so much to see and too little time. We did manage to get to see many of the highlights like the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, the Trevi fountain (which was under construction) and the Spanish Steps.
“We also visited Piazza Navona at night and enjoyed the sounds of live music from various musicians along the piazza while we looked at the artist displays and enjoyed the tranquility of the running water of three beautiful fountains,” Mrs. Tanzer remarked.
The next day, it was off to Pompeii and where the visitors spent approximately two hours exploring just a small part of the uncovered city. Many students and adults felt that they could spend a week in the ruins.
Mrs. Tanzer said, “I overheard many students say that they are going to go home and watch the Pompeii movie. Our guide, Marco, was one of our students’ favorite guides of the trip. Marco kept asking his own questions of himself asking ‘why Marco?’”
Then we moved on to the city of Sorrento where our hotel was located (supposedly) four kilometers (more like 10 miles) up a steep hill embedded into cliffs covered with lemon trees. The location offered a breathless view of the Island of Capri,” Mrs. Tanzer recalled.
After dinner, 24 members of the group took the hotel coach down to a rocky beach where most of the students enjoyed a swim in the Mediterranean.
Avoided uphill walk
“We miraculously made it back without any of us needing to get out and walk. The van didn’t seem to have enough power to make it back up the steep hill with all the weight and I really thought we were going to need to walk home. Before flying out of Rome the next day, we ended our trip with an amazing morning tour of the Pantheon,” Mrs. Tanzer stated.
“It’s a week later and I’m still trying to digest all that we saw in 12 action-packed days, and I find myself getting confused as to which fountains, museums, basilicas and statues are in which cities. What I’m very clear about are the great memories and friendships I’ve made with some wonderful travel companions during the past two weeks,” Mrs. Tanzer added.
Even though the group is barely back from this wonderful trip, Mrs. Tanzer said she’s already planning another joint trip with Margaretville and Roxbury next summer to Germany and Austria. The following year, a trip is being arranged to New Zealand, Australia and Fiji islands.
Mrs. Tanzer said that anyone who like any information on upcoming trips contact her or Tina Peters (RCS group leader) or attend a September meeting after school.
The MCS students participate as members of the Margaretville Student Travel Club, This is the second year that Margaretville and Roxbury traveled together. Mrs. Tanzer noted that most of the kids know each other in some way before they embark on the trips.
Roxbury students taking the trip included: Kyle Faraci, Larrisa Shultis, Marisa Ford, Molly O’Brien, Shannon Sprague, Lacey Stewart, Morgan Sullivan, Robert Peters and Delhi student Allyce McIntosh. Group leader from RCS was Tina Peters and additional chaperones were Laura O’Brien, Joanne McLaughlin and her sister. Mary.
Margaretville students on the excursion were: Ben Fairbairn, Shannon Fairbairn, Kayla Laise, Bianca Molnar, Hailee Hunter, Vanessa Oravetz, Kaylee Sanford, Courtney Scheffler, Katlynn Shamro, Elia Tanzer and Matthew VanValkenburg. Group Leader Beth Tanzer and chaperone Patricia Moore.