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Europe travelogue: Traveling through Europe

A+group+of+travelers+walk+through+the+streets+of+Italy+on+their+free+time+on+their+trip.+Photo+taken+by+Mrs.+Casey.
A group of travelers walk through the streets of Italy on their free time on their trip. Photo taken by Mrs. Casey.

by Samantha Ubertini, staff reporter 

A group of travelers walk through the streets of Italy on their free time on their trip. Photo taken by Mrs. Casey.
A group of travelers walk through the streets of Italy in their free time on their trip. Photo taken by Mrs. Casey.

Day 1

The first day consisted of traveling in Paris. Our flight was slightly delayed leaving LaGuardia Airport so we arrived later in Charles de Gualle in Paris, but since the flight was only six and a half hours, we didn’t lose that much time.

Once the group arrived in Paris we picked up our luggage and headed straight to the Louvre. We were allowed to split up into our smaller groups and see great artworks like the Mona Lisa, the Winged Angel of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo. Because we were delayed, our time was cut short.

After the Louvre, we took a short walk along the river up to the Notre Dam where we were able to go inside for a moment and take in the breathtaking architecture. We then walked over and sat down for dinner, took the subway to our hotel and everyone quickly went off to bed.

The girl’s rooms were very small but we didn’t care because we were so exhausted. We all changed and went right to bed without thinking about the bed or the room or the bathroom. Being in Europe didn’t hit us until we woke up the next morning.

Day 2

Our last day in Paris started bright and early at 6:30, in order to see everything Paris had to offer we had to be up and ready to go. The group split up on to two coach buses and traveled around with a local tour guide to give everyone in depth information on the history of Paris.

By noon, both groups went to Versailles to see the beautiful gardens and Palace. Paris is known to be very rainy, but the rain stopped for our time in Versailles. The estate is about 17 acres, and is located where the Palace sits surrounded by golden gates and beautiful fountains and greens. I’ve never seen a place so big and beautiful in my life, I could have spent all day in Versailles looking at the beautiful gardens and the glass rooms.

Once our tours were over, the buses headed back to Paris and students had more time to go around with their chaperone to the shops before dinner. After dinner there was an optional excursion; it consisted of a boat ride around Paris to see the buildings and Eiffel Tower under the moonlight.

Day 3

The third day we had the earliest start of the whole trip. Wake up call was at 4:30 to catch the train to Milan. The train was 8 hours, people had the opportunity to catch up on their sleep because of the early hours we had to be up at.

Once in Milan we packed our luggage onto our coach buses and went to the Duomo of Milan and had free time for the remaining of the day. We had time to go into the Duomo, shop and sit down for lunch with our chaperones. Later on we went out to dinner at a restaurant on the water then to our hotel.

 

 

Day 4

We were up early and headed towards Florence, it was only 2 hours to get to Florence so we had a lot of the day left for tours and exploring. We had a guided tour of Florence that started at the Duomo of Florence and ended at a leather factory a few blocks away from the city center.

We learned about how to tell if leather was real or fake by putting it under a flame and checking the seams of the leather and seeing if it is suede or not. Everyone got a little nervous of their previous purchases because they didn’t think the wallets and other leather goods they bought were real but they all turned out to be fine.

After some more free time, we all met back by the replica of the statue of David. We went around to different little stores that we wouldn’t see back home so that we could really get a feel of the culture and the difference in Italy compared to New York.

Day 5

The second day in Florence was spent mostly in other parts of Italy. We started off our day by going to Lucca, which was an optional excursion that everyone participated in. Lucca is an ancient city that was built around 180 BC, it was built in walls to protect the people from outside invaders. From the outside of Lucca it looks like there is just one big wall surrounding the city, but once you walk through the streets you realize that each street is a wall; all the buildings acted as an extra wall between the people and the outside of Lucca.

We had a guided walking tour of Lucca through the streets and the main square, we then had time with our chaperones to continue exploring Lucca. Lucca was one of my favorite places to visit when we were in Italy, all the colors and the architecture were all so beautiful I wanted to spend days there staring at everything and taking it all in.

After Lucca we took a bus to Pisa and walked to where the leaning tower of Pisa was. We had a few minutes to take funny pictures next to the tower and then took a guided tour about the church and the baptistry. The leaning tower of Pisa looked a lot smaller in person compared to pictures.

The baptistry is a round, dome covered building where people would go to get baptised so that they were able to go into the church, because of the dome there is an echo when someone raises their voice. Every 30 minutes someone would move into the middle of the building and sing to show viewers how the echo works. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time after the guided tour for free time and had to catch the bus back to Florence.

Day 6

We left early from Florence to go to Rome. It was a long bus ride so we spent most of the day on the bus traveling, we stopped in a small town, Sienna, for a short period of time. We had time to look into the churches and take in the breathtaking views. We arrived in Rome late so the only activities we had for the day were to go for dinner and then we had time back at the hotel to try and contact family.

Day 7

Our final day was in Rome, mostly Vatican City. We had a guided tour of the museum that is connected to the Vatican. We saw famous works of art like Laocoon and His Sons, Apollo Sauroktonos, Charity with Four Children and many more. The tour ended in the Sistine Chapel where we were asked not to speak or take pictures in order to preserve the paintings. The chapel is wall to wall paintings done by Michelangelo, in only four years.

After finishing in the Sistine Chapel, we got back on the buses and headed over to the colosseum. The colosseum was under restoration so that it would be standing longer. We had a walking tour of the Colosseum and parts of Rome where artifacts of ancient Rome are still standing. We saw many statues, pillars and buildings that were turned into museums. We had a little more time in Rome for free time before going to dinner. Looking at the Colosseum seemed so unreal because it’s something we’ve only read about in books and learned about in history, no one ever thought they’d have the opportunity to see it like we did.

The optional excursion began after dinner, it was a walking tour of Rome, we went to different fountains in Rome and ended at the Trevi Fountain. We had time at the Trevi Fountain to throw coins into the fountain and listen and dance to people on the street playing music.

After the walking tour we continued on a bus for a panoramic tour of Rome at night. We went by some of the same places we saw on the walking tour but were able to see them at night. The buildings look very different at night compared to during the day because of how they were lit up. Our tour guide, Tommasso, put together a playlist for us to sing and dance to while we were on the bus. After the optional tour we had to go back to the hotel and to bed so we were ready for the long flights ahead of us.

Day 8

We woke up fairly early when we were heading home. After a short bus ride to the airport, we quickly went through security for our first flight. The flight was only two hours to Paris where we then had a four hour layover for our eight and a half hour flight home. During the flight home we were all sad to go home, but were happy to see our families again.

We all made jokes and laughed while we were waiting in Paris and were already starting to reminisce on everything we endured on the trip. Once we landed back in New York we went through customs and were free to go reunite with our families. 

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