International Explorers enjoyed European adventure

By Brian Sweeney
Seven Margaretville Central School students recently returned from a tour of some of Europe’s most illustrious cities.

“A lot of ground was covered in a short eight-day trip this year,” commented MCS teacher/organizer Brigitte Nagle.

The travelers included Crystal Colon, Lindsay Day, Thalia Gil, Mirasol Guevara, Tiffany Nobile, Brianna Perrone and Itahy Silva. The trip took place from July 1-8.
The group’s initial tour stop took them to Paris, France.

“We started with a sightseeing tour of the city which was good because we were then able to pick and choose what we were most interested in seeing when we had free time,” Ms. Nagle recalled.
Among the highlights in the city were the Eiffel Tower, the famed Paris Opera House, and the Arc de Triomphe. The visitors also took a beautiful boat ride up the Seine River, ate crepes in a local shop and walked through Notre Dame Cathedral - noting the very center point that Napoleon used when designing the city.

The travelers also toured The Louvre Museum where they got close-up exposure to some of the world’s most famous art treasures, including we feasted our eyes on the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and Hammurabi Code of Laws (written in the earliest writing called Cuneiform) and Napoleon’s Apartment – a section of the museum that displays the luxurious living environment of the famed leader.

Langauge of soccer
Ms. Nagle recalled that on another afternoon, the group headed out on a self-guided walking tour “looking for some local color” and found some local guys playing soccer in a town square.
“The girls joined in, despite the absolute lack of compatible language, they communicated just fine through the sport. It was really awesome to witness. Some of us cheered from the sidelines,” she noted.

Because they were missing Margaretville Firemen’s Carnival, the students honored the event by attending a fair near the Louvre, where the girls went on rides and celebrated the 4th — Margaretville style!

After passing through some medieval towns as they followed the path of Martin Luther during the Renaissance, the group arrived as its next destination in Berlin, Germany. The travelers’ route took them past the Wittenberg church where Martin Luther’s famed 95 Theses were posted.

Taste of Germany
“We then stopped in Weimar where we ate Thuringer wurst and Spaghetti ice cream (a German ice cream made to look like spaghetti) while strolling through the local farmers’ market,” the group leader noted.

The next stop was Heidelberg where the group toured the city’s most popular attraction — a 14th-century castle that was taken over so many times during the Reformation that the architecture reflects the different influences.
“It was a very quaint and special place,” the tour leader observed.
From there, it was on to Berlin passing the historic WWII Alpha, Bravo checkpoints heading toward Checkpoint Charlie.

“We had a moving experience walking along the east side of the Berlin Wall, imagining what it would be like to wake up to the sound of the barbed wire blockades and families separated. The wall has been painted by local artist depicting powerful messages. One section had both the American Flag and the German Flag together so the girls thought it could make for a good photo op.”

Another powerful experience was visiting the Holocaust Memorial. The group also had the opportunity to go up into the Dome of the historic Reichstag building.
“All went well and turned out to be a great travel experience for the girls. They did great as travelers!” Ms. Nagle remarked.
She indicated that the 2014 trip is already planned and ready for students to sign up when classes resume next fall. The venture will take students along the European Mediterranean coast — from Milan, Italy to Cinque Terre, next on the French Riviera, visiting Monaco and Nice and then finishing in Barcelona, Spain.

Ms. Nagle calls the travel group she organizes The International Explorers – Finding culture and adventure around the world!