Europe Trip: an Unforgettable Adventure


April 5, 2018



By Bruce Yingling, English Teacher and Europe Trip Organizer

After having visited four countries on the 16-day tour, nineteen students and seven adults just returned from the English Department spring European study tour.

The group began the tour in Munich. Highlights during the two days spent here included a visit to Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp, and a tour of the Bavarian royal family residence and treasury. Honors senior students also had the chance to see some of the artists and paintings they had studied in class while visiting the Pinathotek, Munich’s fine arts museum.

Next they arrived in Rothenburg, a medieval town, surrounded by a wall. Everyone spent the day exploring, shopping, and taking pictures. Besides hiking the circumference of the town on the walls, a museum of crime and punishment was the main attraction.

“Rothenburg was my favorite because I was able to create deeper bonds with my friends,” said Katrina Threatt, senior.

Afterwards, sitting on a train was a relief for the feet from a long day of walking. The group arrived at Fussen, a small town nest

led beneath the Bavarian Alps, late that night. The next day everyone got to see Neuschwanstein Castle, the fairy-tale castle that is supposedly the model for the Disney castle, on a guided tour.

“My favorite place that we went to was Fussen, Germany, because it was the smallest city that we visited. It was quieter there, and I felt less like a tourist. Also, it was beautiful there! We had a great view of the mountains right next to our hostel!” said Lilly Cheneweth, junior.

The group then crossed the border into Austria and visited Salzburg, setting for the iconic movie The Sound of Music. Highlights in Salzburg included  the birthplace of Mozart and Hohensalzburg Castle, an imposing fortress overlooking the city.


Next, the group headed towards Prague, Czech Republic. On the way they stopped for lunch in Cesky Krumlov, a quaint and beautifully snowy town similar to Rothenburg.  

When they finally arrived in Prague, it was only mid-afternoon. So everyone had some time to get settled before a dinner cruise that night. On the boat there was live jazz music and a delicious buffet. The next day the group went on a guided tour to the Jewish Quarter with its synagogues and somber memorial to Czech Holocaust victims. Afterwards, everyone split up; some toured the royal castle and St. Vitas Cathedral while the rest explored the town. That night everyone regrouped and went to see the opera Turandot, a major highlight of the trip. Even Dean Bo admitted that classical music could be entertaining. Early the next morning the group took a day-trip to visit Terezin, the model concentration where the Nazis demonstrated their “compassionate” treatment of the Jews before shipping them on to other camps for extermination, and to Karlstejn Castle, another fairy-tale castle.

The next morning everyone left for Budapest, Hungary. For dinner the group was treated to a Danube River cruise, this time with live gypsy folk music. Particularly entertaining was the portion of the program with audience participation. The Rio group will not soon forget the images of Principal Schmidt attempting to folk dance with with one of the young female performers. He brought down the house when he kissed her on the cheek.  


The next day, after a 5-hour guided tour of the city, there was a chance for everyone to wind down and relax. Others chose to visit the Szechenyi thermal baths where they could soak tired and sore muscles from all of the walking during the trip. (Some days step totals reached 25,000 steps plus.)

Leaving Budapest, the group headed for Vienna, with a stop at the Esterhazy castle where Haydn lived and composed most of his major works. In Vienna the classical music theme continued with visits to an interactive music museum where visitors could even conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and a tour of the house where Mozart lived and composed many of his most famous works. In addition, there was a Vienna by Night bus/walking tour, along with a tour of Schoenbrunn Palace, summer palace of the Hapsburgs.

According to Bruce Yingling, English teacher who planned and sponsored the trip, “I am excited that Rio students had the chance to visit Europe where they could experience a different culture and gain a new perspective of history, art, and music by participating in a “living” classroom.”   


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