Students Discover Four Countries on Easter Break
Posted on 04/25/2019
A group of Bishop Ahr High School students spent this year’s Easter break exploring not one, not two, not three, but four European countries on what many of them called a “trip-of-a-lifetime.”

Departing on April 13, the group of 17 Sophomores and Juniors, accompanied by chaperones Mrs. Sharon Taub, Mr. Mike Kowalczyk, and Ms. Casey Walker, began their journey in the city of lights: Paris, France. They were met at Charles de Gaulle Airport by tour manager Simone Aquilone, who whisked them off to the Eiffel Tower, where they had a reservation for an elevator ride to the observation deck for sweeping views of the city. Later in the evening, they dined on local cuisine and were met by a familiar face, retired BGA Latin teacher Dr. Jodie Lepine. The following day was packed with sightseeing, starting with a guided bus tour of the city that included views of the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysée, Place de la République, les Invalides, and Jardin des Tuileries. In the afternoon, the group spent a few hours discovering the incredible collections of the world’s largest art museum, the Louvre. And in the evening, the members of the group became some of the last to see the original roof and spire of the Cathedral of Notre Dame before a fire destroyed tragically destroyed them.

The group continued by plane to the resort town of Nice, part of the French Riviera. Their two days in Nice included free time to enjoy the beautiful beach weather, shop, many opportunities to feast on crepes, and home visits where students were treated to home-cooked meals. The second day included a morning excursion to Monaco and a visit to Fragonard, the oldest perfumery in France.

After a restful couple days in Nice, the group embarked on a long drive across the Italian border to Florence, Italy. Though brief, everyone enjoyed the beautiful Renaissance city where they took a walking tour past sights like the famed Cathedral of Santa Maria dei Fiori, the birthplace of Dante Alighieri, the Ponte Vecchio; watched a demonstration of how leather is made; and saw the original Statue of David in the Galleria dell’Accademia. The short stay finished with sweeping views of the city from Piazzale Michelangelo before they headed by bus to their final destination, the eternal city: Rome.

The beautiful weather in Rome was perfect for the many activities that were packed into Easter weekend, starting with a guided tour of the extraordinary Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica and followed by a separate guided tour of the Coliseum. On Easter Sunday, the group had the unique experience of celebrating papal mass in St. Peter’s Square. After mass, Pope Francis made an appearance among the audience in the “pope mobile,” coming almost within arm’s length of the students, who were electrified by his presence. The Pope concluded the celebrations by blessing the congregation and all of their friends and family at home.

For many students on the trip it was a life-changing experience being able to spend 10 days in Europe with friends, seeing so countless famous sights, learning the stories of numerous historic places and people, encountering so many people from so many different backgrounds, and witnessing the diversity of cultures that exist only a few hours away by plane. But most importantly, through all these experiences our students saw first-hand that while there is so much that differs among us, there is even more that unites us.

Europe Trip 2019