People to People was when I first traveled internationally. The trips are usually 3 weeks long, and many include traveling through many different countries. For my experience, we visited France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. We had a group of 40 high schoolers from the CNY area, along with four teachers who acted as our leaders. We had a group leader we met up with once we flew into Paris.
Now, it has been almost 13 years (July-August 2004) since I fashionably traveled around Europe (khakis and the blue people to people polo), but it still remember how excited I was to head off on my own and explore.
We had a very strict schedule to keep on this trip. Every day was mapped out for us. The only thing I really remember about my first day in Paris was being incredibly sleep deprived and pumping my body full of allergy meds (because apparently I was allergic to Paris). We saw all the must see items: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre and the Mona Lisa, took a boat ride down the Seine, took a trip out to Versailles, and had dinner across the street from the Moulin Rouge.
From Paris we traveled to Strasbourg in the Alsace region. We had one day there and it rained the entire time. But we did get to see the cathedral. And had lunch at a place called Flams (I cannot believe I still remember the name of this place). We also paid a visit to the Council of Europe as you can see by the header picture up top.
We visited Venice where we had a gondola ride which took some surprising turns. Also, the entire city smelled like a dirty bathroom. Would I return? Yes, but maybe in the winter.
We also paid a visit to Pisa, but didn’t have much time to explore. We were able to take some photos, though.
We explored Florence at such a fast pace that I sometimes forget I was even there. I did see the Duomo as well at the Statue of David. And there may have been some gelato eaten as well.
Rome was the last city on our whirlwind tour. Here we did something really cool. We split up into groups, were given a map, and took off on a scavenger hunt. This was such a fun way to see the city and all the major sites! I saw the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountian, and lots of fountains in piazzas. Of course, we also visited the Colosseum a day prior.
Our last day in Italy brought us to the Vatican City. We visited the Sistine Chapel, went through the museum, and had some time to walk around and explore St. Peter’s Basilica. Just an FYI, when visiting the Vatican, make sure your knees and shoulders are completely covered or you will be denied entrance into most buildings, especially the churches.
We spent 21 days traveling through Europe on a coach bus. We ale made pit stops in Liechtenstein and Germany. Traveling the roadways allowed us to see what was in between the cities we visited. I saw the Alps, swam in the Mediterranean, ate my weight in gelato, saw some of the most amazing pieces of art up close, had a medieval dinner in a medieval castle, and had an all around great time.