A group of Hamilton High School students had an incredible trip to Europe! Take a look at the written daily summary from HHS history teacher and leader of the adventure, Brian Grabinski.

Day 1
Everything went smooth on our new flight. We got into Zurich around 10:30. Fortunately, our tour director, Giovanna, had found another bus to take us directly to Lucerne to meet up with the rest of the group so that we would miss as little as possible. The bus took us directly to the pier for our boat cruise of Lake Lucerne and afterwards we took a train to the top of Mount Rigi for wonderful views of the Alps and the region around Lucerne. Then back to our hotel in Zurich for dinner. 

Day 2
We left Zurich in the morning. The drive through Switzerland was amazing!  Stunning scenery. We got into Italy and stopped at Lake Como with some time to get lunch and explore Como a bit. Then we continued on to Massa, Italy. Our hotel was about a block from the beach and many kids spent some time in the water. 

Day 3
Today we visited Cinque Terre. It is 5 isolated villages along the Italian coast.  Due to the mountains, access is primarily limited to the trains and boats. We visited 3 of the 5 villages. Unfortunately, it rained much of the day but the sites were still amazing and the sun did come out for a bit when we got to the third village.  In the evening we returned to our hotel in Massa for dinner.

Day 4
We left Massa in the morning and made our way to the French Riviera. Our first stop was in Monaco. It is a tiny independent nation right on the French coast. The wealth there is amazing. Over 30% of its residents are millionaires, and it showed. After a bit of time in Monaco we continued to Nice and toured the city and walked along the Mediterranean coast before having dinner. After dinner we took our bus to our hotel in Cannes. Our hotel was less than a mile from the coast so as a group we went down to the Mediterranean for more fun at the beach. 

Day 5
In the morning, after breakfast,  we headed into the French city of Avignon. Avignon was the center of the Catholic Church for much of the 14th century. The pope had fled Rome early in the 1300s for security reasons and settled there. The Palace od the Popes was constructed and the papacy remained there until returning to Rome towards the end of the 14th century. That info might be slightly off as I can’t seem to get an internet connection as I type this while sitting in the airport, but it’s very close. We had a local guide that took us around Avignon and then we had lunch before exploring the Popes Palace on our own. After leaving Avignon we stopped for dinner and then returned to our hotel for the evening.

Day 6
After breakfast at the hotel we went to Pont du Gard. Pont du Gard is a massive portion of the ancient Roman aquaducts. We spent some time there exploring and even swimming a bit in the river that the aquaduct crosses. From there we went to the city of Nimes. 

We did a walking tour around Nimes and then had lunch before meeting up to visit the amphitheater. Nîmes has an great Roman amphitheater still almost entirely intact. It is like a miniature version of the coliseum in Rome.  We spent a lot of time with an audio guide inside the amphitheater before having some free time to explore the city some more. Sully even found an “aqua ball” and dominated the 7 and 8 year olds that were also in there. Then we went to dinner and returned to our hotel for the night. 

Day 7
This was mainly a travel day to Spain. We left early and traveled across the Pyrenees Mountains to our hotel along the Costa Brava along the Spanish coast. Our hotel is a resort. There are multiple pools, water slides and other activities. Some people stayed at the hotel while others went down to the beach and spent some more time in the Mediterranean.

Day 8
We woke up early and headed I to Barcelona for the day. Our first stop was at Park Guell, designed by one of Barcelona’s most famous architect Antonio Gaudi. Originally it was designed as a gated community but when no one moved in it became a park. Gaudi’s work is ver reminiscent of Dr Seuss and the buildings and structures have almost no straight lines. Gaudi believed that straight lines did not exist in nature and so they should not exist in his work either. After touring the park we went on a bus tour of Barcelona and then to the Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia is the most famous landmark of Barcelona and has been under construction since 1882. It was begun by Gaudi and the current plan is to have it completed by 2030. We then split for lunch before taking a walking tour down las Ramblas. Then we had free time before meeting for a Tapas dinner. After dinner some went to a Flamenco show while others had some additional free time for exploring, shopping, etc. we then returned to our hotel for our final night. 

Day 9
We had an early wake up call at 5:30 and then headed to the airport. Our flight isn’t until 1:00pm but one of the other groups we are with flew out at 11:00 so we all came to the airport together. we checked in and said goodby to our tour director, Giovanna - she was amazing!