London to the Rhine: 1984

Tower of London Our travels to Europe began in the spring of 1984 with a trip called London to the Rhine that was led by Cultural Studies International, a student tour organization. Most of our participants were from Brenda's classes at Campti High School.

The trip covered visits to London, Paris, Lucerne, and Heidelberg, and was typical of many of the ten-day trips that are still offered by similar companies today. During our stay in London, one of our sightseeing highlights was a visit to the Tower of London.

On the trip from London to Paris, we had the chance for a short visit to Canterbury. This was our first real stop in one of the smaller towns in England, and all of us enjoyed it very much. We spent most of our time inside the Cathedral, of course, but we did have a little time to wander around the town. Since then, we have returned to Canterbury several times, but I don't think any of our revisits could ever be as exciting as the first one. Fourteen years later, we still have some of the souvenirs we picked up on that first stop.
Both of us still have very fond memories of our first visit to Paris. We were a little apprehensive about it at first, but soon came to love everything we saw. Over the years, it continues to be our favorite place to visit. On this trip, we had the first of our many opportunities to take one look at the Eiffel Tower and decide that there's no way we're going up there. We have, however, held coats and purses for kids going to the top so many times that we've now memorized the position of every girder and rivet in each of the legs. Our hotel was located fairly near the Arc de Triomphe; a little later we saw it in the movie "Until September." In the movie there are shots of remodeling going on in the hotel. We were definitely there before the remodeling took place!
Versailles was not a part of the packaged tour, but a small group of us hired our city guide to take us out. For us, as "virgin" tourists, the trip to Versailles on the R.E.R. was almost as much fun as seeing the palace itself. But I think the thing about our first trip to Paris that stands out more than any other over the years is the quote by the student who was seeing Notre Dame for the first time (after stops at St. Paul's, Westminster, and Canterbury): "Not another church!"
The trip to Switzerland was a disappointment to none. An excursion to Engleberg and the ride to the top of Mt. Titlis was an optional tour offered by the company that everyone in the combined group decided to take. Most of our group had never seen mountains, and many of the students had never seen snow. For lifelong Flatlanders, a little elevation brings a ton of exhiliration! Of course, all the girls had to spend their souvenir money on Titlis sweatshirts.
The trip was advertised as "London to the Rhine." At the very end of the trip, on the way to the Frankfurt Airport, our courier pointed to a river and told us that it was the Rhine, but of course we had no way of knowing. The trip really "ended" the afternoon before with our visit to the Heidelberg Castle ruins. We knew as we got ready to board the plane that we'd be back---- again, and again, and again!

Pack Your Bags Homepage - Travel Albums