Day 15 and 16 – Salzburg, Dachau and Munich

Salzburg-

We suited up into familiar brown and white miners outfits and boarded the train for an amazing salt mine experience in Durnberg Mountain. Inside and under the mountain, we caught two trains, a boat and slid down two slides in an interactive mining adventure. This was followed by a rainy bike ride across Salzburg which was a challenge for some; adventure for others and an even more trouble for a few who hadn’t ridden a bike in a while. We finished the day on a high with a beautiful, classical concert at the town hall, better known as the Mirabellle Palace of Salzburg.

Dachau-

Dachau was an educational and thought provoking experience which was appreciated by both modern history students and across the Europe trip. Walking through the administration offices, attention grounds, barracks and memorial we learnt about the horrors of the war and the treatment of prisoners in the Dachau camp.

Munich-

Each group then enjoyed a lunch in Munich followed by free time to enjoy the town and do some last minute shopping. The crowded streets were filled with football supports ready for the nights semi-final. We returned after dinner to a nice hotel for our last destination of the Europe trip.

Emma and Alannah

Day 14 – Salzburg

This morning, we woke up to a hot buffet breakfast. Then we boarded the bus and the best bus driver ever (Udo) drove us around for a guided panoramic tour, where we saw some Sound of Music sights. For the rest of the morning, we strolled around sunny Salzburg. We saw Salzburg Cathedral, St Peter’s Abbey, Schloss Mirabell Palace, Marionettentheater and Mozart’s birthplace. Then we got 6 hours free time, to eat, shop and explore Salzburg. We had a relaxing picnic under the shade of the trees in the Mirabell gardens. After some of us broke our bank accounts, we went to an ice cream shop on our way back to the hotel. After a long day, we enjoyed dinner.

See below for our friends modelling some traditional Austrian clothing.

Lily Camilleri, Bella McGrath, Georgia Sofronoff and Gabby Sciacca

Day 12 and 13: Innsbruck and Salzburg

On the 7th July we started our day with a panoramic bus tour around Innsbruck. Luckily, the rain cleared just in time for us to get off the bus and do a walking tour. We then were allowed some free time to do a little bit of shopping and have lunch before heading off to Swarovski crystal world. As you can expect, this visit quickly became a highlight for all of us as we ventured through the magical world of crystals and of course visited the store as well. To finish off our day, we met a past St Rita’s girl who led us on a mountain hike, halfway up the Alps. This spot was extremely picturesque and we enjoyed the sunset over the mountains.

Today, the 8th July, we packed our bags and headed to Germany to visit the Eagles’ Nest; a residence built for Adolf Hitler in 1938. Upon finishing, we travelled to Berchtesgaden where we had two hours free time to eat lunch and wander the town. We then made one final stop to our hostel in Salzburg, which we will be staying at for the next three nights.

Fountain at Swarovski Crystal World

View from the mountain

Day 10 – Strasbourg

We began our day in Strasbourg with a delicious, authentic French breakfast. After leaving the hostel, we were greeted by our two lovely guides Jacqueline and Rosaline for a panoramic tour of the centre of Strasbourg. We passed multiple European Union buildings and significant historical landmarks, which gave us a brief overview of the city’s history before our walking tour commenced.

During our walking tour, we followed the Rhine River around the city. Our tour guide discussed how the influence of both France and Germany can be seen in language and architecture. It was extremely interesting to learn about how Strasbourg has been controlled by both the French and Germany, specifically during WWI and WWII. There is a statue situated in the middle of a roundabout that depicts a mother holding her two dead sons. This is a representation of how some people of Strasbourg were forced to choose between fighting for France or Germany, though during WWII many were conscripted by the Nazis.

A highlight of our tour was the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg that stood in the middle of a beautiful sea of colourful timber houses. The Cathedral is home to an elegant clock that depicted “the 4 Stages of Man’s Life.” The intricate stain glass windows dotted the Cathedral walls. The architecture consists of a mixture of Roman, German and French influences, reflecting the complicated and intriguing history of Strasbourg.

After having lunch at one of the various shops nearby the Cathedral, we made our way back to the bus and headed off to Musee “Les secrets du chocolat”; a chocolate museum owned by Schaal chocolatier. Here we attended a chocolate tasting session, where a video instructed us on how to properly eat chocolate, and a walk through the museum itself. In the museum we learned about the origins of chocolate and the chocolate creation process of Schaal. Following this, many girls took the opportunity to purchase chocolate for friends and family, as well as to enjoy throughout the remainder of the Europe tour.

By Laura Davis and Lily Brooksby

Day 9 – Trier and Strasbourg

Today, we are left the hotel in Thionville and we started our journey to Strasbourg but stopped off at the border of Germany and France to have 1 foot in both countries. Then we continued on to Trier, the oldest city in Germany. We saw sites such as the Porta Nigra – the last remaining piece of Roman structure in the town. We also visited St. Peter’s cathedral. Our tour guide was none other than Mr Mundell, who provided us with a detailed tour of the town. We then stocked up on snacks to have a lively, lakeside picnic next to the Roman bridge and burned like marshmallows in the summer warmth – but don’t worry mum we were wearing our sun screen! We then returned to the bus and arrived in Strasbourg at a very classy, spacious hotel. We are excited for our sightseeing tomorrow in this beautiful city!

Day 8 Luxembourg

Wow! Yes, what a fantastic day.

It all started waking up to the familiar sounds of an Apple iPhone tuning to the morning sun. Imogen, Elsie and Carla were truly “woke” noticing that they were half way across the world in the beautiful town of Thionville. Rushing to breakfast, the hall was lit up with some of France’s finest croissants and cakes. After we concluded breakfast we joyfully hopped into Udo’s bus to continue on to Luxenbourg. In the bus we chatted, played a friendly game of “Go Fish” and listened to the latest hits on Spotify. The breathtaking scenery full of green trees and picturesque buildings (which stretched as far back too the medieval times) hinted that we had reached our destination for the day. We were greeted by the friendly faces of our tour guides, whom showed us the interesting history of the central city within Luxembourg. FUN FACT; did you know that Luxembourg used to be the largest country in Europe? (You learn something new every day ;)). An image below exhibits the beautiful scenic river which runs through the main city.

It was the perfect location to absorb the captivating surroundings. After two hours or so, we were set free to explore. Naturally, we went shopping. But our rumbling stomachs halted the spree and we were off to the tastiest cafe in Europe, Paul. Several of the students embodied the year of courage through speaking the French or German language by ordering food! It was a top effort :). We then ended the day driving back to the hotel and eating a yummy pizza for dinner. In total, the city of Luxembourg is a must for anyone visiting Europe, and most importantly needs to be added to the next Europe itinary!

Until next time,

Elspeth Mayfield-Smith and Carla Roggero

Day 5 Battlefields

Today was our second day in Belgium, we started off with an early morning and breakfast where we met up with Tim and Jim, our tour guides for the day.

We started off with a visit to the Passchendaele Museum which provided us with a real life experience of the trenches used in WW1. The museum also showed us weapons, guns, machinery and uniforms which gave us a glimpse of the life and work Australian men and woman had to face. We then drove to memorials dedicated to fallen Australian, Canadian, British, French and unknown soldiers of the war. This was a very eye opening experience to see the enormous amount of casualties from the war, as well as knowing the men’s age and names, showing that the men fallen are not just numbers.

We then made our way back to Ypres, where we stopped for lunch and was allowed time to explore and shop in this beautiful town……. but most girls ended up buying chocolate.

As the afternoon wore on, We made our way to Hill 60 and the Essex Farm, the last stop for the day. We then returned to the hostel, having dinner at a nearby restaurant. Today was a very busy and eye opening day for all the girls and teachers. We are now off to bed, saddened to be leaving Belgium but excited for our next adventure in Thionville, France.

By Jazmin Fensom and Chelsea Joseph, Year 11