During the holidays following Term One, Mr Clark, Mr Garry, Ms Marshall, Ms Devenish as well as 21 students, myself included, flew from Sydney to Europe to begin a trip that would see us travel through parts of France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
Arriving in Paris, we began with a walk through the city’s streets, seeing the magnificent Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Panthéon, and the July Column in the Place de la Bastille. Among many other things, the group went to see where Van Gogh lived, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Catacombs, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe. We visited museums and galleries, including the extensive Louvre Palace and Museum, the Musée Rodin, and the Musée d’Orsay; we admired the architecture as well as the art it enclosed. Following Paris, we travelled to Louis XIV’s Palace at Versailles and Monet’s house and gardens in Giverny, before moving on to Amiens and beginning our journey along World War One’s Western Front, where our understanding of and appreciation for the soldiers’ efforts was increased by our knowledgeable guide.
Visiting the many cemeteries was significant, especially the Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery, as all the students had either studied or were studying the life of a soldier who fell during the Battle of Fromelles. We received notice only days before that Channel Seven would cover our visit and broadcast a story to Australia.
After visiting sites in Belgium, we travelled through the Channel Tunnel to the United Kingdom. London was completely different to Paris in appearance but charming. We visited more museums and galleries, including Tate Britain, the Imperial War Museum, and the British Museum. The group also went to the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and various other sites. We were also able to enjoy the musical Wicked and Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping street. All the students were very sorry when the 2017 Europe trip suddenly came to a close and very appreciative of the efforts of the teachers who organised the trip and accompanied us during their own holidays.