American High students spend June visiting European history

Education By Christine Rowan, Special to The Miami Laker Wednesday, September 18, 2013


American Senior High School’s club, Globetrotters, ventured across the pond in mid June, visiting some of the most historical sights in three of Europe’s acclaimed cities. Five teachers chaperoned twelve students for a 10 day global excursion starting in London, traveling on to Paris, and ending in Barcelona, Spain.  

Students arrived via British Airways to London’s Heathrow International Airport.  Greeted by an educational touring director, Anja Henkel, and other student groups from Los Angeles  and Chicago, the Globetrotters were immediately whisked away into an adventure of a lifetime.   London, first known as Britannia, offered everyone an opportunity to visit remains as old as the Roman Empire and as new as the London Eye, the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. 

Through the convenience of the hop-on hop-off open bus original tour, the group experienced the sights of Big Ben, Parliament, Buckingham Palace and the famous “Changing of the Guards.”  Only a quick jaunt across the Tower Bridge brought them to the ancient fortress of the Tower of London, where they visited the crown jewels, listened to bloody tales from the tower’s Yeoman, and discovered where prisoners lamented and exotic animals roamed. 

Paris, the City of Lights, enamored the travelers at night where they ascended more than 274 meters to the third level of the Eiffel Tower.  Perhaps feeling a bit sluggish from their trip across the Chunnel, from England to France, or slightly longing for life back in Miami, this experience was the apex as the elevator doors opened and their sights were filled with sparkling lights as far as the eye could see. 

Daylight gave the Globetrotters a journey back in time by visiting the art and culture preserved by the Grande Louvre: an original fortress erected in the late 12th century by Philip Augustus as a defense along the River Seine. There the Venus de Milo, The Victory, and the Mona Lisa, three fine ladies of history, became a reality. 

The Cathedral of Notre Dame gave life to Victor Hugo’s French Gothic novel the Hunchback of Notre Dame, where a statue of Charlemagne greeted the visitors and gargoyles kept a watchful eye.   The Globetrotters were surrounded daily with fashion, food and of course, an opportunity to leave a lock fastened on the “Lock Bridge” ensuring your love would be forever sealed. Paris was a never-ending vision of real beauty, or as they would say in France, "la vraie beaute." 

On their third and final leg, traveling by sleeping car, they arrived in the magnificent city of Barcelona, Spain.  The scents from the Mediterranean Sea welcomed them with a feeling of a bit like “home.” 

Palm trees, sunshine, and faces kissed by the sun, this old city showed them the sight of the 1992 Olympic Games, the on-going construction of the Basilica of the Sacred Family, St Joseph’s Market, Guell Park, and a two hour bicycle ride through the busy city and calm of the sea. 

By the end of the trip, the students were ready for a safe return home, but with them they took more than a key chain of the Eiffel tour or a pretty scarf from Paris. These travelers walked through history and became a part of the past, present and, most encouraging, the future of the world. 

They plan on creating a video to educate future Globetrotters of the "Do's and Don'ts" of European travel, and to share stories of their adventures.