Before I begin my story about my adventure to Europe, I shall first begin with a little background information on myself. I had been in band for six years and while attending an Honor’s Band in Richmond, VA the instructor informed us students that everyone in the band was invited to tour Europe with other band students from all over Virginia. This invitation sounded too good to be true, but then I remembered that there would be a tremendous cost for this trip, and such money is difficult to find when one of your parents is a dairy farmer and the other’s a teacher.
So I simply dropped the idea while making sure that my mom was well aware of how enthused I was with even the thought of such a trip. A few months later my mom surprised me by informing me that she could make the trip possible. Of course I was ecstatic! Unfortunately my grandfather passed away about a year before the Europe trip, yet in his will he left a reasonable amount of money for my brother and I which was intended to be used for educational purposes.
My mom knew this from the very beginning; however, I did not. It took her a while to think about the issue but then she came to a delightful conclusion that the Virginia Ambassador’s of Music (VAM) trip fell into one of those educational categories. This was when my trip began.
Bon Voyage! Those were the first two words we were told at our first band practice in northern Virginia as well as the very two words that describe my feelings on this extraordinary trip. During the first few days prior to takeoff we were required to attend mandatory band practices. The school where we practiced was a considerable distance from my house so I was given the privilege to home-stay at a local band member’s home.
It was both a unique and exciting experience because we had never met each other and because I had never stayed this amount of time at another person’s house. The three of us bonded well and I learned what it was like to live in another home with a different set of rules and guidelines. After a few more nights and a few more practices, our overseas journey then began! We began the experience by flying out of the Dulles Airport in Virginia.
We then flew to Germany where we switched flights and then flew to London. Why we went to Germany first, I really don’t know. Personally it seemed a little out of the way; however, I did learn about the importance of time zones and how the sun makes all the difference in accordance to.
Then after dealing with a ‘scorcher’ in London and feeling ‘a bit marvish’ on occasion, we left Big Ben and his fellow friends and headed on to Paris. Traveling past historical marvels such as the white cliffs of England, our group enjoyed a pleasant ferry from England to France. While in France we saw many spectacular sights such as the Louvre, the Arch de Triumph, and of course the Eiffel Tower.
Unfortunately, the Moulin Rouge wasn’t hosting any shows at the time we traveled through; nevertheless, we continued our journey on to Switzerland! Switzerland was by far the most beautiful country in our travels, and I even got the chance to test my three years of French while renting a mountain bike from a local business. Unfortunately we forced to leave Switzerland but then moved on to Austria! This country was beautiful as well and we also took a day trip down to Italy. It was amazing! Although I was unable to ride one, I learned about the essences of bartering from some of the others in our group who were able to experience the flooded streets on a gondola.
After enjoying Italy and finishing up Austria, we spent our last few days in the elegance of Germany. We were all very sad to be leaving one another on such an exciting and thrilling adventure, but most of us were about ready to go back home to our families. So we all got back on a plane and enjoyed the flight home with our new friends. Once we arrived back in Virginia we left one another and went back to our normal daily routine lives carrying nothing more with us than a few bags, a bunch of pictures, and numerous new friendships and memories.
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