Saints Girls explore Europe

St Peter's Girls' School

An itinerary packed with a lifetime of experiences that our students will remember and treasure forever.

Our journey started in London with visits to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and a relaxing Thames cruise. All of the students were suitably impressed with our first glimpse of Big Ben. The London Dungeons provided a snapshot of medieval London history and was a very educational and entertaining stop. Madame Tussauds was so much fun having ‘selfies’ with our favourite famous people. The Lion King was our ‘West End’ theatre experience and the performance was extraordinary. We were able to relate to all the ‘Brexit’ jokes and added SIMBAlism throughout.

The Warner Bro’s Harry Potter Studio Tour was a personal highlight to all. It was incredible to walk around such detailed and well-lit sets, to learn about the costumes and animatronic creatures and to taste Butterbeer for the first time. Many of the girls bought their favourite character’s wand as a lasting souvenir.

The Eurostar carried us to France in the ‘Chunnel’ and our first glimpse of the illuminated Eiffel Tower at night took our breath away. The Palace of Versailles was extraordinary – We were blown away by the intricate artworks and the Hall of Mirrors. It was like we had stepped into the 18th century. Shopping in Paris was an exciting time for us all. There were a variety of stores ranging from well-known department shops like H&M to little French boutiques. On our second morning in France we climbed the Eiffel Tower, and were rewarded for our patience in the queues with a spectacular view of Paris. Later, we visited L’Arc de Triomphe and then had a quick look around the Louvre, stopping by the Mona Lisa of course!

We spent the next three days in Arras, visiting World War One battlefields, memorials and Commonwealth War Cemeteries. Our excellent tour guide Jon, taught us so much about the Great War; one of the facts being the youngest Australian soldier was only 14! This will be a valuable experience as we continue our study of senior history. Annabel Baldwinson, Faye Ma and Zoe Scobie had the privilege of taking part in the Menin Gate Last Post Service laying a wreath on behalf of our school. As we left France for our onward journey to Berlin, we looked back with some pride on our attempts to speak French.

On Anzac Day, we were fortunate enough to be invited to the Australian Ambassador’s residence in Berlin for breakfast, and then lay a wreath on behalf of the Youth of Australia at an official Anzac Day service, an incredibly unique experience for not only Bethany Cross and Ashleigh Rogers who represented the school but all who attended this special service so far from Australia.

Berlin offers a unique historical perspective. Most intriguing were the memorials to the Holocaust and the Cold War ‘wall’ remnants. The Jewish Memorial in the heart of Berlin was a sobering reminder of the atrocities suffered. The remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall were truly mesmerising and reminded us of what life was like in the divided city. The East Side Gallery (street art on portions of the Berlin Wall) was an amazing experience and showed the group how Berliners expressed their frustrations creatively about political divisions.

Our visit to Nuremberg was magical. We stayed in the Kaiserburg town castle and spent our days exploring the medieval town and shopping in this quaint location.

Despite only spending a few hours in Munich, we discovered the majesty of the city. Our final day was spent at Dachau and linked our experience at the Jewish Memorial in Berlin to the realities of a concentration camp.

While the focus of the trip was History and a chance to practice our French, we did manage to positively support the economy of the EU with our expert ability to shop!

The trip has left us with a lifetime of memories and an understanding of historical complexities that have shaped Europe.

Lynne Spry

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