Volume 3, Number 18 - July 31, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Eating Ice Cream in Europe
For our last day in Paris, we toured the city in our coaches, made a second stop at the Eiffel Tower, and spent the afternoon at the Sacre Coeur church. After eating lunch on the grass, we wandered around the shops and munched on scones and yes, ice cream. We bought souvenirs and snacks and spent a total of 80 pence for two trips to the water closet.
All 200 of us sprinted through the Louvre with just an hour to try to take in four floors of priceless art. We did see the Mona Lisa as well as The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo, Psyche and Cupid and the Borghese Gladiator. The trip was bittersweet; to be near all this art, but not have enough time to enjoy half.
"Guys, we're complaining in the Louvre, in France!"
We spent most of the next day driving to Switzerland, and the next three in Champery. Not only did the Ambassadors love Switzerland, but the Swiss love the Ambassadors. There were welcome signs hanging in business windows and from hotel signs greeting us as we rolled in. We were also offered discounts in nearly every store.
The first night in Champery, we strolled through the quiet town before heading to our balconies to look at the stars, the first we had seen since Wyoming. The next morning we had to ourselves to relax. Breakfast included, to Sara's excitement, real Swiss Miss!
Most of us made the trolley trip up the mountainside for a view like home. Beautiful mountains and clear sky for as far as one could see, the Swiss Alps. When we came back down to the town, we could shop and visit the cyber-café before heading for the Castle of Chillon. This castle was the most authentic of all that we visited; most of it was the same as it had been originally. The Castle of Chillon sits on Lake Geneva, a nice, cool lake, tempting us to jump in on a hot, humid day. Instead we just stuck our feet in at the dock before heading out to Montrey. We bought ice cream while in Montrey, as the lake did not cool us for long enough. Back in Champery that evening, we held our concert and the town cheered each group to encores.
"Dear God, we're yodeling in the Swiss Alps!"
Our last day in Switzerland, we rode to Zurmatt, where we took a train into the mountains to see the Matterhorn. The top was covered with clouds, so while we were waiting for the Matterhorn to unveil itself, Tillie and I joined a new friend from Gillette for a hike.
Along the trail, we yodeled and hollered "Ricola" into the mountains. On our return, the people of Champery held a farewell party for us, where we played an Alp horn, saw an edelweiss and attempted to polka. Gracy got the hang of it, but some members thought it was more entertaining to watch.
En route to our next hotel, we made a short stop in one of the smallest independent states in the world, Liechtenstein. A total of 62 square miles, all we had room for was to try the ice cream!
"The hills are alive with the sound of muuusic. La la la laaa! In Austria, guys!"
Austria was the next stop, and the city of Seefeld was small and quaint, perfect for renting a bike or swimming in the nearby lake. The next day we headed to Innsbruck and passed the Olympic 100 meter ski jump on our way to the Wilten Basilica. Outside the Basilica, we stood on the last ground ski jumpers see before taking off, a graveyard. The church was beautiful and the choir was allowed to sing once more.
Tillie did not sing "The Sound of Music" in the church, but joined the choir in a few moving pieces.
While in Innsbruck, the group made a stop in the dazzling crystal shop, Swarovski. We tried the ice cream here before starting a band, jazz band and pop choir concert in the glaring sun of Seefeld. The crowd appreciated our music, as did all of our audiences, then filed into a church to hear the choir and orchestra.
"We're riding a gondola in Venice. It's so romantic!"
We spent a day in Italy before finishing up in Germany. After a walking tour of Venice and a demonstration in glass blowing, we had the city to explore on our own. I left the glass shop as quickly as possible, as I did not have enough money to pay for a whole room of broken glass.
We viewed St. Marc's Basilica and bought more than one ice cream cone to sample. Five of us girls jumped into a gondola, not as romantic as Tillie joked. Because the driver refused to sing, a group of male Ambassadors on a separate gondola serenaded us. Unfortunately, they were band members, for a reason.
On the way to our last city, we made a very sobering tour of Dachau, the Holocaust concentration camp. After wandering the site of such horrific events, we all loaded the coaches in a very quiet, thoughtful manner. This was an educational stop, perhaps not as entertaining, but certainly important.
"Merciful, we're partying in Germany!"
We arrived in Rothenburg in the evening and settled in, had dinner and took the tour of the Night Watchman. This was a humorous, yet informational tour. We were told to go to Hell, but meant it as a suggestion, to the oldest building, a bar, in Rothenburg. Not all of us made the stop, but we did try the ice cream before bed.
Our last day in Europe we spent in Rothenburg, walking the walls, visiting the crime and punishment museum, exploring a huge Christmas shop and eating our last European ice cream. The jazz band, concert band and pop choir held our last concert in the town square and the choir and orchestra performed one last time together in the church. That evening, we held a farewell party. We exchanged email addresses and hugs before hitting the sack in anticipation of a long trip home.
"If I lose my passport can I stay here?"
Some threatened to find ways to stay, and no one was quite ready to go home, but we were full of ice cream and missed our beef. So we hopped the plane and headed home.
"I'm leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again."
We spent a total of 11 hours on planes and six in layover, the whole time setting our clocks back. The Wyoming Ambassadors of Music flew like the wind, cramming 17 hours of traveling into about 14 hours of the 48-hour day.
Amber concluded that Austria makes the best ice cream, but I say Germany; each of us hopes to make a return trip on our own someday.
See The Archives for past articles.
Copyright © 2002, 2003 Sublette Examiner
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
Sublette Examiner, PO Box 1539, Pinedale, WY 82941 Phone 307-367-3203