Sydney Fournier Spends One Week in Europe


Sydney Fournier, Junior, standing in front of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, France.

Jacob Chaimovitch, Editor

While many SWHS students went on a trip to Europe over the April Vacation time, Junior Sydney Fournier had the unique opportunity to go to Europe the week afterward; the reason being that she was unaware of the SWHS trip at the time and decided to sign up for the Woodstock Academy trip. The trip she went on took her to Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, France, and Spain in that order and Fournier said she was extra excited for the trip because it was her first time traveling outside of the United States.

Fournier’s first stop on the trip was the country of Switzerland, where she visited Zurich on the first day and Lucerne on the second. While in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, she and the group she was with went on a walking tour around the town and learned about its history, landmarks, and other information. After the tour concluded, Fournier was given free time to explore the town on her own before having lunch. After lunch was a trip 40 minutes south to Lucerne. While Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city, Lucerne is Switzerland’s most populous. The group also got a short walking tour of the city before retiring at their hotel in Emmetten, a town 25 minutes southeast. The group went back to Lucerne for the beginning of day 2 and ended up staying there the whole day. While in the town, she visited landmarks like the Lion of Lucerne and the Chapel Bridge over the River Reuss. After having a bite to eat, Fournier got the opportunity to walk the Swiss Alps mountain range. Fournier said this was “a very unique experience. We took a gondola up to the top and on the way up we passed straight through clouds, which was something I’ve never done before”. Unfortunately for the group, it wasn’t a clear sunny day. According to Fournier’s tour guide, they would’ve been able to see all the way to Spain solely off of their view.

After sleeping in their hotel in Emmetten, the group made the drive to Italy’s Lake Como, where they had a boat tour with a boat guide who only spoke Italian. After spending free time in the area, Fournier and the group retired at their hotel in Ameglia, where they would spend another night. The next day, Fournier hopped on a train and made a two-hour train ride to Cinque Terre, which translates to ‘Five Lands’ because of the five villages that make up the town. With her free time, Fournier chose to spend time in Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. Fournier said that her favorite of the three was Monterosso al Mare because there was a beach she went to and she said, “it was so relaxing just to sit on the beach and take a breath”. Dinner and another night at the hotel in Ameglia rounded out the Italian portion of the trip.

After spending about half a day driving to and spending some time exploring the small country of Monaco, which is just under 500 acres big, Fournier went to France. Her first stop was Nice, where she went on a walking tour before going shopping and walking along a beach. The next day was spent in the city of Saint Paul de Vence. According to Fournier,

Fournier’s view of the beach in Monterosso al Mare in Cinque Terre, Italy.

the highlight was walking along the wall that borders the city and plenty of shopping among the stores. Afterward, the group drove to Avignon, where they had a guided tour of the city and another one as they walked through the Palais des Papes. After more free time in Avignon, the group went to their hotel for the night. The next day was spent in Pont de Gard, which is an archway that stretches over the Gardon River. Fournier spent her given free time walking to the beach area and relaxing there. After driving the 30 minutes to nearby Nîmes, the group took a walking tour of the city and Fournier spent her free time getting some yarn and knitting needles, going to Jardins de la Fontaine, or ‘Gardens of the Fountain’, and knitted. She said it was a nostalgic moment for her because “[she] used to knit more when I was younger because I had more time, but now I don’t have as much free time as I used to…it was so peaceful”. After a night at the hotel, Fournier and the group went to Carcassonne for some free walking before taking the three-and-a-half hour drive to Barcelona, Spain.

Spending a day and a half in Barcelona was a very jam-packed trip. The half-day portion involved a solo tour that Fournier did herself. She also went into one of the churches and even biked around the beach and Parc de la Ciutadella.

Fournier’s view of a pond from Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain.

In the final portion of the trip, the group stayed in Barcelona. They started by going to Park Güell through a bus tour. After the bus tour and lunch, the group took a tour of La Sagrada Familia, a large but unfinished Catholic church that has been around since 1882 and roughly translates to ‘The Sacred Family’ in English. Rounding out the trip to Europe was a walk around FC Barcelona’s stadium, Camp Nou. FC Barcelona is one of Spain’s top football clubs alongside Real Madrid CF and Atlético Madrid and Camp Nou has been the battleground for so many infamous matches over many many years.

The final day of the trip technically wasn’t a trip to anywhere, but it did involve a plane trip from Barcelona to Munich to Boston, then a drive back to Woodstock Academy where she was picked up by her parents. She described the overall trip as “An experience I will never forget. I made so many new friends and some incredible memories.”