Program Blog for June 21 - July 02, 2023

June 21, 2023

Benvenut! Bienvenue!

Welcome to TTN Cities That Shaped Europe!

We are looking forward to sharing our European adventures with you. Join us for the next 12 days as we explore Europe’s landmarks, make our own pizzas, serve the community in Paris, learn history, and experience culture.

Our group is looking forward to exploring legacies left behind by others, learning or practicing other languages, and growing as travelers of the world.

All of our group arrived by 7 pm today. We got acquainted at the airport, waiting for our new friends to arrive by playing a competitive game of UNO. We shared a delicious meal of typical Roman food. The chef was excited to prepare this authentic cuisine for our travelers.

After dinner, we played icebreaker games and became better acquainted. They are excited to make new friends and begin our European journey.

It’s already a pleasure to know our group.

The TTN Team,
Gina, Marie, and Thomas

June 22, 2023

Written by Jessica and Mason – Leaders of the Day

Today, we visited Piazza del Popolo where we did some shopping and a guided city tour to see features such as the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.

We also had a group discussion about the goals we set for ourselves on this trip and what we may find difficult about the trip.

Ending the day off with dinner, we got to make our own pizza from making the dough to the toppings, which was a really cool experience.

June 23, 2023

Written by Phil and Alex

Today we woke up early at 7 AM, quickly had a luxurious breakfast at the hotel, then efficiently took a private bus at 8:00 to see the Colosseum. Inside the Colosseum were many sculptures and statues. It is also an ancient amphitheater that was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as animal hunts, mock sea battles, and executions. For the Colosseum visit,

I’d say it was a great experience for everyone. We had a lot of fun and learned about the history of the place. Even though it was hot, it was a good morning activity and I felt as if it gave me energy to go on throughout the rest of the day.

The afternoon of the day was equally interesting. After a filling pizza-oriented lunch, we went to the heart of modern Catholicism – the Vatican City. Beyond the interesting nature of this city-state and the stunning Baroque architecture, touring the Musei Vaticani, or the Vatican Museums, allowed us to inspect the intricate details of the Roman sculptures and frescos in closer detail.

No matter if it is the delicate patterns of the mosaic floor, the gilded statue of Hercules, or learning about both the witty and darker sides of the church, we immersed ourselves in this palace of endless wonders despite the heat. Followed by observing the majestic works of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel in silence.

Then we took a brisk walk to the front of St. Peter’s Basilica. The busy yet fruitful day ended with dinner in the hotel as we prepared to depart for Paris.

June 25, 2023

Written by Alexa and Szava

Today, on Sunday, June 25th, we woke up early to take a bus to the Eiffel Tower. When we got there, we couldn’t believe how magnificent the tower was. After waiting a bit, we took the elevator to the very top to witness the breathtaking view of Paris below.

Then for lunch, we walked past the Arc de Triomphe, stopping at a supermarket to buy our food. We had a picnic where we shared baguettes and enjoyed the outdoors.

For our last activity, we boarded a river cruise and observed the historic buildings along the Seine. Later, we went back to the hotel for dinner and had discussions about our Paris experience. In addition, we explored what it means to be a traveler versus a tourist.

June 27, 2023

Written by Ava and Emma

Today we were able to spend our morning giving back to the city of Paris through volunteering. We worked with a charity organization to prepare and hand out food and supplies to beneficiaries experiencing homelessness in Paris. It was extremely rewarding to talk with the beneficiaries and learn about immigration topics prevalent in France.

In the afternoon, we toured the Louvre Museum. I loved seeing all the art the Louvre had to offer – from Egyptian sarcophagi to the Mona Lisa, I was amazed by every room. The beautiful people and art we experienced today made it a memorable one!

June 28, 2023

Written by Rachel and Brooke

Today, we stepped into the wonderfully expensive and lavish shoes of the one and only Marie Antoinette as we explored the intricate Palace of Versailles. Inside the Baroque walls of the castle, we were in awe, mainly at how much walking the residents and workers were subjected to. We walked the halls of history, stopping in the bedchambers of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, the different portrait rooms, and all the busts of famous French people throughout the summer castle.

After stopping to take a multitude of photos in the Hall of Mirrors, we made our way to the equally brilliant, lush gardens Louis XIV to Louis XVI called home during the hot Parisian summers.

Walking through the maze of shrubbery and hedges was absolutely breathtaking, along with the knowledge that influential people once strolled the same paths we found ourselves on. The multitude of fountains and pathways kept us always on our toes and never bored.

The magnanimity of this palace provided us with a firsthand reason as to why the French Revolution sprouted, the rich living in the lap of the luxury on this wondrous property, while the rest were stuck in poverty on the streets.

After leaving the Palace, we headed over to Montmartre. Upon arrival, we walked up around 100 steps to see a beautiful view of all of Paris from the steps of Sacré-Cœur (we could even see our hotel from all the way across the city). After taking a minute to catch our breath from walking the steep steps, we all split up into smaller groups and went shopping all around the neighborhood. Stopping at small boutiques and cafes was the perfect way to unwind after spending our mornings walking throughout the infinite gardens of Versailles.

Being able to shop and unwind was the perfect way for every one of us to round out our trip to Paris and we’re so excited to be headed to London tomorrow afternoon.

June 29, 2023

Written by Ava and Emma

We started the day with a guided tour of the Tower of London by a Beefeater. We learned about the history of the area, buildings, and the different jobs and requirements a Beefeater is expected to fill. Many important figures have lived, died, and spent time within those walls.

Next we went to the Tate Modern. It is a modern art museum near the Thames. Ava enjoyed a tower of radios playing at the same time. This sculpture demonstrates the overuse of media. Emma enjoyed the different creative films, specifically a series telling the story of the crusades from the perspective of Arab historians. These stories are told by using 200-year-old marionette dolls.

In the evening we went to a West End Show. It was Wicked! Some people in the group had never seen The Wizard of Oz, so the night before, we had put on our own play of it. Wicked was a super fun experience. Emma and Ava had both seen it when they were younger, but this time it was a lot more understandable.

This was a great first day in London!

Signing off!

July 1, 2023

Blog by Leader of the Day, John

We woke up promptly at 7:30, ate breakfast at the hotel, and quickly made our way to the subway. After getting off at Green Park, we met our tour guide, who would lead us on a wonderful and informative tour of the Westminster area. We were able to see sites such as Westminster Abbey, Parliament, and of course Buckingham Palace, all while receiving extremely interesting historical facts from our great guide. We could also observe a key part of the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony, as well as get some gorgeous views of the city of London. And of course, one of those magnificent views was of the massive clock tower, more commonly referred to as Big Ben. Overall, it was truly a wonderful tour filled with wonderful information regarding the historic city that is London.

Reflections by Leader of the Day, Rachel

What do you hear?

Sitting here typing this, I hear life. I’m surrounded by someone or something’s everyday life. I hear the sound of laughter as a friend recalls a funny memory over a pint. I hear the sound of cars making their way to the store to pick up a loaf of bread. I hear the sound of trucks and busses transporting visitors who will hear the same sounds of life I will. I hear the wind making its rounds through the trees tickling my arms. I hear the sound of voices passing by gossiping about the previous summer. I hear life.

What do you see?

I see the dark gloomy clouds threatening to spill over our heads. I see the trees, full of life and sharing their beauty with me. I see water, moving only because the wind forces it to. I see cars making their way downtown to complete whatever errands that are needed to be accomplished through the day. I see a pub overlooking the almost still water. I see people with smiles on their faces as they enjoy their time. I see walks of life so different from my own yet they all move into one.