Mark Twain in his sardonic way remarked, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
Travel broadens our minds and teaches us new perspectives. The Students and Teachers of Dr. Pillai Global Academy, New Panvel decided to consciously cultivate international-mindedness and broaden their mental vistas by embarking on a trip to Europe in September, 2018.
Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Istanbul were the places on the itinerary.
The Paris sojourn carved wonderful memories of a river cruise, the breath-taking views from the Eiffel Tower, buying souvenirs there were moments of joy and wonder.
The Louvre lived up to its name as the repository, a veritable treasure house of paintings representing all periods of European art from the 15th to the 19th century that is unsurpassed in the world, boasting of many masterpieces by Italian Renaissance painters, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and works by Flemish and Dutch painters in its collection.
Strolling up the MontMartre Hill and riding the funicular to the top, gazing at the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, roaming around the Artisans Village, getting portraits done by artists there, created memories that would remain life-long. Walking along the Champs Elyssees, clicking photographs at the Arc de Triumph, walking past world-famous fashion houses and savouring the delights of the delicious French cuisine were other beautiful memories created at Paris.
Travelling by road from Paris to Brussels enabled the students and the teachers to observe the countryside and many glimpses of little European towns and villages. The chocolate making workshop at the world-famous Concept Chocolate factory in Brussels helped create sweet memories in more ways than one! This was not the only experience at Brussels.
Learning to make a rocket and actually launching it successfully left the students ecstatic at applying theory to practice. The tram rides, the quaint houses and cobbled courtyards of Brussels evoked different responses from the travellers.
Visiting the House of European History in leafy Parc Léopold, helped debunk myths and gain fresh insights into the chaos and cohesion of 20th century European History and contemplate its future.
The next leg of the journey again, by coach to Amsterdam was interspersed with loud exclamations at the sight of the verdant countryside and the huge windmills that are associated in everyone’s minds with Netherlands. In Amsterdam a visit to the Yakult factory that makes probiotic drinks helped students gain practical knowledge of different processes involved in production, the reasons for locating the factory there all added to the practical understanding of business management concepts learned by the students in school theoretically.
A walking tour of Amsterdam the capital of Netherland, opened the eyes of the teachers and students to its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades – all legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age.
The students loved the visit to the Van Gogh Museum with the opportunities it afforded to marvel at the original works of the great artist himself. The numerous bike paths and the wide-spread use of cycles as a way to control pollution and conserve scarce energy resources were real eye-openers to the DPGA-ians who felt astonished to see even aged people happily cycling around everywhere. The students felt that India could very well inculcate this attitude of each one caring for the environment.
The flight from Schiphol airport got delayed and missing the connecting flight from Istanbul to Mumbai, left the students elated at having an extra day at Istanbul and a chance to see the sights there. Returning back to Mumbai was a bitter-sweet experience, with all the trip members feeling dismay at having to part after being so close for so many days and having collectively piled up such incredible memories.