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Fascinating Memorable Lifetime AdventureTulips sent to us from the Netherlands that we planted in our school's front garden beds in November 2009 are an annual reminder of our beloved connection between our two countries…
Honouring our Canadian soldiers and veterans was the highlight of the 65th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day B Liberation of the Netherlands National Student Tour that 19 students and 14 adults celebrated with 2700 Canadian students, teachers, parents and veterans in May 2010. We walked in the footsteps of soldiers throughout World War I and II battlefields in Vimy, Beaumont-Hamel, Juno Beach in France, Ypres in Belgium and in Groesbeek, Netherlands. Our students and staff moderators researched Canadian soldiers who died in battle, created the Hands across the Generations Austin quilt /flag and participated in silent marches and candlelight ceremonies on the Netherlands= Memorial and Liberation Days, May 5 and 6th in Groesbeek and Wageningen. On May 7th Holocaust Memorial Day in Amsterdam, we toured the Portuguese Synagogue, Dutch Theatre, Jewish Historical Museum, Auschwitz Memorial and Anne Frank Huis. A powerful emotional experience affected all of us when we toured Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the Nazi’s model camp which set the standard for all those to follow.
Other sites we visited included Versailles, Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Het Loo Palais in Apeldoorn, Groesbeek Liberation Centre, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Bebelplatz, Charlotte Palace, Checkpoint Charlie and Pergamonmuseum.
Another first occurred on May 9th, when we were part of the 600 member group to ever participate in a reconciliation ceremony at the Berlin War Cemetery hosted by Joint Chiefs of Defence from Germany and Canada. Our Chief of Defence, Walter Natynczyk, addressed us and visited with all the groups.
Warm greetings, heartfelt thanks and hugs from the Dutch participants in the parades and those along the routes who wore our Canada pins, waved our flag and sang ‘O Canada’ with us are the memories we will cherish most!
Lest we never forget!
EF tours was supremely organized, efficient, most accomodating ... transporations, hotels, meals, flights top notch ... all of us felt as if
we were part of a large family experiencing
these lifechanging events together...
Can't wait for VIMY 2012!
A Profound ExperienceThis trip permitted me and my peers an amazing experience. Although we were very interested in history this tour also gave us a chance to visit a unique and culturally different area of the world. I was amazed at the friendliness of almost everyone we met and of how much history their countries hold. We went to all the historical we possibly could, including many that were not on the itinerary but that our tour guide (who was amazing!!) managed to fit in for us. It was an overwhelming experience and given the chance I would most definitely go on another trip with EF tours. It left me with the feeling that history is not forgotten and the truth that Remembrance day means more than I thought. I and my peers unanimously agreed that Remembrance Day will never be the same. I want to thank EF tours for giving me the opportunity to meet new cultures and grasp a better understanding my history, by actually being where many historical events took place.
Amazing and Educational ExperienceMy daughter found the 2009 Victory Tour a to be very enriching experience. She was particularily impressed with the Netherlands, as the local people were so appreciative of being liberated by the allies during the second world war.
We as parents thought the Victory Tour was very well organized. All steps were well explained and we had no worries in terms of safety with our daughter going.
The locations visited were very emotional moving for our daughter and will forever be a memory. Also, the stories that were shared with the rest of our family will have a lasting impression.
Overall this was a very enriching experience and I would encourage others to partake in this educational tour.
Life Changing experienceI really enjoyed the trip. I was mostly blown away by all the sites we got to see in such little time. However, there were portions of the trip that I disliked. All free time periods for shopping were always either given on sundays or holidays ( when many stores were closed) this was frustrating and the food served for dinner wasn't always satifying and sometimes was very unappetizing. Other that the trip was well planned so basically all the events planned were completed. I really overall did enjoy my trip!
In the Footsteps of HistoryIn April/May of 2010 I was lucky enough to take part in the VE Paris to Berlin Tour with 37 students from my high school. Being able to travel with classmates and friends, seeing things I hadn't seen before made the trip one of those "life" experiences you never forget! Great organization and great tour guides from EF made the trip worry-free, educational and exciting; the accomodation was great, travel was comfortable and fun. Sitting in a classroom reading and talking about the wars in Europe is one way to learn; touring the battle sites and graveyards in Europe with EF is another way...the best way! I walked in the footsteps of history...
I learned more than any history book written!Not only did I get to meet more students from my school, I met peers from so many other provinces!
We attended many ceremonies at war cemeteries to pay our deepest respects and the highlight for me was being able to find the Wing Commander that my Air Cadet squadron is named after. No one has done that yet, not even the Officers!!!
The other amazing part was attending a special ceremony at a cemetery in Holland with our PM and Holland's PM!! I got to sit in the front row of chairs closest to the PM's and was interviewed by the Canadian National Media and was broadcast back home all over Canada! What a great present for my dad because it was his birthday that day I got interviewed and couldn't be home with him in person!! You can imagine that phone call home telling him that news!!
This trip was something I'll carry with my for the rest of my life. I have many pictures to show for it and am looking forward to the Vimy Ridge 2012 trip.
I am thankful for this trip and to the organizers.
Keep them coming for future students :)
Fast but GreatThe trip was a great way to see some of Europe, through guided tours. However, sometimes it would have been nice to spend kore time in certain places. For a high school trip, this was very well planned and went smoothly.
My EF ExperienceMy tour from Paris to Berlin was something I will always remember. I have always been a huge history buff, and enjoyed learning about the war, and the advancements we have made, not only in technology but also as people.
Being able to see and climb all the stairs of the Eiffle Tower - and my god, did my legs hurt after - seeing the Palace of Versailles and the Notre Dame in Paris were all amazing. Going to Amsterdam, was for most of us, one of the better places visited, for odvious reasons.
But for me, three parts of this tour stood out, and impacted me more then any of the others.
One was the parade we did, walking through with my school flag was such an honor but wearing the red Canadian jacket and having little kids, adults and veterans shake my hand, blow kisses and ask for high-fives was such an incredible experience, and beyond touching. The second was the visit to the Concentration camp at Sachsenhausen was an experience that was both terrifying and enlightening; to see where they slept, worked, and for many, were killed was upsetting and horrifying, to think humans could be so cruel towards eachother.The last, and most important to me was find my Great Uncle Reginald Mutton in the cemetery in Beny Sur Mer; placing the reunion and regiment pendants at my Great Uncles head stone, as well at the tiny popsicle stick cross caused an emotional breakdown that I didn't expect to happen. Being the first from my family to see him and his final resting place made me feel inadequete and for the first time during the trip, I really missed my parents and wanted them there with me.
I will always remember this trip, and will always be thankful for this experience, memories and pictures I was able to bring back for my family. Thank you, Ef for the opprotunity and the work you did for us all, it truly was a life altering event.
Some of the best memories our son will cherish!!!How do you put into words an experience of a lifetime. Our son has experienced one of the most powerful historical events of time....the repercussions of war and all those who were part of it. He was overwhelmed with understanding, surprise, thank you's of all the events that took place on the tour. He learned a lot, met wonderful people, saw beautiful towns/cities. Their tour guide was a wealth of knowlege, language and he was a funfilled companion. The took a thousand pictures..no exageration. The experience of walking the 3 km in silence to the graveyard on Rememberance Day, was overwhelming for him. The gratitude he felt by the Dutch was very touching and exciting. The tour organization was top notch, food was good, safety was never an issue. As parents, we were continually in the loop with the student experiences, travelling timelines etc. It truly was the experience of a lifetime for our son. He still talks about his trip to all our relatives and friends and wishes to return in years to come to the places he has seen. It truly was a lifetime experience, being part of the special Anniversary celebration.
Life ChangingMy son went on the trip and came back knowing so much more than when he left! He matured and gained experiences of people and places. This type of history means a lot to my son, and the VE Tour was exactly what he wanted to do in order to "give thanks to all of those who fought for our country." How could I have said no to that rationale for going on a school trip?! I am very happy to report that the experience was life changing and more than we expected. Thank you EF Tours!