From Swiss lakes and mountain vistas to German castles and cathedrals, Flying Jayhawks embark on ‘Great Journey’

Posted on Sep 23, 2013 in Alumni News and News

Touted by tour operator Thomas P. Gohagan & Company as “The Great Journey Through Europe,” the Flying Jayhawks’ trip of Sept. 4 to 16 through Switzerland, France and Germany faced a huge challenge to live up to its billing.

As the 12 Jayhawk travelers and KU Alumni Association staff host Chris Lazzarino discovered to their great delight, their journey through the heart of Europe was indeed great, and then some.

After arrival at Zurich, the trip began with two days and nights in fabulous Lucerne, Switzerland. Based from the lakefront Hotel Schweizerhof, whose rooms each feature unique tributes to famous guests who have stayed in them, the Jayhawks toured Lucerne and its towering neighbor, Mount Pilatus, by foot, motor coach, two gondolas, the world’s steepest cog railway and ferry.

From Lucerne it was onward and upward to the swank Alpine resort of Zermatt, via the world-famous Glacier Express. Though Matterhorn vistas were shrouded by clouds and mist, the Jayhawks still took in unrivaled mountain scenery as they ascended the 10,000-foot Gornergrat aboard Europe’s highest cog railway, the Gornergrat Bahn.

After relishing sun-drenched views of Switzerland’s highest peak, Monte Rosa, and other looming mountains that envelop Gorner Glacier, some of the Jayhawks chose to hike downhill back to Zermatt while others returned aboard the train, ready to tackle adventures that awaited in the Swiss gems Interlaken and Berne and just over the French border in Strasbourg, where they boarded the luxurious MS Swiss Crown for a seven-day cruise down the Rhine River Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

With day tours of Heidelberg, Mainz, Rudesheim, Boppard (where the KU group bumped into two Kansas City Jayhawks wearing KU gear during their own Rhine tour), Koblenz, Cochem, Linz, Cologne and Bonn, as well as river cruising past stunning arrays of medieval castles and picturesque villages that flank the Rhine, Jayhawks peeled back Europe’s layers of history and intrigue and discovered for themselves links between the ancient and modern that helped form today’s Western civilization.

“The Great Journey Through Europe,” now among the most popular annual offerings of the Alumni Association’s Flying Jayhawks travel program, always fills quickly. Contact coordinator Tegan Thornberry at 800-584-2957 or visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks and begin dreaming about the great journey that awaits you.

–Chris Lazzarino

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