Traveling Tegs: Flying Jayhawks embark on ‘Great Journey Through Europe’

Posted on Jul 27, 2017 in Alumni News and News

A group of Jayhawks from across the U.S. took on the “Great Journey Through Europe“, an eleven-day trip from June 15-25. Included in the group was Tegan Thornberry, director of membership and business development. Here’s her account of the cross-country trip.Matterhorn

Day 1 & 2

We arrived in Geneva, Switzerland and enjoyed a scenic transfer to Zermatt. The afternoon was spent settling into the Hotel Alex and meeting everyone at our first group dinner. The next day was open for us to explore at our leisure and take the Gornergrat Bahn railway up to view the Matterhorn. We lucked out with a beautiful clear view of the peaks of the Swiss Alps and the Matterhorn. Some of our more adventurous passengers even hiked down from one of the last rail stops back to town.

Day 3

Off to Lucerne! We loaded up to Andermatt on the Glacial Express, the slowest high-speed train i’ve ever seen. A quick lunch break at the Hotel Drei Konig before loading on the buses to check into the beautiful Hotel Schweizerhof in Lucerne. For dinner, a group of KanBraska (we combined with the group from the Nebraska Alumni Association frequently) enjoyed a traditional Swiss fondue outing.

Day 4

The 14th century wooden Chapel Bridge highlighted today during our morning walking tour of Lucerne. Armed with two sets of Gondolas, we reached our next stop: the top of Mt. Pilatus. We enjoyed a three-course lunch with a view and some free time to explore before heading back down the mountain via the world’s steepest cogwheel railway.Germany

Day 5

We continued our trip to Basel to board our Rhine River cruise, but not before a scenic stop in Bern at the botanical gardens high above the city. Lunch was at the Kornhaus Keller Restaurant followed by a walking tour of Bern. It was a hot day for sure, but it was an interesting city and the number of fountains with potable water came in handy: not a given in Europe!

Day 6

This morning at breakfast, we were surprised by a ransom note. Some of our cutout Jayhawks had gone missing! They were being held captive by one of our Nebraska neighbors, but which one? We continued our day with a walking tour in Strasbourg, France. That evening we had a number of Jayhawks living aboard join us on the ship for a reception. We had three alumni who attended graduate school at KU: g’68, g’90, and g’08 graduates. The hours flew by sharing stories of our time on the Hill. I’m not sure which group enjoyed it more, the Flying Jayhawks travelers, or the Jayhawks living in Germany! We love being able to connect Jayhawks around the world.

Day 7

Today was all about a city tour of the Heidelberg and its landmark castle. The fortress is 700 years old, sits 70 meters above the Neckar river, and houses the biggest wine barrel in the world. At night, we set sail to Rudesheim. Before our day ended, we got our Jayhawks returned to us along with another note! It would take me a couple of more days to figure out who exactly was behind the capture.

Day 8

All aboard the Winzerexpress! We loaded up on two trains and went through town and through the vineyard, ending at the tasting cellar. Prost! It was an entertaining demonstration by the Vineyard owner. As fun as the vineyard was, we had to get to Koblenz for a tour. Much of the city was closed off for a charity race that day with over 7,000 runners. We still enjoyed the walking tour and took advantage of some free time before sailing to Cologne.

Cathedral

Day 9

Day 9 marked our last day on the ship. Our stops included a walking tour of Cologne, and small group visit to its famous Cathedral. This evening we gathered for the Captain’s Farewell reception and dinner. On this last day, we found out the culprit behind the hostage Jayhawks was a sweet woman from Nebraska named Nancy. She celebrated her 80th birthday on the trip and was the last person I would guess to be behind the mischief.

A number of our passengers participated in the Amsterdam extension, but it was time for me to head home and back to work. It was a great journey full of laughs with great Jayhawks. Thanks to all who came, and I hope you can join us on our next adventure!

Our Flying Jayhawks!

—Tegan Thornberry, or “Traveling Tegs” as she’s affectionately known around the office, serves as director of membership and business development and hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip “Timeless Treasures.” She also brings cookies to the office every Tuesday. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the new 2018 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.

Watch our slideshow below to see more pictures from this trip, or view them on Flickr.

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Jayhawks explore ‘Timeless Treasures’ of the Mediterranean

Posted on Jun 6, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Scenery from the Timeless Treasures cruise in the Mediterranean Sea | Flying Jayhawks
A group of 30 Jayhawks from across the U.S. explored the Mediterranean on a seven-day cruise from April 28-May 6.

We began our journey in Athens, Greece– embarking on the ship headed to two of the Cyclades group of islands. First stop, Mykonos.

Travelers selected from a number of excursions this day. More than half the group explored the ruins on the small island of Delos, just off the island of Mykonos. The lions of Apollo guard this island, and a number of intricate mosaics are still intact.

The rest of the group explored Mykonos, famous for white homes with blue shutters and the iconic windmills. The maze-like streets, originally designed to ward of pirate attacks, offered a variety of shops and restaurants.

Mosaic in Delos, from the Timeless Treasures Flying Jayhawks cruise in the Mediterranean

Our next port of call was the island of Santorini, which offered picturesque views of the white cave homes and blue domes. We visited the quieter town of Oia before heading to the more well-known capital of Fira. Cobblestone streets wind between shops and cafes with stunning views.

After cruising a day at sea, we made it to our next destination. Malta is a small island nestled to the south of Sicily and north of Africa. The Dingli cliffs provided breath-taking views. Tours included visiting catacombs and the village of Rabat, and we spent our free time in the capital of Valletta, accessible by elevator from the harbor.

Sicily means “Land of the Godfather.” The largest island in Mediterranean is notable serving as the backdrop of a number of scenes in the “Godfather” movies. Sicily was its own country for centuries before the Italian unification in 1860. It is still home to a proud culture, and residents identify more strongly as Sicilian rather than Italian.

Scenery from the Timeless Treasures cruise in the Mediterranean | Flying Jayhawks

Our last stop was Sorrento, Italy. My high school Latin teacher, Mr. Wilson, would be so proud and excited I was able to visit Pompeii! It was fascinating to walk around a town that has been uncovered after being preserved by the volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius. I found it so interesting to see how Roman life was frozen in time.

We disembarked in Rome. A number of our passengers stayed on in Rome, but it was time for me to travel home. It was a fantastic week with some amazing people. Some I have traveled with in the past, and others I hope travel with us again in the future.

Until next time, arrivederci!

—Tegan Thornberry, or “Traveling Tegs” as she’s affectionately known around the office, serves as director of membership and business development and hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip “Timeless Treasures.” She also brings cookies to the office every Tuesday. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the new 2018 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.

PHOTOS:
Watch the slideshow below to see photos from the trip, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr. Photos may be downloaded for personal use.

Flying Jayhawks 2017: Timeless Treasures

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Flying Jayhawks not the only birds in Antarctica

Posted on Apr 5, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Flying Jayhawks in AntarcticaA group of seven Jayhawks traveled to Antarctica for the trip of a lifetime Feb. 9-22, 2017.

The seventh continent is truly the most remarkable of all. Every view is magnificent and no two are similar. Since the Jayhawk flock traveled during the Antarctic summer, it was not as cold as one might think, and thanks to the suggestions of the tour company, they were well prepared.

If you have forgotten what serenity means in this world of constant communication, you will find it in Antarctica. With no telephone, television, or internet connection available, the group took time to watch seals float by on ice patches and see 2000-pound “adolescent” seals yawn in the sunshine. They meet another kind of bird—the famous penguins— and saw birds fishing and gliding during sunrise and sunset. Whales helped guide the ship through narrow passages.

According to Kay Brada, c’61, it was the trip of a lifetime. “But if you are into museums, churches, coffee shops and gift shops, this isn’t the trip for you,” she said, adding that travelers should put this trip at the top of the bucket list.

The trip was hosted by Tegan Thornberry, assistant director of membership and business development. Watch the slideshow below to see photos of Antarctica’s breathtaking beauty, or click here to view the pictures on Flickr. Travelers are welcome to download photos for personal use.

Flying Jayhawks 2017: Antarctica

Travel the world with fellow Jayhawks! For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks. The 2018 travel schedule will be available soon.

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Traveling Tegs takes on the Grand Danube Passage

Posted on Nov 2, 2016 in Alumni News and News

The two-week “Grand Danube Passage” journey featured eight countries and 13 towns, with a mix of land and river travel. Tegan Thormberry, assistant director of membership and business development, shares more about the trip in our latest Flying Jayhawks post.
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When building the Flying Jayhawks schedule, there is usually a Danube River cruise on it. The trips offer interesting itineraries and get rave reviews. This year, I was fortunate to be able to experience it myself, and it did not disappoint: eight countries in 14 days with a mix of land travel and cruising the Danube River.

Czech Republic: We spent the first three nights in Prague, and our time in the city included visits to the Prague Castle, the Old Town Square, Clock Tower, Charles Bridge, and the Jewish Quarter, along with plenty of time for independent exploration. One day we made our way to the Dancing House designed by Frank Gehry. A fun dessert we saw on every block is called a trdelnik: it consists of dough roasted over hot coals, then covered in sugar. Eat it plain or fill it with a choice of toppings; I enjoyed it with gelato.

Germany: During the bus ride from Prague to Passau, we listened to an interesting talk given by one of our AHI travel directors. She grew up in Germany and gave a detailed account of her experience, the impact of communism and the economy afterward. Passau is a picturesque town with cobblestones painted in Jayhawk colors leading to local shops. We visited St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where we could see some of the mason’s marks on the stonework of the church.

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Austria: Cities on our itinerary included Melk, Durnstein and Vienna. We were some of the first visitors of the day to the Melk’s Benedictine abbey. The baroque design and artifacts inside were impressive. We spent the afternoon on a walking tour of Durnstein with a stop at the magnificent Stiftskirche. We visited Vienna on a beautiful sunny day and enjoyed a walking tour in the morning and free time in the afternoon. A few of us went to the Sacher hotel for a lunch of goulash and the famous Sacher-torte for dessert! In the evening we had a nice get-together with the group and the ship captain stopped by to say hello.

Slovakia: In Bratislava, passengers had a choice of excursions. We learned about the Velvet Revolution and the end of communism in Czechoslovakia that lead to the split into two countries. A walking tour ended at a local café to sample local beers along with a delicious biscuit that is a cross between a biscuit and pretzel roll filled with bacon. It was the perfect pairing to go along with the beer.
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Hungary: We toured Budapest, Pecs and Paprika. In Budapest the majority of our group chose the Living Local excursion, which began with a guided tour of the Great Market hall and ended with a sampling of strudel and palinka. The market was filled with cured meats, goose liver, palinka, and paprika! Before our strudel sampling, market staff demonstrated how the dough is stretched over a table and then rolled to get all the amazing layers. We primarily toured the Pest side of the city. I went out in the afternoon to see Buda up on the hill with amazing views of the Parliament building.

Serbia: The group enjoyed a tour of Belgrade and visited the fortress in Karadordev Park and the massive St. Sava cathedral. That evening we were treated to a local folk show on the ship.

Romania: We cruised through the Iron Gate Gorge and saw the rock sculpture of Decebalus. After a scenic drive to Orsova, we took in a live organ concert at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. John Lennon and Nadia Comaneci are depicted in scenes of the Stations of the Cross by the artist Gabriel Popa.
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Bulgaria: In Vidin we disembarked the ship and took a quick rainy tour before transferring to Sofia. Along the way we stopped and had lunch at the Rocks restaurant and enjoyed the stunning views of the Belogradchik Rocks. As we continued on to Sofia, we drove past fields of sunflowers that reminded me of home. Our last full day in Sofia was spent checking out ancient ruins, St. George Rotunda, and the Cathedral of St. Alexander of Neva. The farewell dinner was held at a local restaurant high on the hill with traditional Bulgarian food and a folk show.

It was such an educational trip and an amazing way to see and experience different cultures with a group of Jayhawks. I couldn’t have asked for better company.  I can’t wait for my next Traveling Tegs adventure!

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Tegan Thornberry, or “Traveling Tegs” as she’s affectionately known around the office, serves as assistant director of membership and co-hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip to the Grand Danube Passage in August. She also brings cookies every Tuesday. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the 2017 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.

Watch our slideshow below to see more pictures from this trip, or view them on Flickr.

Flying Jayhawks 2016: Danube

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Traveling Tegs | Flying Jayhawks discover Alaska’s natural beauty

Posted on Sep 23, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Flying Jayhawks visit Alaska
My trip to Southeast Alaska was an adventure that didn’t disappoint. Once I landed in Sitka, we hit the ground running. I met up with Flying Jayhawks passengers who participated in the Denali National Park pre-trip option, and we joked that they were the last Jayhawks to see Mount McKinley. (The original name of Mount Denali was reinstated on August 30.)

There were four fellow Jayhawks on my trip: they were all good friends in college who still kept in touch. One couple met in the KU Marching Band; the men were members of the same fraternity and the women were sorority sisters while at KU. It was a lot of fun being able to spend time with them and see bonds that were first made on Mount Oread.

Flying Jayhawks visit Alaska

We watched a private Alaskan Native Tlingit performance from the Naa Kahidi Dancers before taking a ferry ride to embark on our ship, the Admiralty Dream. Our first day, we sailed the waters of Icy Strait to pick up our National Park Ranger and our Hoonah Tlingit Cultural Heritage Guide. They shared local stories and information about the area’s native inhabitants and the natural history and wildlife. We spotted sea lions, puffins, mountain goats, and a variety of birds on our way to see the stunning Margerie Glacier.

Next up we hiked Shaw Island on what they call a typical ‘silver’ Alaskan day, which means overcast, cold, and raining. The only stop we made at an actual dock was in Juneau where we visited Mendendall Glacier and hiked up to Nugget Falls. The rest of the afternoon was spent walking through downtown Juneau shopping, eating, and viewing the Sealaska Heritage exhibit. That evening brought an unexpected treat of whale watching. We saw humpback whales in close proximity, and one performed for us with pectoral waves. Then, just a short distance away, we saw a small pod of Orcas, or killer wales, including a large bull and a few females with calves.

Finally we had sun! Beginning with our trip to Tracy Arm, it was beautiful sunny weather for the rest of our trip. With the expert navigational skills of the Captain, we came within an eighth of a mile of the South Sawyer Glacier, which is the closest the boat came to the face of the Glacier out of fourteen trips this summer. No glacier calving, but we saw icebergs, growlers, and bergy bits (the size of ice that break off of the glaciers from largest to smallest).

Once we turned around, we stopped in Icy Falls to kayak and others went on a D.I.B. (Demaree Inflatable Boats) ride along the shore lines. The inflatable boats were the main way we were able to reach land—the areas we visited were so remote they either didn’t have a dock or there was a small area just large enough for the inflatable boats. Hidden Falls Hatchery, which seemed like a less-than-exciting attraction in the beginning, became one of the more interesting sights.

Flying Jayhawks visit Alaska

During our trip, we learned a lot about different types of salmon and how they migrate upstream to lay their eggs. We pulled up to the hatchery to see the pools of fish—and we saw bears. And not just a couple, but about twelve brown bears. No one from Orbridge or the ship had said anything about seeing bears on the trip, so it came as a complete surprise! A couple of cubs came close to our group, and people at the hatchery scared them off toward the other side of the stream so they wouldn’t get caught up in the net with the fish.

The trip ended with a hike on Lake Eva trail. One of my favorite pictures I took is of a blurry brown bear. It was coming up the path toward us, and I snapped the picture before getting out of his way. Thankfully the bear went a different direction! That evening was a wonderful Captain’s reception to celebrate the amazing ship crew, the naturalists from Orbridge, and the new friendships created on a memorable trip.

The final icing on the cake for this trip was waking in the middle of the night and going out on the boat’s deck to view the Northern Lights. I recommend visiting Alaska for anyone who loves to travel, it has natural beauty that will rival any place in the world.

—Tegan Thornberry, assistant director of membership, co-hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip through southeast Alaska in September. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the 2016 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.

See more pictures from this trip on Flickr

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Traveling Tegs | Great Journey lives up to its name

Posted on Aug 26, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Flying Jayhawks, Great Journey through Europe
The Flying Jayhawks trip “Great Journey Through Europe” was truly a great journey. We had a wonderful group of passengers that enjoyed the ten-day tour of Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Not to mention it was my first international trip!

The Swiss Alps are absolutely stunning, and pictures do not do them justice. We enjoyed taking our “flat Jayhawk” with us wherever we went and made sure to post pictures on social media, so everyone back home could see where we were. While the castles of Germany were breathtaking, the true highlight of the trip for me was Mt. Pilatus, where you feel as if you are on top of the world!

We took a gondola ride up to the top (and I only turned ghostly white once from my fear of heights) and rode the Cog Train down the mountain back to Lucerne, Switzerland, which sits at the base of the mountain. Both the trip up and down provided different, yet gorgeous views. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and I am so thankful I was able to experience it with fellow Jayhawks!

See more pictures from this trip on Flickr.

—Kelsey Hill, coordinator of alumni programs, co-hosted the Flying Jayhawks trip “Great Journey through Europe” with Tegan Thornberry, assistant director of membership, in July. For more information about the Flying Jayhawks program, including the 2016 schedule, visit www.kualumni.org/flyingjayhawks.

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