Sam & Peter's Europe TripSam's Toybox Homepage
Peter and I took a 16 day European trip from June 29, 2008 - July 14, 2008 with the New Mexico Ambassadors of Music. 120 people from all over New Mexico make up a band and chorus who performed concerts across Europe. We traveled to England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, Italy, and Germany and had a great time. Click on any thumbnail to take you to a larger picture with caption. Each picture has next/previous links to take you through the entire trip. Cheers, Sam


Day One - Travel Albuquerque to London

Day One agenda, at the airport at 5:30am 120 of us ready to go Peter and Sam at the airport In-airport shuttle at Detroit Waiting for the International flight


Day Two - London - Windsor Castle, Walking Tour

Day Two agenda, Arrive London a bit early Waiting for our motorcoach outside Heathrow We meet our first European hostess, Jodie First stop, Windsor Castle Peter by the Crooked House of Windsor Backside of the Castle, the Queen was there today The Thames was close by so we walked there Peter and friends near the river You could rent boats but we weren Changing of the guards at Windsor Castle Changing of the guards at Windsor Castle First evening we did a walking tour of London Beautiful architecture of St. Paul's Cathedral Even the archways are spectactular St. Paul's Cathedral The Millenium bridge Interesting building across the Thames The gang gathered for the return walk One of the famous red phone booths (which are quickly disappearing) We walked by but did not stop at the Museum of London


Day Three - London - Tower of London, Bus tour, Wicked Play

Day Three agenda View from my hotel room, London Eye in the distance We arrive at the Tower of London and get a good look at the Tower Bridge Wacky building across the Thames Outer Wall at the Tower of London Our guide for the Tower and London by Bus tour The 'White Tower', the part where the kings lived Legend of the ravens sign And one of the ravens Iron gate to keep pesky neighbors out Peter with some Beefeaters Memorial to the Queens who lost their heads As we listen intently The tower which holds the Crown Jewels Guard outside the tower Entrance to the jewels rooms Sam and one of the tower guides No pics of the jewels allowed, so I snapped this cool cannon One of the chopping blocks used at the tower Armor of Henry VIII And his lance And his horse A model of the tower back in the day Leaving the White Tower is a dizzying experience Cannons at the White Tower And cannon tools We fired our cannon til the barrel melted down... From the bus tour, here The London Eye from the bus Buckingham Palace and its fountain And the beautiful gardens at the Palace Changing of the guards Changing of the guards The Royal College of Music The Albert Hall Peter near a cool London ride Big Ben We ended the day at a play Inside the theatre, great show Was past eleven pm when the long day ended


Day Four - London - Wesley Chapel, Concert #1, British Museum, London Eye

Day Four agenda We started at the Wesley House and Chapel Inside the Chapel, we heard about it from its director The loo... Had original Thomas Crapper fixtures Down to the porcelain flush handles Our chorus got to sing in the chapel While the band watched John Wesley's grave In the Methodist museum in the basement, tombstone floor tiling Across the street was a cool old graveyard With well worn tombstones covered in moss With well worn tombstones covered in moss The band's first performance And the chorus's first public show It started raining pretty good... But the crowd of locals hung in there The percussion section performs 'Me Tarzan' We walked as a large group to the British Museum Which had an impressive atrium And lots of Egyptian artifacts And more Egyptian artifacts Even mummified cats! And other beautiful artifacts And the Rosetta Stone! We rode a cab to the London Eye--Hey Scooby!!! View of the London Eye Way cool gondolas View from the London Eye This thing is huge It took about half an hour to go around once Here's Westminster Abbey and Big Ben Peter and Sam in the Eye The band folks always have the most fun After we disembarked Our last night in London ends--time to pack!


Day Five - Travel from London to Paris by ferry and coach

Day Five agenda The White Cliffs of Dover Waiting to take our coach onto the ferry Those wacky and ingenious Europeans! Our ferry was a twin of this one Looking back as we cross the Channel Some of the folks in our group decided to help out the seagulls We supped in a restaurant very near the Arch de Triumph Many, many hours on the coach later


Day Six - Paris - Sacre Coeur, Bus tour, Seine boat ride, The Louvre

Day Six agenda - Independence Day! Sacre Coeur at Montmartre, the highest point in Paris Had a cool double decker carousel at the bottom And lots of steps to get to the top Luckily there was entertainment at stopping points Luckily there was entertainment at stopping points Churches are so well done in Europe Churches are so well done in Europe Dressed for Independence Day Cool doors I'm standing in front of View from the top Back on the coach, a driving tour of Paris sites The Louvre I think Very cool city Guard outside an embassy National Academy of Music The famous pyramid at the Louvre An obelisk from Luxor The group settles in for our boat ride on the Seine Even the bridges are luxurious Parliament I think Cool old architecture I walked to the front of the boat to get a good view Notre Dame from the river The back of Notre Dame from the river Way neat buildings on either side A boat with a 1960s era Amphicar as its dinghy vehicle--cool! The boat was huge seating 250+ people A view of the Eiffel Tower from the Seine A bit closer view of the Eiffel Tower The Statue of Liberty Replica was at the end of our river cruise Inside the Louvre; the <i>Venus de Milo</i> Well done ceiling in the Louvre <i>The Virgin of the Rocks</i> by Leonardo da Vinci <i>The Mona Lisa</i> by Leonardo da Vinci (fuzzy due to no flash/auto focus) Coffee with cream--came with Whipped Cream! A long day


Day Seven - Paris - Eiffel Tower, Concert #2, Notre Dame

Day Seven agenda On our way to the tower Inside from the bottom Inside from the bottom Bust of the designer Eiffel View of Montmartre from level one View from level two Downtown Paris Soccer field next door View of the Seine Elevator workings of the tower The grounds and our busses from the top Last view of the tower The chorus waits in the rain while the band readies Concert number two underway Peter on snare And the chorus sings The three caballeros play the Mexican Hat Dance And we walk toward Notre Dame Very impressive facade Elaborate sculptures and lots of them Wow The big round stained glass window from the outside The whole front is sculpted with saints Including this one standing on a gargoyle Gorgeous stained glass windows And more elaborate stained glass Workers cleaning the city grime from the left hand doors Doug in the Notre Dame plaza The flying buttresses at the back of the Cathedral Lots of walking on our last day in France


Day Eight - Travel from Paris to Crans-Montana, Switzerland by coach

Day Eight agenda Cool RV at the first rest stop Huge lines at the pumps including many cars with <i>Caravans</i> (travel trailers) Roasted chicken Lays Potato chips--so good. Sandwich complete with pain! Entering Switzerland Beautiful countryside Quaint villages "Looks a lot like Pennsylvania, except for the castles" Lake Geneva in the rain Every spare inch was growing grapes A boat on Lake Geneva One of many windmills we saw in Switzerland A hero's welcome to Crans-Montana, Switzerland We meet our Swiss coordinators Most of the day spent on the bus today


Day Nine - Crans-Montana - Chillon Castle, Montreaux, Concert #3

Day Nine agenda Poster for the Ambassador's Concerts Lots of fog in the morning The moist air shows off the local fauna Cool Swiss vehicle Pulling the weeds off the lake each morning Peter with one of the locals About $8.28/gallon Peter on the cable ride Peter on the cable ride Another cool Swiss vehicle Antique store with Welcome flyer A look up the steep street in Crans-Montana Celebrating America even in Switzerland The 45' coach we traveled in Our Swiss hotel - Hotel Wellness! Swiss countryside out the coach window Grapes growing everywhere Grapes on steep hills Grapes on steeper hills Chillon Castle Steep cobblestone walkway Cool turrets And the ever present castle clock Moat on the land side of the castle Where the original draw bridge once was Our guide for the castle tour Big fireplace Cool old furniture Crests from various castle lords The beds were very small More crests from the castle lords Windows keep the cold lake air out now, none back in the day Elaborate painted ceilings in some rooms The castle chapel used only by the ruling family Hundreds of years old paint on the ceilings The castle dungeon Found out by the Swiss authorities - yikes! A look at the lake shore A dozen or so of us walked the mile+ to Montreux We got a good view of the lake from its shore And a great view of the castle More vineyards on the way A view of Montreux from the shore Sampling the local Swiss cuisine You could take a boat ride on the lake if you wanted Statue of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen Back in Crans-Montana we prepare for the concert The town made us feel very welcomed The chorus performs our third show And the band plays on And the band plays on The narrator for the Circus song And the percussion group performs Stars and Stripes Forever Receives and All-American ovation from the crowd I'm tired!


Day Ten - Crans-Montana - Coach/train to the Matterhorn, Swiss farewell party

Day Ten agenda Beautiful Switzerland Small villages way up on craggy Swiss Alps Natural slate roofs on many of the buildings We arrive at Zermatt after a short train ride A view of the local Alps We and the Ambassadors from Kentucky are welcomed Inclined railway up to the base of the Matterhorn NM Ambassador couple St. Bernard with the requisite keg Now where's the clasp for that keg! The Matterhorn in all its splendor The whole crew by the Matterhorn One of the enclosed ski lifts The lift stretches far out of sight Swiss Pinzgauer vehicle With Peter wishing it was his And a Mule vehicle We get friendly with the locals Nice place for a summer picnic The river runoff is grey from the glacial melt A view from the bottom of the hill after inclined train ride back Back in Crans-Montana, the town threw us a fondue party The crowd went wild when they brought in the big horns The professionals went first then invited band members to try The entertainment included dancers Who put on a great show Accompanied by a Swiss polka band Members of the crowd joined in The three sisters who welcomed us also entertained us The party ended with the largest Chicken Dance I And we passed this cool Swiss car on our way home from The party was great


Day Eleven - Coach ride to Seefeld, Austria with lunchtime stop in Lichtenstein

Day Eleven agenda One last look at Lake Geneva Bus ride through the lush countryside And we passed various castles along the way Until we stopped for lunch at Lichtenstein The model of the castle... Sat right below the real thing Lush scenery on our way to Austria Including more villages on the top of hills Til we reached our hotel in Seefeld, Austria A view of a gift shop from our hotel balcony Lots of free time to explore our village


Day Twelve - Seefeld - Wilten Bascilica, Innsbrook, Ski Jump Stadium, Concert #4

Day Twelve agenda Wilten Bascilica Wilten Bascilica Wilten Bascilica - cool ceiling <i>Opera Box</i> and pipe organ Just breathtaking inside More elaborately carved pews The choir got to sing and it sounded great Vento just like Dan's old car - cool plate Wilten Bascilica again <i>Agony of defeat</i> ski jump Olympic rings at the ski jump They use it even in the summertime The last thing one sees before leaving the jump - graveyard at the Wilten Bascilica The <i>Golden Roof</i> in downtown Innsbrook Living statue in the town square Another church in Innsbrook Another church in Innsbrook Inside the Jesuit Church More elaborate pews The last church we saw in Innsbrook And the church back in Seefeld Inside the Seefeld church More elaborate ceilings And the alter And the clock tower A local Austrian casino was giving away this Ferrari Second last concert in the Olympic medal awards venue Our local coordinators keep the public informed about where we The owner of Voyageurs International with his two daughters that joined us on the trip The band performs the Circus song again And the chorus sings... ...as the crowd looks on The locals put on a show for us Dancing during Stars and Stripes Forever Voyageurs surprises us with a gift of Austrian hats for all A handsome Austrian bunch What a great day


Day Thirteen - Day trip to Venice, Italy by coach

Day Thirteen agenda Nice countryside About $9.50/gallon in Italy - ouch! Most RVs we saw in Europe where about like this 19 Almost to the Venice Harbor Peter and the rest of the <i>Usual Suspects</i> Cruise ship in the Venice Harbor The boat we took from the harbor to the canals Our boat's crew And the musician crew We land near the canals Our Venetian guide Venetian architecture Everything in Venice comes in by motorboat Leaning clock tower of Venice Well done gondola Interesting architecture Gondola ride for some tourists St. Mark's square And the famous pigeons Each column top was elaborate and different Each column top was elaborate and different Each column top was elaborate and different Each column top was elaborate and different The clock tower On the square Base of the clock tower Top of the cathedral St. Mark's Cathedral with its beautiful paintings Government building on the square Unbelievable cathedral We got to see a glass blowing demonstration We got to see a glass blowing demonstration And more gondolas on the Grand Canal The Bridge of Sighs Another cool gondola Castle on the hill during the ride home A very long and phenomenal day


Day Fourteen - Coach trip to Rothenburg, Germany with stop at Dachau

Day Fourteen agenda About $9.50/gallon in Austria, Diesel/Bio-Diesel are the cheapest We arrive at Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau The Crematorium ovens At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau At Dachau 34 barracks for the prisoners at Dachau About $9.50/gallon in Germany We arrive at the walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber Outside the wall Watchtower Part of the wall with gates removed Quaint and picturesque Huge building and church at the town square Town Square Nearing the end of our trip


Day Fifteen - Rothenburg - Walking tour, Puppet/Toy Museum, Criminal Museum, Final Concert

Day Fifteen agenda We walked part of the wall Looking over the village from the wall Most houses had a lifting lug for the attic The main East/West cobblestone street through town One of the two Christmas Stores across the street from each other Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Ugly/Scary dolls at the museum Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Puppet and Toy Museum Criminal Museum Criminal Museum An Iron Maiden World The Rack Vertical Rack Various restraints Wouldn Thumbscrews! And a tongue screw The Violin! And Iron shoes Iron mask Beheading impliments Neck weights A witch stick--used to capture wiley witches Another Iron Maiden Stockades Executioner More beheading impliments Hanging cage Torture tools Real chopping blocks and axes Keys and locks The band prepares for the last concert Setting up in the square Tarzan's last stand The last of the concerts is completed Brass quintet of band directors in St. Francis Church And the choir's last performance And the choir's last performance The local crowd is appreciative Last day as a tourist


Day Sixteen - Coach to Frankfort, Fly back to Albuquerque

Day Sixteen agenda Hans our driver loads us up for the last time We're all way tired Most fantastic trip ends in Albuquerque


Contact me: Sam Cancilla, sam@samstoybox.com.

Last Modified: September 27, 2008

Copyright © 2008 Sam Cancilla.   All Rights Reserved Worldwide.