The Florida College Study Tour: May 6-17, 2019

75 years ago, careful plans were being finalized for the most audacious and daring invasion in military history.  Code-named “Overlord,” Americans soon came to refer to it as simply “D-Day.”  So, on 6 June 1944, nearly 156,000 troops poured onto the beaches of Normandy—supported by a vast armada of naval vessels and aircraft.  “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven theme many months” wrote General Dwight David Eisenhower to American soldiers, airmen and sailors, then reminded: “The eyes of the world are upon you.  The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you….”

Beginning at Sainte-Mere-Eglise—just beyond the Normandy beachheads in France, the American army began marking a “Liberty Road” with distinctive mile markers that recorded the kilometers toward the breeching of Nazi Germany’s frontiers, with the final “Mile Marker” (“KM 1147”) established, fittingly, in historic Bastogne—near the Belgian-German border and astride the fields that witnessed “The Battle of the Bulge.”  In 2019, the Florida College study tour will center on the liberation of Europe by American troops during 1944-45; lest we forget, 5.4 million Americans ultimately fought to liberate the Continent—and 135,576 lost their lives in the effort to eradicate Nazi totalitarianism.

Our tour will commence on 6 May 2019, beginning in London and a visit to Sir Winston Churchill’s great keep at Chartwell; we will travel by ferry and enter Europe near Mont Saint Michel—and soon after be on the Normandy beachheads.  Leaving the areas we remember as “Omaha” and “Utah” beaches, we will arrive in Paris in the evening at the Eiffel Tower; after a day or so of touring the “City of Light,” we will see the “Glade of the Armistice” in the beautiful Compiegne Forest, then visit Reims and visit where General Eisenhower oversaw the German surrender in May 1945.  Moving toward the Deutschland, we will enjoy the city-state of Luxembourg—near which is the Battle of the Bulge historic sites, including General George S. Patton’s final resting place with his troops. The final leg of the tour begins with train travel across southern Germany, which will conclude in Bavaria and a visit in Munich and, nearby, the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau; an excursion to Salzburg and Berchtesgaden will cap the tour.  If the weather allows, we shall visit the famed “Eagle’s Nest,” and reflect on the era that defined the 20th century; indeed, echoes through our contemporary times.  Return flights, unless you choose to extend your stay, will depart from Munich on 17 May.

Please note that the tour price from Explorica notes that adults 23 years old and over are required to pay an “adult supplement.”  Further, there is an additional fee for a twin, as opposed to a quad, room—should you prefer that.  The site (Tour Center, “Crispell-409”) details other matters in good fashion: airfare, hotel stays, all museum and entrance fees while with the tour group, bus, ferry and rail travel is included in the tour price.  Also, breakfasts are included—in addition to a welcome supper the first evening.  Otherwise, all lunches and suppers, as well as incidental expenses and tips are the responsibility of the traveler.  When working with Explorica on a similar tour in 2014, my experience was that the company serves travelers well—and I hope you will also be pleased.  An experienced Explorica tour guide will accompany us throughout the tour, from arrival in London to departure in Munich; additional, and excellent, city guides will be showing us the highlights of London, Paris, and other sites; I am going to be providing historical narration at each significant site that we visit—from Chartwell in England to the Eagle’s Nest in the Alps.

It is a good thing to have the opportunity to travel abroad with a group of brothers and sisters, and share in a unique experience together.  We will have a cap of 50 travelers for this tour, and I anticipate the roster filling by June, so please do make your plans to be with us before too much time gets away.  The 75th anniversary of D-Day is a significant milestone; remembering the value of the liberty—as a true gift of Him—is even more important.  I look forward to sharing a part of next May with you.

Dear Friends,

We invite you to join us on our nine-day London Theater Tour on May 8-16, 2018, as we explore London’s West End, the Globe Theater, Warner Brothers Studios (home of the Harry Potter Studio Tour), and all the traditional highlights of London. This exciting tour features a stay at a single hotel location in London city, allowing you the opportunity to explore the city in-depth, with plenty of time for day-trips and excursions.

Get ready for an authentic look in the art and culture of the British capital and experience the London you’ve been dreaming of! Featuring the best live theater scene on the planet, as well as the rich history of Shakespeare, and the modern marvel of J.K. Rowling’s literary and media tour-de-force, London allows visitors to enjoy the delights of Europe with no language barriers.

During your week in London, your guide will lead you on a magical tour along the Thames and through the Tower, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s, historic neighborhoods, and plenty of performances—and even take you on a trip to Windsor Castle. Join us for the best of London in nine days!

Enjoy two performances in the West End, London’s premiere theater district! Experience a once-in-a-lifetime journey as the magic of Harry Potter comes to life before your very eyes. A unique, fully guided tour of the London studios where the films were made will take you back to your favorite parts of the films. See the great hall, platform 9-3/4, Hagrid’s hut, and more!

Visit the Globe Theater for an exclusive workshop experience to dig deep into the rich history of Shakespeare, followed up by a performance in the Globe itself.

Whether it is your first visit to London or you’ve explored the city before, there are always so many attractions just waiting to be discovered! From iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben to enjoying street performances and shopping in and around Covent Garden, you will get the very best out of this historic city. We look forward to touring London with you!

Dr. Matt Johnson