Adventure - Art - Culture - Juniors Abroad at George Fox

Barcelona to Milan

Faculty: Tim Timmerman, Rick Muthiah
Meeting Time: Wednesday - 6:30 - 9:00PM

Some of the most beautiful locations in Europe are the small towns where it is easy to feel at home lost in the warren of medieval streets with their hidden alleys and shops. This Juniors Abroad focuses on gems largely in Southern France bookended with adventures in Spain and Italy.

We begin our adventure in the colorful Catalonia metropolis of Barcelona Spain, where Antonio Gaudi’s architecture gives the landscape a surreal quality and the cafés overflow into the streets. We will explore the Picasso Museum, Romanesque churches and sites of this cosmopolitan avant-garde city where Dali, Miro and Picasso called home. Venturing onto the city of Girona Spain, we’ll wander its narrow winding historic quarters, explore Roman ruins, and stroll the medieval walls to gaze at sweeping views of the city and countryside. 

From Spain we launch into the Southern coastal region of France, adventuring first to the amazing restored medieval town of Carcassonne. Exploring this fortress of a town we will also venture off to roam and hike the four ruined castles of Chateaux of Lastors. From our sunbelt town we will travel to the city of Narbonne for a day with its medieval quarter and archeology museum and explore the Cistercian Abbaye de Fontifroide. Our next stop is the French Provence region and the fabled city of Arles. The Roman Arena, Folk Museum, Classical Theater, and of course the cultural center devoted to Van Gogh are destinations. From Arles we go up into the hills to the beautiful town of Gordes perched on a mountainside, and Luberon with its wild areas and picturesque villages including a stop in the red ocher town of Roussillon. The whole area is designated as a regional nature park with eagles, snakes and wild boars, so we will wear good shoes and plan a hike.

Next stop is the French Rivera and the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer where we will stroll beaches and gaze at yachts on a cool seafront evening walk. Spending a day in Nice we will go to the award winning Chagall Museum and enjoy Old Nice and the promade des Anglais. Off to the little country of Monaco the next day on the way we’ll drop by the Roman monument commemorating Augustus Cesar’s conquest of the Alps. Once we’re in this tiny country city we’ll explore the fancy streets, Prince’s Palace and Napoleon’s left behind personal effects. 

Off to Italy we land in the Parisian-like tree lined city of Turin. The city will keep us busy with its elegant squares and palaces but we’ll also deviate into contemporary culture by going to their phenomenal car museum with its utterly Italian icon, the Fiat. From Turin we will travel to the gorgeous Lake District of Italy where Lake Como meets the towering Alps. Finding our resting place in the Italian storybook town of Verena, we will take a day trip to Bellagio, as well as to the bustling city of Milan, visiting its Il Duomo, Museum and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”

The locations we are traveling to are rich in history and art with Roman Ruins and Romanesque and Gothic Churches. The regions in France we will be adventuring to have been home to some of the most significant artists in 20th century including: Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, and Miro. In Spain we will be overwhelmed with the playful architecture of Gaudi, while in Italy we will be seeing one of the most significant works of the Renaissance da Vinci’s Last Supper. This will be a tour-de-force trip of beautiful landscapes, art and architecture.

Preliminary Itinerary:

Day 1: Depart Portland Oregon for Barcelona, Spain.

Day 2: Arrive in the morning to Barcelona, Spain, we’ll get 3 day Barcelona passes for everyone that gets us in to all the main sites and museums in Barcelona. Once settled in our hotel we’ll get a city tour for an overview. For the afternoon we’ll visit Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, and see as many sites as we can as we try to stay awake!

Day 3: Continue our adventure in Barcelona and visit Parc Guell, Montjuic, the National Museum of Catalonia, and Casa Batillo (or Casa Mila if we have time). So much to see in this remarkable city!

Day 4: Our last day in Barcelona we’ll scamper off to the amazing Picasso Museum and visit the La Boqueria market. We’ll end the day being simply awestruck at the Barcelona Cathedral.

Day 5: Today we’re off traveling by bus to the Catalonia region of Spain to the medieval towered town of Girona. Once there we will take a stroll around the original walls of the town on the Passeig de la Muralla (with its amazing sweeping views), and get lost in their archeology museum the Muse d’Arqueologia de Catalunya.

Day 6: On our second day in Girona, Spain, we will Explore the famous Jewish Quarter and the Girona Cathedral and its museum (yes, season 6 of Game of Thrones was filmed here). We’ll also aim to get to the Girona Art Museum with its amazing Romanesque collection of artwork.

Day 7: Hello to France and the famous walled city of Carcossone! Once settled in we’ll have a lovely lunch at an outside café, and stroll the medieval walls and Le Cite and get oriented to the town. Visits to the Romanesque and Gothic St. Nazaire church are on the agenda for our first day here as well. 

Day 8:   Ah, today is a day of castles. In the morning, we’ll venture to the Carcossone’s castle (A UNESCO world heritage site) and Chateau Comtal and their museums. After lunch we’ll take a short bus trip to explore and hike around the three ruined castles of Chateaux of Lastors ten miles north of Carcassonne for the afternoon.

Day 9: From our home base in Carcossone we will be taking a day trip to Narbonne. This lovely town has nice shops, a canal running through it and plenty of quaint cafés. We’ll plan to visit Fontfroide Abbey, the Archbishops Palace, Cathedral St Just et St. Pasteur, and the archeology/history Museum.

Day 10: Today we are off to Arles France. For this day we’ll aim to get a handle on the town by visiting Forum Square, St. Trophime Church, the Classical Theater and the Roman Arena. For the afternoon we’ll go to the Arlaten Folk Museum which concentrates on the historic folk customs, clothing, practices, and superstitions of the people of Arles. If time in our day some can go to the art museum Musee Reattu.

Day 11: Continuing our adventure in Arles for the morning we’ll go to Espace Van Gogh, a cultural center devoted to his life and work (and by the way all around the town they have markers showing where he painted what). For the afternoon travel to Les Baux-de-Provence, a nearby town with a spectacular position set atop a rocky outcrop. We’ll explore its deserted citadel and this lovely village.

Day 12: This day will be a Saturday so the plan will be to visit the Saturday market set up that morning in Arles! After we grab some snacks we’re off for an adventurous day trip to a variety of picturesque villages perched in the Provence region. Our first stop is Gordes then Luberon we’ll also stop in the red ocher town of Roussillon. The whole area is designated as a regional nature park with eagles, snakes and wild boars, so we will wear good shoes and plan a hike about.

Day 13: Today we are off to the French Rivera and settle into our home base of Villefranche-sur-Mer. We’ll browse the harbor to gaze at the yachts. We’ll plan to Visit Chapel of St. Pierre, the Citadel St. Michael Church and go for a seafront walk in the evening.

Day 14: This day we venture to the bustling city of Nice France. There is much to fill out our day here. We’ll plan to enjoy the award winning Chagall Museum, stroll the seafront promade des Anglais, get lost in Old Nice, and see the Russian Cathedral (the finest outside of Russia).

Day 15: From our home base in Villefranche-sur-Mer, we’re off to the tiny country of Monaco. Traveling on the way we’ll visit La Trophee des Alpes a Roman monument commemorating Augustus Cesars conquest of the Alps (that has a stunning view of the region). In Monaco we’ll then stroll the streets and go to the Prince’s Palace and if there is time we’ll visit Jacque Cousteau’s aquarium.

Day 16: Italy here we come. Today we settle into the Parisian like tree lined city of Turin and explore this lovely city. (Being in Italy we’ll have to stop at a café and stand drinking a cappuccino at some point in our day.) We’ll explore Turin’s beautiful churches and architecture including Piazza San Carlo, Piazza Castello, Mole Antonelliana and Santuario Basilica La Consolata. 

Day 17: Ah, today we explore some of the more curious museums in Turin including the Automobile Museum (think: Fiat) and the Egyptian Museum of Turin (here you will see your mummy). If we have energy and time we will explore the Museo Pietro Micca, a museum of the underground tunnels from the 1700’s.

Day 18: Today we travel to Varenna, Italy, in the Lake District of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Settled up against the alps we will take deep breaths and walk along the lake, hike up the trail to the Castle Vezio and simply enjoy the view.

Day 19: We’re off to a day trip to the bustling metropolitan and fashion drenched city of Milan. We’ll look at the beautiful Il Duomo (and of course feed pigeons), see the gigantic domed shopping area next door, see the exquisite art collection either at Pinocoteca di Brira or the Pinacotea Ambrosiana museum, and of course we’ll be seeing Leonardo’s “Last Supper.”

Day 20: Continuing our stay in Varenna our last day will be a beautiful quiet one with a boat across the lake to the storybook town of Bellagio for the day. We will sit in a café relishing in our amazing adventures together, and you also may also desire to venture to the nearby estate where part of Star Wars and a 007 movie was filmed as well. 

Day 21: Fly from Milan, Italy to Portland, Oregon USA.