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Snowball fights, gondola rides finish up Switzerland visit

Snowball fights, gondola rides finish up Switzerland visit
By KATIE DONALDSON
Messenger Intern
Recent heat records make mild weather hard to imagine for Tennesseans.
For Lucerne, Switzerland natives, however, that dream is not far off. Their high Monday was 68 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 degrees Celsius.
A local traveling group enjoyed the cool temperature and an even cooler one while visiting Lucerne on the 12-day all-expense-paid trip to Europe sponsored by the Union City Rotary Club.
The Rotary Club selected eight students to participate in the European tour with chaperones Mary Hellen Johnson and her husband, David.
Obion County Central High School students Lindsay Castellaw, Matthew Kegan Tittle and Allison Wicker; South Fulton High School student Zack Vaughn; and Union City High School students Macie Britt, Destiny Powers, Garrett Ransom and Grant Ransom were chosen by a Rotary Club sub-committee after careful review of applications, financial information and interviews.
The Cosmo Co. tour booked by Travel One in Union City will take the group to four different nations. So far the group has seen London, Paris and now Lucerne.
Rising senior Allison Wicker called home Monday around noon local time (7 p.m. Swiss time) to tell about what she thinks is “the most beautiful country” they have seen on the trip.
The group took its first gondola ride not in Venetian waters but up Mount Titlis, a mountain located in central Switzerland.
Rain prevented the group from snow tubing once they got up the mountain, but it did not keep them from having a snowball fight at the top.
“She said it was 7 degrees Celsius,” Allison’s mother wrote in her email to other parents, meaning it was about 44 degrees Fahrenheit.
After playing in the snow, the group drank some hot chocolate to “warm them up.”
They rode the gondola down the mountain afterward.
The travelers also toured Lake Lucerne and braved the freezing waters for a quick swim.
While recovering from the water’s chill, the students and chaperones visited the Lion Monument, a sculpture built to commemorate the Swiss guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution.
The group then shopped for souvenirs near Lucerne’s city park and later watched the Euro Cup match between Spain and Italy with people of different nationalities on their tour bus.
Allison called home before they went to the folklore dinner, where they were to learn different dances and songs.
“She said the food has been really good everywhere they have been so far,” Allison’s mother said about her daughter’s phone call.
Hopefully, the food will continue to be good and the dancing and singing will only add to the group’s enjoyment. 
“I can’t wait to hear about this tomorrow,” Allison’s mother said in her email.
Each day a different student calls home to tell their family about the day’s adventures. After the call, the parent or family member sends an email to the other students’ families and to keep them updated.
More updates will run in the Messenger this week.
Editor’s note: Katie Donaldson, daughter of Jim and Cindy Donaldson of Union City, is a rising senior at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Published in The Messenger 7.3.12

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