Adventures in Ennis
Albert ("Bud") and Virginia ("Ginny") Roemhild, graduates of the Class of 1957, know a thing or two about travel.
Both retired, their schedules are kept busy with frequent trips around the world. And now, they can add a summer 2008 trip to Ennis, Ireland with the Drexel Travel Program to that list.
“The trip definitely lived up to our expectations,” Ginny said, shortly after she and her husband returned from their excursion.
Those expectations, based on their first experience with the Drexel Travel Program on a trip to Tuscany in October of 2007, were set high. They explained that because they enjoyed Tuscany so much, they decided to sign up for a second adventure with Drexel to Ireland, expecting another enriching cultural experience.
“What’s unique about these trips is that group guides take you to historical places and there are also various lecturers who come to your hotel either in the morning or at night and they talk about things that are really unique to the area,” Ginny said.
The Roemhilds explained that when they received the detailed itinerary for their first trip with Drexel to Tuscany, they thought that the planned lectures and trips might be too much; however they quickly realized that the lectures and programs were part of what made the trips so special.
“This second time around, I wouldn't dream of missing any of it,” Bud said.
One such experience took place when a panel consisting of a school teacher, a bank executive and an engineer – all natives of the area – visited their hotel in Ennis. They answered questions and talked about a wide range of things including their personal backgrounds, the current healthcare and education systems and their country’s economy.
“What was great was that they didn't just tell you what happened,” Ginny explained. “They gave you their own experiences. They talked about how the economy and the government affected them; it was so interesting to get their first-hand perspectives on things.”
Providing people with unique, one-of-a-kind experiences is what the program is all about. The Drexel Travel Program trips are rich in history and culture.
Bud and Ginny explained that a campus director who is a native of the area stays with the travelers from beginning to end. He or she stays in the same hotel as them, accompanies them on their daytrips and is there to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
“Our campus director was very knowledgeable and helpful,” Ginny said. “She was like our mother hen.”
Ginny explained that whenever they met and talked to the locals of Ennis, they were encouraged to visit a place called the Burren which is a rocky area on the northwestern coast of Ireland. They did, and it turned out to be her favorite place.
“The scenery was outstanding,” she said. “It was such a special place.”
Bud went on to describe his favorite part of the trip.
“We visited the Craggaunowen Project which is an area where they recreated Irish settlements on lakes and bogs,” he said. “We crossed bridges from one little island to the next and visited these homes that they built out of rocks.”
Craggaunowen had actors on hand to depict what life was really like during the 13th century. They answered questions and made it a truly authentic experience.
Even though they didn't’t agree on their favorite part of the trip, they could agree that their journey to the Emerald Isle was enjoyable and worthwhile.
And possibly the most poignant display of their satisfaction was when they both responded with an immediate “yes” when asked if they would recommend a similar trip to other Drexel alumni.
“We've actually tried to get some of our Drexel friends to come with us,” Ginny said. “It is so reasonable when you look at what you get for what you pay.”