You can visit Europe on a tight budget if you want.
You just have to do some research, said Jackie Fitch of Fairmont.
Her daughter, Madison, graduated in June from Fairmont Senior and will study international studies this fall at Fairmont State. What would be a more perfect graduation gift than a trip to Europe?
So Fitch did some research and, for about two weeks, she, Madison and her friend, Erika Edwards, got a taste of Europe their way.
On their own schedule. On their own budget.
And they had a blast, she said.
“I wanted to let her see the world for a little bit,” Fitch said.
After visiting Iceland, Belgium, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England, Madison can say she has.
And they had a blast, Fitch said.
They did the touristy things, like visiting Paris and London. They also went to some more out-of-the-way places, like Iceland, Wales and the mecca for all Beatles fans: Liverpool.
“That was awesome to see where the Beatles started,” Fitch said.
She found an online travel service (“the best thing to happen to people who don’t have a whole lot of money,” she said) that cut their costs from $7,000 for three round-trip tickets each to only $3,000 for the three of them.
First on the “go-to” list was northern England, Scotland and Ireland. A friend suggested since they were practically there, why not jump the English Channel to visit Paris?
“Why not? We were there for an adventure,” she said.
They made a wish list of places to visit. For her, there was one definite destination: Edinburgh, Scotland, where her father had had a picture taken of him 60 years ago in front of a statue of an ancestor, philanthropist Thomas Guthrie.
“I got to see the same statue that he did. People try to find their history and I got to see mine.”
She loved the countryside.
“It was clean and beautiful and hilly and awesome. It was more than I could have conceived.”
They weren’t that impressed with Paris or London, although they did the typical “touristy” things like visit the Eiffel Tower.
But she was thrilled that Ireland, where they visited Belfast and Dublin, was exactly what she thought it would be.
“You hear about the Irish and singing in pubs. It’s true. And we saw where the Titanic took off.”
They took rail excursions through the lush countryside, which was “clean and awesome.”
“We’re not rich. But this was well worth it. The memories. If we never go back, at least I can say I was there.”
She learned to drive on the left side of the road and was stopped by police “only twice,” she said.
“There were three lanes. The lane I was in I thought was slow. No, it was the fast lane. The slow lane is where our fast lane is. And there is no speed limit. You can go 100 (mph) if you want to. It’s very confusing. I have calluses on my hands from driving.”
She found people in Europe to be “just like us,” she said. “Everywhere we went, the hotel staff was excellent. And there is no tipping of anybody. Cabs, waiters, if you give them a tip, they give it right back.
“This was a trip of a lifetime. It was great for Madison.”
You can have a trip just like this, she said.
“You just have to do some research. Maybe you don’t want to go to that many countries.”
Liverpool was “different,” she said. “You can walk to where the Beatles started.”
They saw statues of the Fab Four. The Cavern (the tiny club where they honed their musical skills) is still open, she said.
“We didn’t go in, but I don’t know why. I guess we were always in a hurry. But we did get some souvenirs from a Beatles shop.”
They cut costs by renting a car. This way they could go where they wanted, when they wanted.
They rode the ferry from Belgium to the White Cliffs of Dover in England. The girls did the “Dr. Who Experience” while Fitch strolled through a local park.
“You honestly have to be on a tight budget, but you can do it. We pooled our resources together. If you just want to go to a few countries, that’s the best way to do it.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at email@example.com.
You can visit Europe on a tight budget if you want.
- Local News
E-filing brings W.Va. court system ‘into the 21st century’
Marion County made history Tuesday when the first lawsuit was filed on West Virginia’s new e-filing system by a Fairmont attorney.
“It’s like walking on the moon,” said West Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin. “This is a tremendous advance forward. It will only get better.”
Fairmont leaders eye home rule priorities
Fairmont City Council members met during a work session Tuesday to discuss the city’s plans to submit an application to be included in a home rule pilot program.
The program has been in place since 2007 and has allowed four West Virginia cities — Charleston, Huntington, Bridgeport and Wheeling — to set up their own system of governing without receiving a charter from the state.
Industry experts attend forum to discuss country’s energy needs
Energy has an impact on everyone’s lives, said U.S. Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va.
Winter commencement planned at FSU
As students at Fairmont State University complete their final exams of the semester this week, some will also be capping off their college educations.
Coalition hopes to help area’s homeless
Several agencies and residents gathered Monday night to discuss ways to end homelessness in Marion County.
Jenny and Roy Snyder celebrate holidays with four adopted kids
A tradition doesn’t have to be old for it to work.
Jenny and Roy Snyder are the proud — and relatively new — parents of natural siblings Aden, 9 on Christmas Eve; Emily, 7; Madalyn, 4; and, newest of all, Jarin, 2.
Wintry weather leads to multiple vehicle accidents
Emergency responders and road crews stayed busy Sunday as wintry weather fell on the area.
Santa greeting children at Middletown Mall
Christmas is less than three weeks away, and Santa Claus has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit Marion County.
Brogan Troy hopes to become a firefighter like his father
It’s not too often that 13-year-olds choose their career path, but that’s exactly what Mannington resident Brogan Troy has done.
Feast of the Seven Fishes brings fond memories of Christmas Eve
For many in Marion County, the smell of fish brings fond memories of Christmas Eve celebrations from their childhoods.
The Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes is one many Italian immigrants brought with them when they came to America, seeking jobs and a better life.
- More Local News Headlines
- E-filing brings W.Va. court system ‘into the 21st century’