First Round of WSA 2011 tours under the belt!

In the last 3 weekends I've had an awesome time showing students the locals' version of Gimmelwald, Prague and London. Thanks to Europe's incredible infrastructure, I'm able to hop around and meet my tour members in the cities for an exciting weekend exploring the hidden gems that each has to offer.

My weekend in Gimmelwald was tons of fun. I met 32 backpackers coming in from all over the place--Dublin, London and Rome to name a few--down at the train station in Interlaken. After everyone was accounted for, we went up the valley to find our home for the weekend, Pension Gimmelwald. By the time we reached out Swiss ski chalet, my tour members had used practically all forms of travel in existence: Bus, Train, Plane, Commuter Rail and even Cable Cars. Was it difficult and complicated? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Without a doubt! We enjoyed a Swiss Fondue dinner, spent afternoons in awe at the beautiful scenery, spent days on the slopes skiing or boarding, went on a midnight mountain hike and sledge ride and more. Some in the group even went skydiving and paragliding. I picked up groceries so everyone could pack a lunch and get as much time on the slopes as possible. We had booked out the entire Gimmelwald Pension so I figured why not have some music? I hired an old mountain man to come down and play some traditional tunes while we had dinner one evening. All in all, it was an incredible weekend that I'm sure students won't forget for a while.


The next weekend, I had a small group of students in Prague. We toured the city and enjoyed an afternoon with a prince, took a tour of a Czech micro-brewery, took walking tours of the Old Town, New Town, Jewish Quarter, Lesser Town and the Prague Castle. If it sounds like a busy weekend, it's because it was! The Prague weekend is one of my favorite because I can pack so much value into the tour.


London Followed the weekend after where I worked closely with my London guide, Matt, to set him up to take over running those tours from here out. We made some last minute adjustments to the hostel reservations, and once more, the weekend trip went quite smoothly. Tour guiding is hard work, but the reactions that we constantly get from our tour members make it endlessly rewarding so it's easy to keep going. I'd say a highlight from this weekend was the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London along with the secret Sunday markets that Matt seems to have a knack for finding.


And now I find myself in Paris ready to start the next tour tomorrow!


Cooper Cohen, University of Notre Dame

Happy Backpackers

The most fun, exciting, educational, and craziest weekend I had during my semester abroad. You definitely get the maximum bang for your buck with WSA. WSA provided me with an unbelieveable weekend in Budapest. After hearing from my friends about their amazing experiences on WSA trips, I had to see what all the hype was about. I chose to take part in a WSA weekend in Budapest, and I loved every minute of it. The guide, Bogi, was the best! WSA is the perfect blend of an educational/tourist expereince while also allowing for sites off the beaten path as well as kickass nightlife. You won't regret a trip with WSA.

Cooper Cohen, University of Notre Dame ~ University of Notre Dame, London, Spring 2015

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