From the pyramids of Egypt to the great opera houses of Italy, Coy and Jeri Landry have looked upon the beauty and uniqueness of many countries with the eyes of explorers.
“We have been speechless seeing millions of stars shining brightly over the Amazon River with no electricity to dim their brightness,” Jeri said. “Classical Greece became alive for us in the Parthenon in Athens. Seeing the Casa Rosada (Pink House) in Buenos Aires made us wonder about Eva Peron.”
But their journeys certainly don’t stop there.
They both recalled seeing “Madam Butterfly” in the famous opera house in Sydney, Australia, and seeing “Don Giovanni” in the same theater where it was performed in Prague when Mozart composed it and brought them great joy.
They climbed the Great Wall of China, were fascinated by the Taj Mahal in India, walked in the rain forest of Victoria Falls of Africa, being silent at the mystery of Stonehenge in England, enjoying a Shakespearean play at the Globe Theater in London and rode a camel trudging through sand.
“All of these have encouraged us to keep on traveling,” Jeri said.
And they have done it.
Even in their 80s, this Luling couple represents a travelogue to so many places in the world that they’ve also made a few traveling buddies. They’re such avid travelers that they still found reasons to enjoy places that were challenging, but they went there all the same.
Coy also recounted the especially charming places like Germany, where they rode by boat on the Rhone and Moselle rivers. He also loved how they got to drink wine made in the towns they visited, as well as enjoyed the local entertainment. They rode on what he calls the small river ships, which he said lent to more intimate experiences with the towns and sights.
“We like history,” he said. “We like geography, and we like the natural wonders of every country.”
Jeri wholeheartedly agrees.
“Coy and I are both interested in music, art, literature and history,” she said. “Traveling allows us to enjoy the best of what has been preserved from the ancient world and experience the innovations of our modern world.”
Every place had some unique feature the couple considered fascinating.
It’s part of who they are as retired educators. Coy retired as assistant superintendent in St. Charles Parish Public Schools in 1991 and Jeri retired as an English teacher from the same system.
“I knew I wanted to travel and my wife seemed like a good traveling companion,” he said.
The traveling bug bit when the two went to a CODIFIL exchange trip where they stayed in a little town outside of Paris, France. They stayed in the same building that housed Madame Marie Curie’s classroom and was still intact, he said.
“That was our introduction, but they took care of us,” Landry said. “They took us to many other sites around France. We were introduced to the habits of the French people and it was delightful.”
Many of their trips have been with Grand Circle Travel, which was started by a teacher in Boston who wanted to make travel easier for retirees, which Landry said gets better every year. A feature they love is being able to visit a home of whatever country they’re in, have lunch with the family and visit with them two to three hours.
“They take care of all our needs, and they get better every year,” he said of their trips.
They’re also traveled with the Busy Bees.
“We just go and go and go with them,” Coy mused of the trips typically in the U.S. “They’re some very interesting people.”
Jeri and Coy are still glowing about their recent trip to Spain, which they described as “awesome.” Next year’s trip is called “In Search of the Northern Lights,” which will be with a new travel agency called Viking.
Overall, he said they’ve taken too many trips to count, although he did say they’ve been traveling since 1980. They’ve averaged two trips a year since that time and, with reasonably good health, plan to keep on going.
History is why they love Europe.
“Knowing that most of our ancestry starts there,” Coy said of why it has appealed to them so much.
Touring the Louve Museum in France just came alive to Landry, who said the tour guide provided so much information as to “make it come alive,” he said. “We’ve been in wine cellars that are caves, and saw things you don’t necessarily see here.”
Coy said they’ve also been on ski lifts to see the countryside, although they didn’t ski.
They’ve been to Medjugorje, the place of pilgrimages close to the border of Croatia where it is reported the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to six local children and given messages.
The couple also sought natural beauty on their trips. One of the best places for nature was Hawaii with its natural greenery, mountains, waterfalls and rivers.
In addition to their passion for learning, Coy explains their love for staying on the move: “We love the cultural aspects of the countries. We’ve been to ballets, to concerts, beautiful opera houses in Italy. We were just so thrilled to do that. It’s things like that that happened. They’re like a discovery.”