Central European Study Tour
April 5, 2010
The Europe team got back safely last night at 12:30 a.m. All should still be asleep but well! Great trip!
April 3, 2010
Our time has flown by and we have seen more than we can process! The pictures will tell the story and help us to solidify all that we have seen and done.
Our sightseeing day in Prague was wonderful and we were able to walk through history with only a little rain coming down at the end of the day. Prague
was not damaged in either world war so has been preserved well. A large group of us were able to see the Dvorak opera Rusalka which is based on the
original version of the Little Mermaid tale. The real story does not end well and this opera did not either! Choices have consequences -- unlike
Disney's version! All that attended really enjoyed the music and excellent staging and costuming.
Friday morning we traveled to Dresden and spent a few hours in this clean city. Although it was bombed during the war it still has some well-preserved
buildings to see. We were surprised that the city shops were closed for Good Friday -- how far we have come in America with not even observing the holiday now!
The late arrival into Berlin didn't stop a small group from going to Mozart's opera The Magic Flute and Tachaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin.
of German opera far exceeds that of any other we have been in so far!
Today we went all over Berlin on a bus tour -- the city is vast and has no center. So much of the city had to be rebuilt that it is now a conglomeration
of styles and shapes. The Jewish Holocaust Memorial was especially meaningful. Some of the group visited an atomic shelter underneath the city which they
found fascinating. Our last day had come to an end, and we are packing for an early start to fly back to the States.
The students have had an incredible trip. The sun followed us from city to city (with only a few raindrops), we had safety all the way and only a few have
felt a little sick from the travel and intense pace.
Thank you for your prayers and support while we have been gone. We look forward to being back late Sunday night!
March 31, 2010
After a safe arrival in Budapest on Saturday, March 27, we spent the afternoon in the city center sight-seeing and getting used to the layout of the two cities,
Buda and Pest -- separated by the Danube River. We soon learned how the approximate 40 year occupation by the Communists had left this country a very
changed one -- both with architectural and cultural shifts by their presence. We were surprised at how expensive Hungary is and how unhappy the people
still seem to be. I think that liberation takes at least one generation to start working its effect!
We had a wonderful hotel on the edge of town and were spoiled with its 4 star rating and newness. Our full day, Sunday, took us all around the city, and
we especially enjoyed the hilltop view of the city and Danube (said to be the second most spectacular city view behind Rio de Janeiro). The local Easter
market in the main square was a special treat as we tasted the local fare and got to see and hear traditional performers.
Monday we traveled 4 hours to Vienna and experienced warmer than normal weather for this time of year. The clear blue skies were a bonus to being in this
capital of classical music. A group of us managed to secure tickets for the opera Tosca and spent a great evening at the Vienna Opera shoulder-to-shoulder
with Vienna's finest! Tuesday we spent the day sight-seeing, visiting museums, the major composers' graves (Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss) and then evening
performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream (ballet) and La Traviat (opera). Some lined up for the cheap 5 Euro standing rows and others
paid only 12 Euros for student opera tickets. A feast of the arts for sure!
Wednesday we left in rain for Prague and actually drove through a snow storm on the way. We arrived into Prague at the end of the rain storm and were
greeted with sunshine. Prague is a wonderful city that was not as extensively bombed as other major cities -- again with an Easter market in the
central square. We were surprised at the beauty of the city and the lower prices for shopping. Tomorrow we will tour the city and hopefully see
another opera. Tonight a small group went to a choral/orchestral concert -- so we are certainly enjoying all the musical experiences!
Friday we will travel to Berlin and then return to Clearwater Sunday.
We are thankful for safety and good health for the entire group!