We've been home since Saturday evening, but that doesn't mean we've stopped learning about and discussing Communism, as well as our travels throughout Eastern Europe.
I guess you could say that nostalgia has begun to set in.
As we were sitting in class today, discussing our itinerary for Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw, we were all reminded of some unforgettable moments: the rebellious nature of one special Hungarian songwriter, the hotel's automatic door that just wouldn't stay shut, the times where some of us got lost along the way (or as I'd like to put it, we simply took the scenic route), and of course that first group dinner where we feasted upon lots and lots of goulash and could only begin to really get to know each other.
It definitely seems as though we're in no shortage for memories after our three weeks abroad. That fact became even more apparent after I took my camera to Sam's on Sunday and discovered that I had 835 photos to print out that document every moment (and every meal) of our trip! Let me tell you, I just can't wait to sit down and put all of those in my photo album once I've sorted them all out!
Anyways, after looking through the rest of the class' blog updates over the past two days, I've realized there's really not much left to say! But...how could I ever really begin to adequately describe the trip in a couple of words anyways? It was incredible and eye-opening, and it's something we will all remember for the rest of our lives, but the places we saw and the stories we heard are things you can't really understand until you experience them on a personal level. I can't even say that I fully understand them yet! As for all of us, it's a constant learning experience, both in the classroom and beyond, that has let us at least skim the surface in a search for a better understanding of four very unique and unbelievable European countries.
Thus, it's impossible for me to pick a favorite city or a favorite country after experiencing each individually over the past three weeks. I loved Budapest because it seemed the least Westernized, and I felt as though I was able to make the city my own after strolling through parks and finding my own places to sit and observe that were off the beaten path. Another river city, Prague too was beautiful and unique, and it never lacked for good shopping and an assortment of tourist sites. From there, Warsaw and Gdansk gave us a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into Polish life where we played witness to two cities that were once leveled by bombs and have since recovered and become even more amazing with age. Finally, we visited Berlin, and we couldn't have had better timing, for we got to watch Germany play in the semi-finals for FIFA 2010 from the comfort of an Irish pub near our own Ramada Berlin-Mitte hotel.
Whether riding bikes through the city, taking paddleboats onto the river, swimming in the Baltic, or simply going off on our own to experience everyday life in these five European cities, the trip offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us. We don't know when we'll be back, or even if we'll be back, but I know that we made every minute count while we were overseas, and that looking back- there are definitely, definitely no regrets.
Thanks to all our readers for keeping your interest-