Submitted by Teri Valitchka
While we have a long day of travel ahead of us today, most of us are looking forward to reuniting with family and friends back home at the end of it. For some of us, this was our first time abroad and for the seasoned world travelers, this was another experience to add to a long list of adventures. On this last day, we each reflected back on the amazing trip we’ve had and commented on our favorite parts of this journey:
Amy – Being inside the tower of a cathedral in Hamburg when the bells began to ring; also noting comparisons between cultures.
Mark – The Swiss Alps were beautiful.
Bree – Relaxing alongside rivers, observing interactions between people, being in the mountains, taking in the lights and other sights we’d never get to see at home.
Jake – Hiking in the Swiss Alps was unbelievable.
Taylor – Being at the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps, as well as taking the tram to the top of the mountain in Heidelberg and enjoying the natural scenery.
Liz – The amazing views and feeling of being at peace in the Swiss Alps, and the picturesque views in general throughout Switzerland.
Megan – Swiss Alps are so pretty! When else will we see this?!
Sam – Swiss Alps were amazing and our pictures of the landscape are beautiful.
Katie – The entire day we spent traveling throughout Switzerland while based in Zurich gave us a good taste of the country (literally – cheese and chocolate!) and showed us why Switzerland is so unique.
Tyra – Exploring the Swiss Alps was awe-inspiring and the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam was great.
Mara – Our authentic German dinner in Heidelberg – we got in late and the owner of the restaurant prepared family-style platters for us to try a variety of German specialties such as schnitzel, sourcraut, pork shank, and fried potatoes.
Ashten – Experiencing new cultures together was a very deep experience and I made new lifelong friends.
Luke – The night in which we were served the family-style German meal was a monumental memory. The struggle to navigate a new city, find the restaurant listed in the guidebook, and get there before the kitchen closed resulted in a little frustration, but many more laughs. Our interactions with the restaurant owner and staff and the reaction of the local German patrons added to the experience, as well as the delicious meal.
Yuri – Meeting two German students in Osnabruck who went out of their way to be hospitable and help us find our way when we got lost. When we asked them why they put in such an incredible amount of effort to help us, they responded that they hoped if they were in the U.S. that someone would take care of them in the same way. This was not only a sign of great German hospitality, but also the basic similarities in human nature around the globe.
Craig – The best day was traveling up to the King’s Throne in Heidelberg, then eating goulash at a German restaurant, and ending the day watching the sun set over the castle from a park. Amazing!
Nicole – Meeting new people, traveling to four new countries for the first time, seeing the various sights; favorite planned group activity was visiting the mountain top in the Swiss Alps and favorite free time activities were touring the Anne Frank Haus and the German dinner in Heidelberg.
Kelsey – Climbing around the mountain top in Switzerland and meeting the helpful German students in Osnabruck.
Callie – Climbing “off the beaten path” to reach a cross set on the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps.
Kurt – The first day at the festival in Osnabruck and enjoying each others’ fellowship more deeply for the first time.
David – Exploring the top of the mountain in Switzerland, the festival in Osnabruck, and the bus rides (joking).
Jeanine – Visiting the Anne Frank Haus, as well as exploring the various old town areas and marketplaces.
Steve – Climbing the tower of the cathedral in Hamburg when the bells rang; seeing the huge old bells just a few feet away and hearing the reverberations in the tower was great.
Teri – The numerous churches and cathedrals with beautiful stained glass, ornate decor, and centuries of history. The feeling of peace and reverence, in addition to hundreds of steps climbed to see out the bell towers brought us closer together as a group. Looking out over the beautiful cities of Cologne, Geneva, Zurich, and others from that viewpoint was amazing. Also, immersing ourselves in a group of former strangers, in new cultures, and in different languages helped us all to learn more about ourselves in the process.