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June 14th, 2011

Experience and travel, these are as education on themselves

Euripides

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June 14th, 2011

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2011 Reflection

August 27th, 2011

Over a month since our return from the 2011 Europe trip, and it feels interesting, to say the least. On one hand, life in the states has not particularly changed; nothing dramatic has shifted since our departure. Routines remain the same, people are the same, the environment is the same. And yet, in a manner of speaking, each of our own, individual worlds has been altered. Our experiences, relationships, even our way of taking in that which is around us, appreciating what we have, the similarities and differences; those are what have been affected. Despite how little or much the changes show, internally or externally, it is obvious that this trip has affected us in one manner or another and it is simple to tell that it is for the better.
I know that, personally, the experience of this trip was more meaningful than the last I had been on. With college beginning in less than a month, the knowledge of being able to connect with a group of new people, to walk throughout Europe for twelve days, and to live those days without the comfort of the familiar, even if the trip was in more familiar conditions than college will be, is beyond appreciated. It was truly a spectacular experience in which to engage.

Pompeii

July 15th, 2011

Out of the many cities we visited the one that inspired the most awe in me during our travels was Pompeii. It was a truly amazing to see the once destroyed city and witness all the fabulous work the archeologists did to restore buildings as they had once been. I had seen photographs of Pompeii before, but there was honestly nothing like seeing it first hand and being able to walk through the town where its inhabitants had once walked so many years before. We always think we are some of the first to come up with the great inventions, but after having a tour through Pompeii, you realize; that there were many people before us, and they had incredibly ingenious ideas and solutions to problems that presented themselves in their daily lives, whether it be using paintings to overcome a language barrier, or stepping stones to cross muddy roads. I know that other cities are just as old, and had people who were just as inventive living in them; the difference between the others and Pompeii was the fact that it had once been covered by 25 feet of volcanic material! 25 feet, could you imagine having to uncover a city laying 25 feet below? The work the archeologists did was a true wonder, they not only uncovered most of the city (and are continuing to dig up more of it) but they also replaced collapsed roofs, preserved mosaic tiled floors, and even managed to discover the reasons behind some architectural choices the people who built the city made. This city was one of my favorites, and has created awe struck feelings I will not soon forget.

Roman treasures

July 14th, 2011

Rome, understandably the capital of Italy, was a wonder. Every building I looked at I wanted to photograph and remember for as long as I live! The age of the city made walking around immensely amazing, you could walk a minute without running into a statue, fountain, or building that had a remarkable background story. And it made me wondrously glad to see that despite all the time that has passed, it’s beautiful treasure are still there to be admired by anyone who has the opportunity to travel to Rome. I hope to return to Rome some day and revisit all its famous monuments, it is a city I will never be tired of seeing, and even if I one day lived there I don’t think I’d ever be able to see all the magnificent city had to offer!

Beautiful Tuscany

July 11th, 2011

While we were in Italy, we got to visit the world’s best gelato maker ever: Sergio’s in San Gimigiano. On our way in and our way out the group got gelato. I had two gelatos (or gelati in Italian), four scoops each, eight flavors total; freaking awesome! I can’t remember all of the flavors I had but my favorite had to be the mango flavor as it was so refreshing in the humid heat of Italy. Besides the gelato, some people went to visit the torture museum. Some of the methods of torture were extremely appalling but they were creative. I would go into detail but I would rather you just go to Italy and see it for yourself. The torture museum is one of those things that you just have to experience firsthand. Besides the heat, which really was not that bad, Italy has to be one of my favorite places and I hope to visit it again in the future.

Seine River

July 9th, 2011

In Paris, France, there is a singular memory that is clearer than any of the rest; our group took an hour or so boat ride around the Seine River, I believe. The view magnificent; the Eiffel Tower stood beautifully above us, sparkling water below us, lush green tress and gorgeous history surrounding us. Except, as memorable as that is, it was not out environment that caught my attention. It was the people, the conversations; it felt as if it were the first time throughout the trip that the group connection was tangible. People opened up, some inner personality was able to peek its way through the awkward new people stage and by the time we disembarked, it felt as if a bond was truly formed and a more enjoyable atmosphere was set.

Harry Potter’s London

July 8th, 2011

Without a doubt, my favorite place that we visited was London. My fascination with British people doubled the second we landed at Heathrow. Being able to see landmarks such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace in person blew my mind. The highlight of the stop in England, though, was the Harry Potter sightseeing tour. Me and a few other students drove around the city in a traditional black taxi and saw scenes straight out of the wizard movies. Our driver, an adorable little British man, was hysterical, which made the tour that much more fun. To top off the Harry Potter extravaganza, we got to see the premiere of the last movie being set up in Trafalgar Square. Camera crews from all around the world were interviewing fans who had staked out in the Square for more than six days. I wished I could join them. Even though I couldn’t, however, seeing a crucial part of such a huge franchise taking place before my eyes was truly unforgettable. London was better than my expectations, tenfold.

London calling

July 7th, 2011

Of the places that we visited while in Europe, one of my favorites what London. The lack of a language barrier provided an easier manner of communication with London’s people. Although the group was only in London for two days, I feel as though I got to see and enjoy a great deal of it. Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar square were full of fun shops, yummy food, and a diverse amount of people. During our short stay in London five people from the group got to go on a mini tour around London to see some of the locations that could be seen within the Harry Potter film series, Awesome! Seeing these little highlights gave me a sense of excitement towards the last Harry Potter film, which premiered in London the day of our tour. However, we didn’t get to actually see the film :( . But I was still happy to have been in the immediate area. In addition to our little excursion throughout the city, the entire group got to go watch a musical, Lend Me A Tenor. I’m so happy that I got to see my first actual musical in London, the songs were great and the singing itself was incredible. Altogether, London was an incredible place to visit and I hope to return someday.

England 2011

July 7th, 2011

Even before falling in love with the Harry Potter series, England has been my dream vacation. I had envisioned gorgeous, historical buildings and castles, the falling of rain, the cover of clouds, amazing accents…But it was more than that; England was the perfect photography location, and overall a phenomenal place to be. It had a homey feeling unlike anywhere else that we visited. It did help that, when we were in London, the premiere for the new Harry Potter movie was being set up; it allowed for a great bond to form between the people were showed such obvious enthusiasm for something that has become such a grand part of life. The presence of the series not only allowed for a greater connection between individuals and the country, but it provided an outlet for some members of the group to bond in a way otherwise not possible; five of us were able to embark on an adventure; our own journey to find the horcruxes, if you will. With our memorable guide, we were able to hunt down and locate various locations that portions of the movie were filmed or took place, which was exciting; it made the experience of the series seem more real and being able to see, rather than visualize, locations from a England-based series, made the Europe experience all the more brilliant.