Eastern Europe Trip

Learn more about the Spring Break trip!

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Eastern Europe Trip

All of the AMHS students on the trip at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

All of the AMHS students on the trip at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

All of the AMHS students on the trip at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

All of the AMHS students on the trip at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

Over spring break from March 24 to April 2, Mr. McCormick, Dr. Altman, and Mrs. Lankford lead an EF tour to Eastern Europe, and the trip was a great success! As one of the nine seniors on the trip, I can fill y’all in on the details and provide a summary of the amazing places we went! We flew overnight from Charleston to Berlin on the 24th and hit the ground running on the 25th. We stayed in Berlin for 2 days and saw the Berlin Wall, took two guided tours of the city, and had some free time to explore the city. After Berlin, we traveled to Prague but on the way we stopped in Dresden (Slaughterhouse 5 fans?) which was really neat. In Dresden, we took a guided tour of the city and had more free time to get lunch and walk around the city. After World War II, both Berlin and Dresden were destroyed, and Dresden was rebuilt in the old style while Berlin was rebuilt in the “new” style of the early ‘50s. Therefore Berlin and Dresden look totally different.

After Berlin, we went to Prague where we saw St. Vitus Cathedral, the John Lennon Wall, the Prague Castle, the Golden Row, St. Charles Bridge, the Astronomical Clock, and walked around the city. Whereas Berlin and Dresden were destroyed and rebuilt, Prague escaped major damage during World War II, so the city is full of historic charm, which makes Prague a major tourist attraction. In addition, in Prague many of us tried “chimney cakes-” a desert sold everywhere in Prague. A chimney cake is made from dough wrapped into a large ice cream cone shape; the dough is then cooked with cinnamon sugar or toasted nuts and ice cream is served inside the warm dough.

After Prague, we left for Krakow, Poland, which remains one of the only Polish cities not destroyed in World War II. In Krakow, we went to St. Mary’s Basilica and took a guided tour of the city to see a castle in Krakow, the Jewish quarter of the city, and learn more about Krakow’s history. The second day in Krakow we went to the Krakow Salt Mines located several flights of stairs underground, and on our 2 hour tour of the mines we only saw 1% of the mines, meaning there is a lot of salt down there. After the salt mines, we went to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps, and there aren’t words to describe how sad and horrifying the concentration camps are. The exhibits were heartbreaking and chilling, and the message of the tour was the importance of learning history to avoid it repeating.

After Krakow, we went to Budapest (which we learned is actually pronounced Budapesht) which was my favorite stop on the trip, and on the way we stopped in a small town in Slovakia for lunch. Located in Hungary and a former co-capital of the Habsburg empire, Budapest is the combination of the city Buda to the west of the Danube River and Pest to the east. In Budapest we took a guided tour of the city to walk around and see the Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church, and Hero’s square. We also went to the Budapest Baths- a combination of 3 outdoor “baths” which are more like swimming pools, several smaller indoor baths, and several saunas- which are rumored to have magical powers.

The entire trip was really awesome and fascinating, and we were lucky to have Mrs. Lankford, Dr. Altman, and Mr. McCormick as chaperones and Chris as out EF guide for the whole trip!

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