Each summer an entire class of Flinn Scholars engages in a group study-travel seminar. This year’s seminar, held in Hungary and western Romania, runs from late in May to mid-June. Here’s a day-by-day account.
Aman Aberra (’11)
“Sometimes, I think we’re in Disney Land.”
What sounded like just another Paul outburst became a fitting description of our first day in Budapest, Hungary. In the twenty-four hours of traveling, it never quite hit me that we were on the other side of the world. The wonders of modern travel, never complete without screaming babies and awkward physical contact, still allow us to forget we’re suspended thousands of feet in the air, covering thousands of miles in just hours. Emerging from the airport in a city where every building is a piece of art, imposing marble statues of historical figures stand a few blocks from our hotel, and magical castles lie on just the other side of the river, we were overwhelmed by the wealth of beautiful things to see and experience.
On Sunday morning, after our first taste of Hungarian cuisine in the hotel, we split into two groups, with one attending an orientation while the other received a tour of the city before switching activities. My group attended the orientation first, where the word of the day was “excited”, especially upon hearing all of the events planned for us. On our tour of Buda, the part of the city west of the Danube river, we stared wide-eyed at enormous, intricately detailed sculptures and fountains while descending to the entrance of an underground labyrinth, and learned about dozens of buildings and sites along the way. I felt like my head was on a swivel, trying to catch everything around us. It was easier to choose what to see on the bus ride back, since my neck was crushed flat against the window under the weight of about fifty people in the crowded bus.
The day ended with a dinner reception on the Danube river, where we were introduced to the student hosts we would stay with later in the trip. The view of the parliament, the former royal palace, and other picturesque scenery accompanied the colorful dinner of traditional Hungarian food – I say picturesque ironically, since it was extremely difficult to capture the sights in a picture. Our stay in Disney Land has just begun.