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.
Cody Frear (’11)
Although we awoke to gray skies this morning, the day turned out to be anything but bleak. The clouds overhead seemed to intensify the vibrancy of Obanya, making its rolling hills a glowing emerald, its shingled roofs a rich reddish-orange, and its grazing sheep a magnificent, pure white. It was a visual feast, and my eyes gobbled up every inch of it during my morning jog. (NOTE: When running through a small Hungarian village, make sure to watch out for roaming farm animals. And the things they leave behind.)
After the run, I volunteered along with a few other Flinns to prepare breakfast for our 25-member group. Under the masterful direction of Julia and Olivia, we went full Iron Chef mode on our closet-sized kitchen, chopping up dozens of fruits and vegetables, asking to borrow possibly every spare pot and pan our non-English speaking host family had (vastly improving our charades skills in the process), and finding some new uses for bath water (you don’t want to know). The end product was a delicious meal of French toast with cherry sauce, which one scholar described as “heaven in a pan.”
Next on our itinerary was a hike through the Mecsek Hills, a trip that was scheduled to take three hours but ended up taking more than four. The extra time didn’t seem to bother anyone; we were all too awe-struck by the stunning waterfalls, plateaus, and caves surrounding us. It was like journeying through the setting of an ancient fairytale or luxury car commercial. Equally as pleasurable were the conversations we shared. Exemplifying the passion and diversity that, for me, are the greatest qualities of the Flinn community, the scholars around me talked about everything from Jainism to evolutionary biology to Philip K. Dick (don’t worry- there were plenty of discussions on Facebook memes and Bridesmaids, as well). Plus, no hike is really complete without getting lost at least once or twice. Or, in our case, three times.
We concluded our day by traveling to and touring around Pecs, a college town near Hungary’s southwestern border. Smaller than Budapest but still infused with a strong sense of history and culture, Pecs is the kind of European city that actually lives up to its brochures. We couldn’t walk more than a few hundred feet without finding another dazzling cathedral, museum, public square, or monument. As we were returning to the hotel at the end of the day, the moonlight glimmering on the slated roofs and cobblestone streets, I couldn’t help but reflect for perhaps the 100,000th time how fortunate I am to be here and to call myself a member of the Flinn community.