Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Terezín Concentration Camp

During our first travel week, our second stop was Prague in the Czech Republic. We were there for three days and it was a gorgeous city. We walked around and saw the Old Town Square, St. Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle. They were especially beautiful at night when they were all lit up.

On our second day in Prague, we decided to take a bus to the Terezin concentration camp about an hour outside of the city. The bus dropped us off in the small town and we walked across a river to the camp. It was a former military fortress built in the late 18th century and Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand was imprisoned there. Then it was used during WWII as a concentration camp and for POWs.

We toured the entire fortress and saw the prison cells, showers, bathrooms, hospital and even walked through the underground tunnel of the fortress. I think walking into the room with wooden bunk beds was the point that stuck out in my mind. I've always seen clips from movies, documentaries or pictures out of books of the bare accommodations. This time, the room where 100 innocent Jewish people were kept was right in front of me.

Although it was pretty intense visiting Terezin, I'm really glad we took the time to see it for ourselves. I feel like it's something everyone should experience at some point in their lives.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


This past weekend, I went with a group of girls to Carnevale in Venice from Saturday to Sunday. I think the majority of the CIMBA group went and we all had so much fun! I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it was definitely something I'll be able to look back on in the future.

We spent the first part of the afternoon walking down the crowded, narrow streets looking for the perfect masks to wear. I finally decided on a black and white one with dark green and black feathers on the side. Everyone ended up getting a different one and it was really neat to see what each of us picked out. The outfits people wore were absolutely amazing. I saw a lot of big, medieval costumes in every color you could imagine. They would just stroll through the streets, stopping politely whenever people wanted to take pictures of them or with them.

While I expected to see those types of costumes, I definitely didn't expect to see some of the ones I did. We saw everything from Shrek and the Smirfs to Star Trek and Wizard of Oz characters. It was like a combinatino of Mari Gras and Halloween, but in Venice, Italy. It was definitely a unique experience and we had a great time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Weekend in Florence

This past weekend I traveled to Florence with a big group of CIMBA students. We were able to see a lot of different things like the Duomo, Michelangelo's David, the Uffizi art gallery, the Ponte Vecchio and an amazing view of the entire city of Florence. The city was beautiful and I had a great time exploring, seeing the sights, eating different Italian foods and dancing until 4 a.m.

My favorite part of the weekend in Florence had to be the view of the city from the top of the hill. Ariana and I walked along the Arno river, bought Nutella gelato and made our way up the steps leading to the top. We climbed up the old stone steps, passed a natural rock waterfall and finally got to the top of the hill. To have the city of Florence at your feet was breathtaking. I tried to capture the moment in pictures, but they could never do it justice.
From the top, the Duomo stood out the most, but Fort Belvedere was also beautiful and is something you can't really see from the city. Its rock wall led up the hillside and was surrounded by bright green grass, just like the pictures you see of the rolling hills in Tuscany. It was definitely a view I'll remember forever.