I (Shelley Perry) am now taking over trip updates from Angela Stanley who has moved into the role of overseeing the entirety of the kitchen component of the trip.
We have now entered the second half of the trip and with it has come some changes. The group ended their time in Italy with the first real rainfall of the trip. Venice brought with it new leaders (Shelley & Kendall Kadatz and I) while testing us (and our tents) with a thunder storm. Unfortunately the poor weather continued as we crossed the Alps but spirits remained high as clips of the Sound of Music were played during the long bus ride to Zell Am See–a picturesque ski town in Austria. There we took a day trip to Obersalzburg to a museum called The Eagle’s Nest which was once Hitler’s retreat centre and bunker. Now the site houses an extremely informative exhibit on the rise of the National Socialist Party in Germany and the effects of Nazism on Germany. The campground, set quietly on a pristine lake was a stark contrast to the noisy, busy sites in Italy to which the group had been accustomed.
From there we made our way to what was once the cultural centre of the Holy Roman Empire, Vienna! With espresso to die for, Beethoven, the waltz, Gustav Klimt and copious amounts of Baroque architecture, what more could we ask for in one city? We even had the privilege of scoring tickets to the Opera (standing room only) to see Wagner’s Die Walküre! Vienna also brought relief from the rain and the arrival of Peter and Mary Ellen Fitch. Sadly this meant saying goodbye to both the Thiessens and the Barhams as the trip leadership officially changed for the second half.
From Vienna we made a brief stop in Prague, Czech Republic where we met up with SSU alumni, John and Roberta Bartos, currently living in Moravia. Students were intrigued to see evidence of a country still emerging from decades under Soviet rule. Truly it is a city where Eastern Europe meets the west. The visit to the Museum of Communism was particularly helpful in understanding the countries tumultuous past and relatively peaceful revolution in 1989 (the Velvet Revolution).
After some more rain in Prague, the group was more than happy to arrive at our current accommodations near Dresden, Germany. This is SSU’s second time at Rohrsdorf, a castle that has been turned into a Christian artist community. Here we will spend our 4 days cooking gourmet meals (with an oven), sleeping indoors, and taking an intentional mid-trip break to catch up on rest and work. Our only program time took place today with a phenomenal tour of Dresden with a new friend and guide, Grit, who enlightened us on Saxon history, the firebombing of the city by the Allies in 1945, and the complicated process of transition for East Germany after the unification.
All in all everyone is doing well and we (the leadership) are continually impressed with everyone’s positive attitudes and care for one another.
Goodbye for now!