FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Week Nine

by James Kenvin

Nov 12, 2014

© James Kenvin

Study Abroad
© James Kenvin

© James Kenvin

James Kenvin checks in weekly from his study abroad semester in London; catch up with him every Wednesday on Trazee Travel.

 

October was the month of due dates. My classmates and I all frantically rushed around writing papers, creating PowerPoint presentations and studying for mid-term exams. It’s extremely hard to focus on schoolwork when you’re studying abroad. I always feel like I’m missing out on exploring when I’m sitting at my desk studying. Thankfully, this terribly busy and stressful time was rewarded with week-long fall break at the end of the month. Making up for all of that time I felt I was missing out on adventure, my friend and I decided to use this break to see Europe. In a span of six days, we visited Krakow, Poland; Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czech Republic; Salzburg, Austria; and Berlin, Germany. Since we had such a short time in each city, we were forced to appreciate every moment we spent there.

 

In Poland, we went outside of Krakow to take a tour of Auschwitz and Birkenau. The entire experience was surreal. I’ve learned so much growing up about World War II and the Holocaust, but to actually stand inside one of the concentration camps made those words from a textbook into a physical reality.

 

After our time in Poland, we took an overnight train to Budapest. I decided to add this destination to my trip after a professor told me how beautiful the city was. The moment we walked out of the train station, I was amazed by just how right that professor was. Budapest is an architectural paradise. You are surrounded by the most beautiful buildings, the most amazing of which is the Parliament building. This same architectural beauty can be seen in Prague, as well. We visited the Petřín, a large hill in the center of the city. Here, we got to take in the whole city, seeing every inch of its alluring beauty.

 

The next two cities, Salzburg and Berlin, kept with the theme of aesthetically-pleasing places. In Austria, we got the opportunity to go outside of Salzburg to a small town called Mondsee. In this small village, we sat down with an amazing cup of hot chocolate, and looked out at our breathtaking view of the Swiss Alps. I was absolutely awestruck and found it almost impossible to pull myself away from that moment in order to catch our train to Berlin; however, I’m glad I managed to do so. Berlin is such an interesting place. My favorite spot we visited was the East Side Gallery — a portion of the Berlin Wall covered in amazing street art. From these art pieces, I got to see the history of when the Berlin Wall divided East and West Berlin, from the perspective of the people that live in the city.

 

I still find it hard to believe I got to visit all of these places over the last week. When I first decided to study abroad, I didn’t realize I would get the opportunity to experience so many different countries and cultures. My fall break may have been short, but it was extremely eye-opening and the memory of those moments will definitely last.

 

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