Posted on October 31st, 2008
My free travel – a week of Greek salads, rock beaches, and relaxation. This week included many bus rides over Santorini Island, an invigorating donkey ride through the tourist filled town of Fira, and a delicious dinner overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the thirty seven hours spent waiting in various airports and on the ferry, we enjoyed our stay immensely. We did lots of shopping, eating, and played cards at every opportunity.
Our countryside hostel was a geographical oddity, being a fifteen minute bus ride away from any town, but it was beautiful, and the owners were extremely friendly and helpful. Fira and Oia offered us a variety of wonderful experiences, shopping, sampling local tasties, and many photo shoots. Even though Santorini wasn’t what I expected, I was constantly impressed by the food, scenery, and the welcoming people of Greece.
–Written by Kelly Baker who traveled to Athens and Santorini, Greece with Rachael King, Nicole Yoder, and Lauren Derstine.
I chose to visit Prague for free travel because Wikipedia claims it is the most beautiful city in the world. Although I wouldn’t entirely agree with this assessment, I couldn’t be disappointed after having visited Prague Castle, one of the biggest castles in the world with its acres of vineyards, gardens, and beautiful view of the city. We visited the famous Astronomical Clock, the picturesque Charles Bridge, the Communist Museum, as well as the house of the writer Franz Kafka. Much of our time, however, we spent in the Old Town Square where we witnessed a range of events from the International Bartending Awards to a confrontation between 200 drunken football fans and three hundred police officers.
My favorite part of the trip was getting the opportunity to meet people from all over the world in our hostel. We hung out with people from Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, France, and Finland. It was fascinating learning about the differences in our cultures and finding out how similar we all really are.
–written by Jasmine Brubaker who traveled to Prague with Nichole Dinges and Abigail Spurrier
Rome, Florence, Venice. Three Italian cities in one week were kind of intense but the 5 of us had a lot of fun. We started in Rome where we hit the historical stuff pretty hard; Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, Coliseum, etc. In Florence and Venice we took more of a break, relaxing and spending our time not only in art galleries but also exploring the city streets (canals in the case of Venice), taking in the local color and flavor of Italy from impromptu street dances, clowns, and shops to chalk artists to desserts! It was an experience we will never forget.
– written by Sarah Harder who traveled to Italy with Sarah Gant, Erica Yoder, Steven Rittenhouse, and Michelle Lehman
My group and I decided that we wanted to explore Spain, so we made a list of all the things we wanted to do in our week of free travel. Since Barcelona, our first destination, had so much to offer, we quickly realized that we wouldn’t be able to have time to do all of the things on our list. We began with La Segrada Familia. Words can not explain the way we felt when we got there. Taking a tour of the magnificent church was like taking a tour through the stories of the Bible. The architecture was breathtaking despite the incomplete construction of the building. Next, we went to Gaudi Park which was another beautiful experience. On our way to each of these places, we met with many wonderful people. One couple whom we met gave us advice for the best things to see in the city, and told us that if we ever returned to Spain, we were welcome to stay with them at their houses.
Throughout this entire cross cultural, God has been appearing in unexpected situations. This couple did not have to take the time to give us advice or be so welcoming, but through their kindness, I was able to see God working in Spain. Our group was extremely grateful for the experiences we had on free travel.
–Written by Angelica Lorisme who traveled around Spain with Katie Brubaker and Angelica Robles.
The city of Berlin is massive. To get a feel for the country in a limited time is simply not feasible. However it is rich with distinct culture and exhibits passion for the ambiance of pre-war Germany. An example of such can be found in the avoidance of sky scrapers and
adherence to height restrictions to best emulate architecture modeling a time prior to the decimation a great war inevitably brings.
The air smells pure, the streets are clean, and unity and pride can both be found throughout Germany. On the whole the Germans treated my small group with respect and were open to conversations and discussions of political and lifestyle perceptions alike.
–Written by Greyson Dructor who traveled to Germany with Robert Alderfer, Steven Stauffer, and Colten New