Dear Parents of Backpack Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Czech Republic!
We are writing to you as we look out on the beautiful mountains of the Slovenian countryside, but first, we would like to update you on the end of our time in Prague and our visit to Vienna!
Our group had a very interesting tour of Terezin. We had the opportunity to hear from an expert in the going-ons of the camp and we learned that Terezin was partially meant to be a camp to show to high ranking officials of the Gestapo. We toured the living areas and many of the trip members even had the chance to walk through a maze of underground tunnels.
For our final evening in Prague, we all tried our hand at whipping up some traditional Czech cuisine at a cooking class! We learned how to chop and dice vegetables for traditional Czech soup, and some of the boys even volunteered to mix the bread dough with their hands! It was great to work together to create a completely homemade meal for our group of 22 – maybe you can ask them to make some beef goulash and traditional dumplings when they get home! Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so we made traditional Czech pancakes with an American twist by adding chocolate chips! I think we all enjoyed sitting around the table filling our bellies with our homemade goodness!
Next we were off to Vienna, but not before a stop at the famous village of Cesky Krumlov, a small village on the side of a mountain with a large castle that provided the perfect scenic spot to eat lunch. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to walk around this fairytale-esque town, and we have plenty of photos to show of the beautiful backdrop.
Once we arrived in Vienna, we took the metro into the city center to explore Kartner Strabe, the longest pedestrian street in Vienna. Everyone had the chance to hear their first bit of German and explore the beautiful city of Vienna by night! Later back at the hotel we played a competitive game of Scattegories and got ready for the next day. We started off with a guided tour of Schoenbrunn Palace, which consists of over 40 rooms! All of the rooms are preserved almost perfectly, so walking through the living rooms, the kitchen, the ballroom and more, gave us a great picture as to how the Emperors and Empresses used to live.
After our tour, we walked around Nashmarkt, a small pedestrian street with over 120 types of restaurants and shops. Many of the trip members enjoyed exploring the macaroon shop (it smelled delicious!) and we were able to fill our water bottles at the public tap, which has excellent water as it all comes straight from the mountains. Needless to say, there have been many “Sound of Music” references during our time in Austria!
We spent the afternoon biking through Vienna which was a highlight of the trip. We had a great guide who told us all about the significance of some of the historical buildings in downtown Vienna, and even got to see where the Congress of Vienna was signed. We all enjoyed stopping at a beautiful fountain to take some photos and cool off toward the end of the tour! We finished our time in Vienna with a trip to Prater Amusement Park. So many of us were excited to ride the rollercoasters and a few trip members even won prizes at the game booths. The entire group rode the historic ferris wheel, known as Risenrad (giant wheel), which was erected in 1896-1897 and gave us a great view of the beautiful city of Vienna.
Today, we head to Slovenia to continue on our journey!
That’s all for now,
The Westcoast Blogger
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