Monday, June 2, 2008

Martin, TN June 1, 2008

We are back home safe. I am writing the blog now because I can find a computer more easily. The trip was a worthwhile endeavor, and I learned much. I am glad to be back home, and have gained a greater appreciation for home. I have learned much from this trip, not just historically, but personally. One of the greatest lessons we can learn from the Holocaust is to value human life, our own and others. I may not agree with someone religiously, politically, etc., but I should never forget that in spite of this, I still have an obligation to treat others with dignity. This is a lesson I can use not only in my future classroom, but in life as well. The trip was emiotional in many ways, such as the experiances at the camps, but fun as well. We did many other things not related to the Holocaust. Even though the trip itself is over, the learning will continue from now on.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Warsaw, May 28

Greetings from Warsaw, where we arrived this afternoon on a sunny and beautiful afternoon. We missed French President Nicolas Sarkozy by 20 minutes at the royal residence of Lazienki. Nevertheless our students enjoyed the stroll through the beautiful park and they grew quite fond of the peacocks which paraded for them. Google Lazienki Palace, Warsaw, and check it out: it is the palace on the water -- quite romantic. We had a visit of the town afterwards, checked in our hotel (with a fantastic view of the Warsaw skyline), and went to dinner. With my group, we were ten. It was a lot of fun discovering such things as tartar sauce (the European way) and celery root salad. Afterwards we fell into internew heaven when we stopped by an internet cafe. Finally something is working! And I can post text. I would show you a picture of all of us at the Lazienki Palace, but for one thing there are no USB ports at the computer terminal that i am using, and secondly I do not know how to operate my husband's camera. :( But after the trip we will post the hundreds of pictures that have been taken thus far.

Today was a busy day, like every day of our trip: so much to take in, so much to see, so much to do. Our travelers are still doing well and I believe love discovering Poland. I am very proud of our travelers, and you should be very proud of your loved ones, for they are behaving in a way that makes us all proud, and representing you, their institutions, and the United States, quite remarkably well. I have yet to see one of them be late for the morning bus departures! They make my job so easy, it is wonderful.

Tomorrow we go to our last extermination camp, Treblinka, in the morning, then the balance of the afternoon will be spent visiting Warsaw further.

When you think that we landed in Berlin on the day of the Dalai Lama's visit in Berlin, that we were in Prague during the famous Prague Spring Music Festival Days, that we missed Prince Charles of England's inauguration of the Jewish Community Center in Cracow by a couple of weeks, and that we arrived in Warsaw on the day of French President Sarkozy's visit in Warsaw , wouldn't you think that I have excellent timing? :)

More later,

Alice-Catherine Carls

Monday, May 26, 2008

We are having a great time.

After Prague which was breathtaking but totally pirated by tourists, the city of Crocow, desgnated one of UNESCO's World Sites in 1978, was a breath of fresh air. Everyone is doing great, haveing a good time, even the weather is cooperating. Our guide today through the Jewish Quarter and Ghetto was very good. The Royal Castle was our next stop, and the medieval museum of the Collegium Maius of the Jagiellonian University, Europe's second oldest. We are eating Italian food in Cracow: the best food in town, not surprisingly since Poland has a long-standing connection with Italian culture. Tomorrow is the visit to Auschwitz, our day will be very different, but full of meaningful experiences as well. I have got to go, Zach is about to show us a video called "Dancing with Tora" about which he will tell you more later. We are congregating in the lobby of the hotel. The weather has been fabulous and it is a joy to share students' experiences.

PS We would write more often but the internet connections in Europe are difficult -- this is definitely a learning experience for me. Next time, i won't leave home without my laptop.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sitting at the hotel computer station in Berlin which is guzzling down my Euros...

Hello everyone, Greetings from Berlin. We made it OK and the whole groupis now gathered together, and everybody is fine. Last night we ate atthe Gugelhof Restaurant in the poets' and artists' quarter and learnedthat President Clinton ate there in 1998, ten years ago. The weather isvery nice, the linden trees and the chestnut trees are in full bloom andso are the lilacs. Everything is so beautiful. Today after a plentifulbreakfast we went on a tour of central Berlin and saw the Reichstagbuilding, the field ofd stelae, and Wannsee. Our guide, Heiko, was mosthelpful and gracious. The Wannsee villa was quite an experience, set ina beautiful surrounding area by the Wannsee Lake. It is hard to believetoday that that was where the Final Solution was decided on January 20,1942. After lunch we drove to Checkpoint Charlie for a quick lunch (thearea has become incredibly commercialized) and then to the OranienburgSynagogue for a visit. Around 5 pm we had had out first sight of thelongest section of the Berlin Wall still standing -- by the river, inEast Berlin, and now flanked by a huge modern music hall. We broke intosmaller groups to experience the U-Bahn (the Berlin metro) and I am nowsitting by the hotel's entrance door checking our travelers' eveningreturn from their dinner and tour. So far everything is going very well.Tomorrow is the Ravensbruck camp and a free afternoon. We expect theweather to remain pleasant, in the low to mid-sixties. More later. . .

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Welcome to our Travelers, Families and Friends

Good afternoon, travelers, families and friends,

I am inaugurating our trip blog and inviting you to participate in it and/or view it as often as you would like. The rules are as follows:
  • this blog's purpose is to keep a "public diary" or "travelogue" of our travel experiences;
  • this blog is public. Do not post any text or images that you are not ready to share with the whole world. Personal items and comments should be sent through other means such as email or Facebook;
  • only trip participants may contribute to this blog; however, no one is obligated to contribute;
  • families and friends are invited to view this page as often as they would like to follow us during the trip "in real time";
  • we encourage families and friends to leave comments on the blog posts; all comments will be mediated for integrity;

Welcome to our Holocaust Travel experience.

Alice-Catherine Carls