Each summer the Flinn Scholars Program takes an entire class of Scholars to Budapest, Hungary, and neighboring Romania for a three-week seminar on the emerging democracies of Eastern Europe. Here’s a day-by-day account.
Emma Kleiner (’09)
We all woke up to the now typical rainy day in Pecs, Hungary. Around 8 AM, there was a fleeting hopeful moment of sunshine, but that dream was quickly and effectively squashed by more rain. Our day centered around transporting ourselves from Pecs to Lake Balaton, but first we spent the morning and early afternoon in Pecs.
Breakfast was more lively than usual, as Nesima brought down her Mad Gab game, and we all gathered around a table to play. It must have been quite amusing for other foreign visitors to see a whole group of American teenagers trying to figure out silly phrases in English.
Then, after moving all our luggage downstairs, we proceeded to the main square in Pecs. Our mission there was to split into teams and create a scavenger hunt which we would then switch with another group.
Despite the chilly conditions, it was great to walk around Pecs one last time. My group even made it to a huge underground shopping mall, which was a cool experience!
After the scavenger hunt, we met at a Croatian restaurant, Afium. Most of us had eaten there previously, so it was familiar territory.
Following lunch, we departed on our bus to Lake Balaton. The most popular bus activity by far was sleeping, but some more adventurous Flinns entertained themselves by taking picures or even chatting with each other. The lush plants, rolling hills, and tall trees along the road made it a gorgeous drive. We arrived at Lake Balaton around 5 PM and had no trouble settling in at our beautiful hotel that also happened to be a castle.
After quickly depositing our suitcases, we were whisked off to dinner complete with a regional dessert specialty, which, due to the language barrier, we still do not know the name of. Our walk back to the castle was replete with general merrymaking and jokes, just like all Flinn together time.
Upon our arrival back at the castle we were given a tour by very nice and entertaining guides dressed in 18th century period clothing. The tour was fantastic, as it gave us the opportunity to learn more about the time period and the way in which the castle has been preserved. We saw the women’s waiting room (vanity themed with a lot of mirrors) and the men’s waiting room (hunting themed with a horse motif), but my favorite room by far was the library. Its dramatic high ceilings and ornamental woodwork proved to be the perfect houe for two floors of books. At the end of the tour we saw a special performance–a traditional European instrument, the hurdygurdy, was played for us. Then, we were all treated to a mini concert by Matt on the fiddle and Derek on the piano.
The night proved to be young, as many Flinns ventured into the chilly town after the tour, while others stayed and explored the castle.
Overall it was a terrific day with an especially fun evening. Hope everyone is doing well back in the U.S. and that you’re enjoying our blog!