Each summer an entire class of Flinn Scholars engages in a group study-travel seminar. This year’s seminar, held in Hungary and western Romania, runs from late in May to mid-June. Here’s a day-by-day account.
Eric Chang (’11)
Our second day staying at the Snetburger Music Talent Center began ambitiously. Cary, Amy, and I woke up at 4:30 to hike up a hill and watch the sunrise. Upon arriving at our vantage point and peering over the endless sweeping meadows in the distance, we grew skeptical about whether the sunrise would even be visible behind the thick cloud cover. After an hour of conversation, the sun still hadn’t peered through the clouds and we sadly trekked back to the cabins in the light drizzle.
The inclement weather meant our plans to relax at a Lake Balaton beach needed revision. Initial thoughts were to visit the town, but before then we headed to the Balaton Limnological Research Institute for a lecture by Matyas Presing concerning the research being conducted at Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe. We learned about how an inrunning filtration process fixed the lake’s prior bacterial and water quality issues, ultimately replacing dangerous cyanobacteria with green algae. Due to the institute’s research, the lake water is now clean enough to drink and is a major recreational site during the summer.
Hearing this, we were pleasantly surprised that it was sunny when we were leaving the institute. We quickly reverted back to our original plans and spent the next couple hours swimming in the gorgeous lake, building sand castles, and capturing beach towel-superhero photos.
Lunch took place at a homey restaurant with a wood fire oven and cats roaming the dining room. After enjoying yet another delicious traditional three course hungarian meal, we headed to the shore again to catch a ferry across the lake. We were finally truly saying goodbye to the Balaton region and approaching our next destination.
En route to our hostel in Obanya, we stopped by a local man’s home to pick cherries and tour his restored three-story water mill. We all had a blast grabbing as many cherries as we could find, climbing all over this man’s tree to fill a bucketful of delicious fruit. Of course, this didn’t happen without us all munching on these cherries while we picked, and the air soon become thick with flying pits.
Later that evening, we had finally arrived at the hostel in Obanya, a rural village in southern Hungary. After a soothing meal of goulash cooked over a campfire, we decided to begin our preparations for our performance this upcoming Monday at the Ghandi School, a Romani high school in Pecs, Hungary. We settled on an a cappella performance of “We Are Young” by Fun, led by the former drum majors in our class– Cary and Nick.
Finally, despite having to coordinate eleven boys sharing one bathroom, we were all happy to get some rest after a hectic and long, yet rewarding day of experiencing rural lifestyle in southern Hungary.