by Rich Landesberg
We must be back in the USA. We all got here safely but many are struggling to get home, with many flights cancelled. Days ago, our students in the New York area volunteered to take home anyone stranded overnight. The ground is covered with snow here in New York, a reminder of many snowy days we encountered during this month in Europe. Our exploration of the European Union took us from Belgium,to Luxembourg, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Italy. We were in about 14 different cities. We saw the places where Western civilization was born and the places where 20th century madmen tried to end it. We stood on the ground where the first attempts were made to organize Europe thousands of years ago and the ground where laws were passed in the newly organized Europe just days ago. We saw the worst of what people can do to others in places like the Rumbula forest in Riga and the KGB Museum in Vilnius. And we saw the best of people in the work being done at the orphanage in Parpacci and the courageous stance for human rights that probably has our Belarusian friend in jail right now. We made new friends and had the privilege of talking with well-informed people who gave us insight into the European Union.
No matter where we traveled we saw great beauty: in the old town of Estonia, along the canals of Bruges, by the Ferris wheel in Riga, at Madame Butterfly in Vilnius, at the old medical college in Bologna, by the Duomo in Florence and the Vatican in Rome…and in so many more places. Everywhere we turned there was something new to take our breath away. But one of the most beautiful things on this course was how well everyone travelled together and how much we learned from one another. We are all lucky and privileged to have this opportunity. We are excited to see what our students will do with this experience in the years to come.
Stay tuned to the student tab on this blog for some final thoughts from our students….to be posted sometime next week. Thanks for following our adventure.