"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom....Since our office is with moments, let us husband them."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, November 04, 2007

And the wheels on the bus go round and round...

One of man’s greatest abilities is our capacity to invent new things. It is what has propelled the human race to where we our today. However, we have failed miserably when it comes to inventing a good form of bus transportation conducive to 26 hours on a bus over a 72-hour period. I just hate buses. Sunday afternoon was the beginning of another 15-hour bus ride, this time to Cesky Raj in the Czech Republic. It was not a pleasant experience to say the least. Not to mention the crazy feelings of déjà vu that ensued, primarily due to the fact that I was on the same ferryboat from Gedser, Denmark, to Rostock, Germany, for the third time in a week.

In another moment of déjà vu, the first stop the group made was at a former Nazi concentration camp. This time we visited Theresientstadt, which is notorious for being the camp that Nazi officials would show off to foreign dignitaries and Red Cross workers to demonstrate the high level of facilities and care provided to the detainees. If the Nazis were good at one thing it was propaganda. We were able to watch one of their “movies/documentaries” that “showed” the true conditions of the Jews and the camp. It was unbelievable how well they were able to pull a veil over the real events that were taking place. For this reason, though, the camp had a very different feel than Sachsenhausen, as there were many more trees and well kept buildings. It seemed entirely out of place. The other interesting aspect was the focus of the museum on Czech issues. The plight of the Jews was definitely mentioned, but at times it took a secondary seat to the plight of Czech citizens unduly imprisoned and murdered. Some people might complain about this fact and how they are ignoring the largest population that was murdered during the Nazi atrocities; however, it seems to make sense to me. If the Czechs do not put an emphasis on themselves and what they went through, who will? Undoubtedly, it is human nature to focus on the group that you most closely associate with, but the troubles of all peoples needs to be recognized, even if it is only a tenth in scale.

Following the concentration camp, we arrived at Hruba Skala, our castle accommodations. “Wow” is the only word I could utter as we arrived. It was absolutely gorgeous. The rocks. The castle. The trees. The sky. It was picturesque. It was also exactly what I wanted – being out in the middle of nowhere with the ability to run around and enjoy nature’s beauty. After getting checked in, settled, and experiencing the loads of fun that icebreakers always are, we had an hour and half before dinner, so a group of us went down in the valley/gorge area and explored. We were climbing all over the place – up hills, up trees, up rocks – all resulting in spectacular views. The only thing missing was Craig, as he would have been eating all of this up.

The rest of the evening was spent socializing with other people on the trip, as there is not a whole lot of nightlife in the area – none to be exact. It was a fun night nonetheless, and it really got me excited for the rest of the trip.

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