It's hard to believe the last day of our tour has passed and the kids are already on their way back home. It has been an absolutely fantastic time, filled with new experiences, new friends, new foods, and many new memories not soon to be forgotten. We experienced four different countries, visiting seven cities--Budapest, Banska Stiavnica, Estergom, Szentendre, Auschwitz (Oswieciem in Polish), Krakow, and Prague. There is too much to attempt to recap all of it, but be sure to ask your kids about the following when they return: 

  1. their favorite city
  2. having kraut at almost EVERY meal
  3. Draghi!
  4. foreign phrases we learned
  5. hamburgers in foreign countries can be very different...
  6. singing in subways, alleys, plazas, everywhere
  7. thoughts after visiting Auschwitz
  8. favorite foods
  9. random music making on our last night while waiting for the bus
  10. "Real" Chris

The trip itself was nearly flawless, from departure from LAX to departing Europe on 2 July. The pace was extremely pleasant, and it was another tour with no thefts, losses, or other unfortunate occurences! Everyone should be returning with all ten toes and all ten fingers (provided they left Los Angeles with them), and I'm certain there will be MUCH posting of pictures to Facebook in the coming days...

We hope to see you all at our reunion potluck gathering happening on Saturday, July 21, location TBA. Please bring your scrapbooks, favorite photos and favorite souvenirs; awards will be given for Best Scrapbook, Best Landscape Photo (no people), Best Portrait (with people), and Most Unique Souvenir! Thank you to all who made this experience so wonderful, and a very special shout out to our wonderful Tour Manager, Chris Robson!

Another dinner boat cruise 

Our last group picture

Drove from Krakow to Prague on the 29th. Nothing really to report there. Once we arrived in Prague, we did a sightseeing tour the next day, followed by our final concert. Only one more day!

On the bus to Prague

Changing of the guard at Hradcany Castle

In front of St. Vitus Cathedral

Overlooking Prague

After our final concert in St. Nicholas Church near the Old Town Center

What a day. We had to leave Banska Stiavnika quite early to take the 4+ hour bus ride to Auschwitz. Suffice it to say, visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps was an intense experience, covering the gamut of feelings, including anger, sadness, bewilderment, confusion, and hope. After our experience there, we headed on to our destination of Krakow. 

Arbeit macht frei - "Work leads to freedom"

The main town square

Another impromptu performance in the square

We toured the Wawel Castle area in Krakow today, after which the kids had a big chunk of time to check out the city on their own. Some had some hot chocolate (the really thick stuff), some shopped for amber jewelry, some just strolled through the city. We had another concert tonight, this time in the large Domincan Church located near the city center.

Making a wish on the bell clapper of the church tower

After our concert in the Domincan Church

After our concert

Another performance today, received with a standing ovation! First, we started with a walking tour of Banska Stiavnica, learning about its history as a mining town. We then drove out to Kreminca for our performance and dinner.

Photo op at a local "woman-made" lake

The town center of Kremnica 

After our performance