Everyone who goes to Harding University knows the word “camaraderie” and is able to define it thanks to one of our presidents, Dr. David B. Burks. “Camaraderie” is defined as a time for fellowship. It’s a time that is spent together with friends and family hanging out and talking.
For about a week, the group in Florence broke into smaller groups and traveled around Europe exploring different cities. Each group went to different places. Some traveled around France, Italy, and Spain while another group visited Switzerland.
Everyone had a great time seeing each city on their own. After our travels we all gathered around and shared some of our favorite memories. I enjoyed listening to all of their crazy adventures.
The visiting faculty for the semester had their family come visit. Their children all enjoyed traveling around Europe and then meeting their parents in Florence! They had a great time exploring Florence and one of their favorite memories was singing in the dome of St. John the Baptist. They enjoyed catching up, laughing, and sharing time together as a family.
We had two groups visit Paris and they loved walking around and seeing some of the famous sites. They got to see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Versailles Palace, Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, the Catacombs, the Louvre, and the Musee D’Orsay.
When our students went to Paris each group saw different things. Some of them bought crepes to eat while sitting under the Eiffel Tower. While another student wanted to challenge himself and he climbed the Eiffel Tower so he could see the city of Paris. This student enjoyed tasting the Parisian cuisine by eating chocolate croissants.
One of the things that I told both groups to go visit while they were in Paris was the Musee D’Orsay because it has a wide collection of artwork that I thought they would like. A hint that I gave them was to be at the Musee D’Orsay when it opened with their tickets in hand and then go straight to the top to take pictures before it gets crowded. One of our students thought he wouldn’t like it, but I had mentioned visiting the Musee D’Orsay so many times that it convinced him to go. He came back and told me that he loved it! He said he ran straight to the top and asked in French if the lady in the gift shop would take his picture with the famous clock. This same student visited Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, and Paris and he came back saying, “I spoke 4 different languages this week!”
Another student who visited Paris went to Shakespeare and Company, a famous bookstore known for selling books in English. This bookstore is famously known as the place writers such as James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ezra Pound met and wrote some of their famous novels. Our student enjoyed exploring Shakespeare and Co. and found a kitty who hopped in his lap and laid there until he left the store.
One of the groups that went to Spain got to travel with their family. Their mom and sister came to visit and they enjoyed reconnecting, taking a bike tour throughout Spain, and trying new foods. Some of their favorite foods that they tried were tapas with sausage and various types of seafood such as crab, clam, and shrimp. They also enjoyed visiting the Sagrada Familia, Arc de Triomf, and art museums with featured artists such as Antoni Gaudí. They learned that Antoni Gaudí follows the surrealism pattern of Salvador Dali and one of their favorite art pieces was The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.
We also had a group travel to Switzerland for a couple of days. In Switzerland, there are two parts that people can go. Our students learned that if you go to Interlaken Ost (East), then you will see a grocery store and that’s it! They were a little confused as to why there weren’t any stores, but once they traveled to Interlaken West they saw a city full of stores, restaurants, and people! They enjoyed taking in the city and exploring all that Switzerland had to offer.
*All photos taken by Le Petit Traveler and those at the HUF Summer 2017 Program