Here in Sweden the schools observe what is called “sports break” during the month of February. A sports break is a week long break designed for students and their families to be able to enjoy winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding or travel.
During this break Jessica, Delaney an I set off for a week long adventure through Europe! Our first stop was Amsterdam. We spent our days in Amsterdam wandering the canaled streets, sampling cheeses, smelling the tulips that were beginning to bloom, and touring museums. My favorite part of our visit to Amsterdam was the opportunity to walk through the Anne Frank House. This house was where Anne and her family hid in the secret annex during Nazi rule and explores the personal diary of Anne where she recounts her experiences during this time. The experience to walk through the attic where Anne, her family, and two other families were hid was extremely surreal and eye opening. I was overwhelmed by the conditions in which Anne and her family lived in during this time as described in Anne’s diary that is shared throughout the museum.
Next, we made our way to Munich, Germany. Although we had planned to visit several places during our time in Munich such as Hofbrauhaus, Marienplatz, and Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, we did not plan for the large festival that would take over the city during our few days of travel. We accidently stumbled upon the celebration of this festival in the heart of Munich where thousands of people were dressed up dancing, eating, and drinking. The festival is called fasching, and is held the day before lent fasting begins. A variety of European countries celebrate fasching, however it can represent a variety of different things for various religious groups. Experiencing this festival in the heart of Munich was one of the most unique and exciting experiences that allowed us to be fully immersed in the German culture.
After Munich, we travelled to Paris, France. Although the weather in France was rainy and cold, it did not stop us from experiencing all that Paris has to offer such as The Louvre, Mueseè d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and Versailles palace. Navigating through Paris was a whirlwind in such a short amount of time, but we had the incredible opportunity to see some of the most historic and famous works of art and architecture. One of my highlights of the trip, aside from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, was the Edgar Degas exhibit at the Museè d’Orsay. I have always appreciated various styles of art, however impressionism has always been one of my favorites, especially Degas due to his particular collection of dance inspired art pieces. Being able to see some of his most famous works of art in person was incredible, and something I was able to check off of my bucket list.
Lastly, we capped off our trip with a visit to Dublin, Ireland. Although our time in Dublin was short, we were able to take a day trip to visit the Cliffs of Moher. Although each of the countries offered us a unique and once in a lifetime experience that I will forever be grateful for, standing along the edge of the cliffs will forever be a favorite memory engrained in my mind. The view of the cliffs was breathe taking as you walked dangerously along the edge. There are few feelings that will ever compare to wandering along the edge and taking in the view of the waves crashing against chiseled cliffs as you breathe in the salty air. The day finished off with a stop in Galway where we walked the streets taking in the music and sights of the small town.
Overall, our whirlwind trip offered us incredible experiences and memories that will stay with us for years to come. This trip made me incredibly grateful for the life and experiences I’ve been blessed to live. I will forever remember each unique country and the feelings of taking in the history and sights that each of them had to offer. Now that I have returned back “home” to Gothenburg, I can’t wait to be back at ISGR with my grade 1 kiddos!
Until next time,