By Faith Oaks &
Everyone knows that even the worst experiences from 10-day can turn into the best stories. Faith Oakes reports on five of her classmates’ 10-day experiences last month, while five past Romers remember some of theirs.
The ones who forgot their tickets
Joe Flynn and Titus Willard went out to the Hofbrau House with a large group to celebrate the end of 10-day. They put their most prized possessions, their travel journals, in a friend’s backpack for safekeeping throughout the night. It was with much chagrin that they realized, early the next morning, on board their first train to Bologna, that their second-most-prized-possessions, the notorious Euro-Rail passes, were tucked inside their journals. They ended up jumping off the train “at approximately the middle of nowhere, Italy,” and waiting for the next train through, which supposedly contained UD students and the precious tickets. The boys hopped on the train and lo and behold! An entire car filled with UD students, including one very eager friend, who jumped up to greet them and practically threw the journals, tickets inside, into their waiting arms. All’s well that ends well!
The one who became a true Norwegian
While visiting Norway, the goal of Emma Chaplin’s native friend was to make Emma into a true Norwegian. Apparently, in order to qualify, you must hike to the top of a mountain, and eat an EasyLunch, Norway’s equivalent of a KitKat bar. The friend’s uncle later asked Emma what she had done that day.
“I ate a KitKat on a mountain,” she replied.
“Oh, thank goodness! You’re a true Norwegian now!” the man instantly exclaimed.
The ones who actually talked to the costumed vendors
In Vienna, Rachael Parkley and Helene Bergez were walking by the Opera House. There, they were accosted by various men in awkward costumes, who tried to get them to buy tickets for various touristy concerts and attractions. Rachael, whose natural kindness had not yet been destroyed by vendors in Rome, allowed one guy to give her the whole spiel about his particular concert. It sounded incredible — Strauss and Mozart, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic during the evening at Schonbrunn Palace. Too good to be true? Well, for a couple of poor college kids, too expensive was more like it. While the man who had reeled them in was out of cheap seats, one of his friends still had some left. So Rachel and Helene got to experience the most Viennese music, with the most Viennese musicians, in what is probably the most Viennese setting ever … for a third of the price.
The ones who smoked
Ed Houser experienced what “felt like the most UD thing ever.” While staying in Triberg, a small town in the Black Forest in Germany, his group saw a little restaurant with a very UD-esque sign for a smoking lounge. Ed knew it was going to be good when everyone stopped and stared as they walked in. Apparently, Americans were extremely rare in that area and no one in the place spoke English. Fortunately, 10 minutes after they walked in, a regular customer came in who did speak English. The proprietor ended up convincing him to act as their waiter. So he explained the menu in English, and then translated and wrote down their order in German. The restaurant’s owners were clearly Catholic, which attracted them immediately, according to Ed. The year was written in chalk above the door with the Magi’s initials inscribed between, and there were various icons of the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph throughout the place. They ate traditional German pork and potatoes, and then went out to the lounge with beer and lit up their pipes. Ed believes it was right that they, as UD students, should have found that particular restaurant.
The other one who smoked
Matt Sawczyn’s 10-day group was eating schnitzel in Germany when their conversation was interrupted by a young man arguing loudly with one of the older patrons at a table. Soon the young man left the restaurant in disgust and everything went back to normal. Until he ran back in and pepper-sprayed the older man right in the face! Chaos reigned! Everyone was coughing and hacking, but, somehow, the first man managed to grab the pepper-sprayer and drag him back inside. When the police arrived, all the people still suffering from the spray were hungry for justice. Instead, the officer simply offered the young man a cigarette and let him go on his way.
The one who was hit by a motorcycle
“In Budapest, our first 10-day stop, I was crossing a bridge when I heard someone shout ‘Bridge, Bridge!’ As I looked up, I felt the force of something strong hit my shin so I swung my arms up in front of my face to protect myself. Apparently some guy’s motorcycle had hit me with full impact, hitting my leg. Then I accidentally returned the force with a punch to his helmet when I brought my arm up, knocking him off his bike. I immediately started apologizing as my 10-day group began laughing hysterically as they struggled to cross the street themselves.”
— Brigid Callahan, Rome Class of Fall 2012
The one who survived an avalanche
“During my 10-day, I spent some time hiking in the Bavarian Alps. Feeling particularly adventurous, I ended up at the base of a mountain, hiking waist deep in the snow, despite warning signs for landslides and avalanches. While standing there, I heard a crack above me and suddenly saw a massive sheet of white hurtling down in my direction. With nowhere else to run, I ended up clinging to a large boulder attached to the mountain for what seemed an eternity. Keeping my eyes shut and holding my breath, I could hear and feel the snow and ice thundering above me as the avalanche pummeled the rock and roared down the mountain. Eventually it stopped and I just laid there in shock for a while, before I was able to painfully pry each individual finger from the rock. Never was I so grateful to be alive.”
— Jeremy Hall, Rome Class of Spring 2013
The one who saw an explosion
“I had the pleasure of going to Israel with several friends. I really did not know what to expect when I planned to go there. In the news, you hear about bombings and religious tension, so I was expecting the worst. In reality, I felt very protected while I was in Israel. There were moments of tension, but it was edifying to experience these moments of tension because it helped us to appreciate the safety we take for granted in America. While we were there, there was a gasoline explosion which we could see in the distance and living that experience I saw my life flash before my eyes. I realized that what we saw was nothing compared to what has happened before and what could have happened. I think of all the wonderful people we met there who do not live in fear. I hope that I can have just an ounce of the faith that those people have.”
— Lauren Bergeron, Rome Class of Spring 2014
The one who went to Germany
“One of my favorite memories of my 10-day adventure in Rome include(s) our trip to Trier, Germany. It’s a small town with a classic German aura. It was everything I could have asked for: Charming, classic German architecture with a delightful array of colors, wide open squares with fountains and monuments, delicious and inexpensive food, historical scenery, including Emperor Constantine’s palace and Karl Marx’s house, beautiful gardens and public parks, and St. Peter’s Cathedral and Liebfrauenkirche, two churches that featured the best of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture. Trier is a treasure of a town, and is a perfect German experience.”
—Kathleen Ramirez, Rome Class of Fall 2012
The ones who got free tickets
“Over 10-day, my friends and I heard that Mumford & Sons was in Barcelona the day we had gotten there. We ended [up] going to the venue to see if we could scalp some tickets, but apparently, that isn’t a thing in Europe. We ended up sitting outside of the ticket booth trying our luck. After about two hours, the concert began and we decided to stick around for the first song. As we were standing there singing along, having accepted our fate, one of the guys from the ticket booth walked over with some tickets and said that we could have them for free because we had stuck around for so long! Instead of having to buy expensive tickets to see one of our favorite bands, we were able to see them for no cost at all!”
— Aaron Hegemann, Rome Class of Spring 2013