Adventure - Art - Culture - Juniors Abroad at George Fox

Poland to Croatia

Faculty: David Martinez, Steve Winterberg
Meeting Time: M - 6:30 - 9:00 PM   

We will have the opportunity to visit five different countries on our trek through eastern Europe: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. Our trip starts in Poland’s capital where we will visit the Warsaw Castle, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the must-see Palace of Culture and Science, which was built as a symbol of friendship by the Soviet Union and remains the tallest building in Poland. We will then travel to Krakow and visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp.

Next we will spend a few days hiking through the Tatra Mountains (aka the Slovakian Alps), sleeping in huts at night. There will be an opportunity to climb Slovakia’s tallest mountain: Gerlach Peak. From there, we will journey to Budapest Hungary. We will be able to visit the Great Synagogue, one of the earliest centers of Zionism, get a massage in the famous Turkish Baths, and enjoy an evening/night boat tour down the iconic Danube River. We will also visit the House of Terror, which is a museum highlighting the former secret police documenting the Fascist and Stalinist regimes of Hungary. 

The fourth country on our epic journey will be Slovenia, stopping in Ljubljana. We will have the opportunity to visit the marvelous Ljubljana Castle, Triple Bridge, and the famous Presernov Trg Central Market. Entering Croatia (our 5th country), we will swing by Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, en route to the pristine Plitvice Lakes National Park, with its beautiful, terraced lakes and waterfalls. There will be an opportunity to go skydiving (optional) just outside Zagreb, for those interested. Our trip concludes on the beautiful Dalmatian coast - quite possibly the best kept secret in Europe. The spectacular coastline offers majestic views and opportunities to swim in the Adriatic Sea. We will tour the historic, defensive stone walls surrounding Dubrovnik, with its iconic red-tile roofs and exceptional ocean views.

NOTE: This Juniors Abroad trip includes rigorous hiking in the High Tatra Mountains - a mountain range in Slovakia with peaks up to 8,700 feet. Although not technical, the hiking will last between 5 and 6 hours per day and will require that students be in good physical condition. At night, we will stay in huts with primitive toilets and, if/when available, showers will likely be cold water.  To participate in this course students will be required to be cleared for these activities by the George Fox Health and Counseling Center.  

Preliminary Itinerary:

Day 1:  Arrive in Warsaw: We will take a city center tour.

Day 2:  Warsaw: We will visit Warsaw Castle and the Museum of History of Polish Jews. Time permitting, we will visit the Chopin Museum.

Day 3:   Warsaw: We will spend time in the Old Town Square, visit the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, and take a tour of the Royal Palace.

Day 4:   Travel to Krakow: We will spend the afternoon in Krakow city, visiting the Wawel Royal Castle and the Wawel Cathedral.

Day 5:   Auschwitz-Birkenau: Walking the sacred ground of the Auschwitz concentration  camp and museum, we will reflect on the atrocities of genocide, specifically the Holocaust.

Day 6:   Krakow: We will visit an underground medieval market and museum, known as  the Rynek Underground. We will also have an opportunity to visit the factory of Oskar Schindler, made famous by the movie Schindler’s List.

Day 7:   Travel to Propad, Slovakia. We will spend the night in this quaint mountain town  at the foot of the impressive High Tatra Mountains.

Day 8:   Hike the Tatra Mountains: we will spend three days surrounded by the natural beauty that is the High Tatra Mountains, commonly referred to as the Slovakian Alps. This range consists of 29 mountains above 8,000 feet and we will have an opportunity (optional) to climb one of the mountains (quite possibly Gerlach Peak, which is the highest mountain in the range). At night we will stay in huts enjoying local cuisine and, of course, a nice cup of hot cocoa as we relive heaven of the day.

Day 9:   Hike the Tatra Mountains (Slovakian Alps)

Day 10:  Hike the Tatra Mountains (Slovakian Alps)

Day 11:  Travel to Budapest: We will have the opportunity to visit the Great Synagogue of Budapest, which was a center of the Zionist movement and enjoy a evening tour on the iconic Danube River.

Day 12:   Budapest: Remembering the Ottoman Turkish rule of southeastern Europe, we will visit a mosque and have a chance to get a massage in the famous Turkish Baths. Our time in the House of Terror, a museum dedicated to espionage and the secret police during the Cold War era, will allow us to reflect on the ideologies that shaped the 20th Century eastern European experience.  

Day 13:  Travel to Ljubljana: We will spend the afternoon strolling around downtown Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, visiting the Central Market and Triple Bridge.

Day 14:  Ljubljana: We will visit and tour Ljubljana Castle, the Town Hall, and National Museum of Slovenia, which famously contains a 60,000 year old Neanderthal flute as well as a collection of more than 200 stone monuments dating back to the 1st and 4th centuries known as The Roman Lapidarium. In the afternoon, time permitting, we will visit Bled Lake (about an hour away).

Day 15: Travel to Zagreb: Our first stop in Croatia takes us to its capital where we will spend a leisurely afternoon strolling along cobblestone streets and enjoy local cuisine. We will have the opportunity to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships (optional), located in the beautiful baroque Kulmer Palace. This fascinating museum allows for quite an emotional journey as hundreds of breakups are on display.

Day 16:  Zagreb: Visit the Lotrscak Tower in Zagreb and skydiving (optional).

Day 17:  Travel to Split stopping in Plitvice Lakes National Park: 16 terraced lakes and waterfalls.

Day 18:  Split - We will visit the ancient Roman ruin of Diocletian’s Palace, which dates back to the 4th Century AD. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is arguably “one of the world’s most impressive Roman monuments.” (Lonely Planet).

Day 19:  Brac Island – You can’t travel along the Dalmatian coast of Croatia without spending some time by the water. You will have an opportunity to take a dip in the deep blue Adriatic Sea, or simply lounge around listening to the waves roll in.

Day 20:  Dubrovnik: We will visit the spectacular Croatian city of Dubrovnik. Long before becoming the site of Game of Thrones, this beautiful, red-tile roofed city was charming visitors. We will have the opportunity to hike the historic wall that surrounds the old city, which affords gorgeous views of the city and the Adriatic. Of course, there will be reenactments of famous Game of Thrones scenes. 

Day 21:  Dubrovnik: We will have a free day to explore the narrow streets of this charming city.

Day 22:  Arrive in Portland