Quick summary of our post camp Europe trip to Italy

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Last year I was determined to take a group of campers to Western Europe and so I set myself a goal. If I could budget the trip for under $1000 total, including food, transportation, accommodation, and touring, I would go. There was no agency that would even work with me for that budget and so using the internet and Google translate I began researching everything. From overnight trains to low budget motels, I pulled it off. I told the parents this was a practice run but the trip turned out better than I could have imagined. Here are the highlights of our week in Italy.

ur first stop was Vienna. We first visited Judenplatz, the town square in Vienna‘s Innere Stadt that was the center of Jewish life and the Viennese Jewish Community in the Middle Ages. The highlight of Vienna was the Schönbrunn Palace,  a former imperial 1,441-room Rococo summer residence in modern Vienna. Brunch, was at a really fine restaurant called Novellino. We then took the overnight train to Rome.

The first day we relaxed and at night we explored the famous coliseum which was all lit up. On the second day we toured the Jewish Ghetto and visited the main attractions of Rome with the local double-decker buses, followed by a short cruise through the canal. We took our second overnight train to Milan, where we spent some time at the Piazza del Duomo – World Famous Square in Milan Italy.

The weekend, and no doubt the highlight of the trip, was spent in Venice and it was indescribable. Everything was amazing. The apartments we stayed in where 5 star and the hospitality of Chabad was really inspiring. The Shabbos meals were catered by Gam Gam, alongside the water. Singing and dancing was comparable to camp itself. We also made friends with the young Chabad shluchim and  got to know them well over the weekend.
Venice is as beautiful as they say, if not more. It’s relaxing and busy at the same time. The ghetto is very small but it feels like home. Motzei Shabbos we walked to the famous Piazza San Marco, which is the nicest part of Venice. Its hard to explain the beauty of it, I don’t think pictures do it justice. Sunday morning we took a tour of the three famous shuls in the ghetto. The architecture was incredibly breathtaking, unfortunately no pictures were allowed.

Sunday afternoon we took a boat-bus to the nearby Island of Murano where the famous glass factories are. We got a tour of the glass blowing and visited the many shops in town. It was like visiting a museum with all different forms of glass art. Some of us continued on to Burano, another small island known for its manufacturing of lace. The lace wasn’t too interesting but the homes were, as each home is painted a different bright color, like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. We left Venice Sunday night and took our last overnight train to Vienna to board our plane. We made the flight just in time and after a long fun-filled week we were all excited to go back home.

B”H it was a big success and everybody had an amazing time. I think the 15 boys that went created a stronger connection over the week, maybe because of the overnight trains and being stuffed into small living quarters.

 

Contact us for information on next summer Europe Trip.
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