Second grade teacher Denise Hurlbut returned from a trip to Austria and Hungary with new friends, experiences and knowledge. 

Mrs. Hurlbut and her husband, Barry, embarked on the trip in June. They first went to Vienna and then Prague and Budapest. The trip was originally planned for summer 2020, but it was postponed due to the pandemic and other issues. 

“This trip to Vienna, Prague, and Budapest was the most amazing experience. It definitely got my husband and I out of our comfort zones as we learned about the people, culture, history and foods. We also met tourists and made friends with people from Dubai, China, and Australia. Even though these people were from different countries we immediately had so much in common,” she said. “The memories of this experience made such an impact on our lives and will last a lifetime. Thank you Bright School for allowing us to experience this adventure!”

Here is a summary of each day of the trip:

Day 1: We made it to Vienna! This first day was a busy one! We toured the city and spent extended time touring the Schoenbrunn Palace, once the summer home of the Hapsburg family and Maria Theresa. The evening was spent at a Mozart concert with opera singers and ballet dancers.

Day 2: We toured the Wachau region along the Danube River. Our first stop was the village of Durnstein, which had an abbey and quaint little shops. Then we rode the ship two hours upstream to the town of Melk. Here we shopped in the village and visited the Benedictine Abbey.

Day 3: Visit to Prague. We toured the Prague Castle, Jewish Center, and Charles Bridge and ate and shopped at the Old Town Center.

Day 4: This was our last day in Vienna. We visited the Parliament, Nash Market, a school called “Schulhaus Der Evangelischen Gemeiden.” We came upon it when walking around. The children were leaving after-school care so we went in and talked to different people. They let us take pictures. Then we toured St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Stephanplatz.

Day 5: We met up with our guide for a three-hour private walking tour of Buda and Pest (the two cities, along with another third city, were combined to form the city of Budapest). We learned so many things about the history of Hungary. Here are a few highlights from our day:

Parliament, St Stephen’s Basilica, Chain Bridge, President’s House, changing of the guard in front of president’s house, Matthias Church, Lunch at Ramazuri.

Day 6: Went shopping at the Central Market and some quaint little shops, met up with friends from the states for supper and had ice cream that was made to look like rose petals.

Day 7: In the morning, we went to visit a K-12 International Christian School just outside of Budapest in Diorsd. In the afternoon, we visited Margaret Island which is in the middle of the Danube River. Then we walked to see the bronze shoe memorial in honor of the Jews who were made to take off their shoes and then killed beside the river during the last months of World War II. That evening we took a boat cruise up the Danube River to see the city lit up at night.

Mrs. Hurlbut’s trip was made possible by the previously-funded O.J. Morgan Travel Grant, which was available to faculty and staff to fund summer international travel.