Hello from Bratislava! It's Friday evening here, and the team just got in from a day out together. We've spent the last few days getting to know one another, enjoying some tourism and sightseeing, and getting some orientation to the country and culture.
On Thursday, Phil, Erika, Mariah, Sarah, and Cameron took a bus from Bratislava to the Vienna airport, where they met up with Crystal and Sheri, who had been staying in Vienna for a couple of days, and Bob H., Bob W., and Michael, who arrived on a flight from the US that day. Everyone and everything arrived safely, so we all took a bus back to Bratislava and spent the evening out on the town, walking as much as possible to keep everyone awake. We wandered into the old town area of the city, walked along the Danube, and visited a mall to get food and any essentials that were forgotten. While we were there, a couple of Slovak friends joined us just to socialize and walk around the town with us. As always, we ended the evening with zmrzlina (ice cream!).
We spent Friday morning in team training and orientation, comparing notes on lesson plans, working with translators, and adjusting to Slovak culture. Then we took a narrated bus tour around parts of the city and up to Bratislava castle, where we received an in-person tour through the history of the area from the ancient Celts all the way through the Austro-Hungarian empire. We ate dinner as a team at a restaurant serving traditional Slovak food, and we had an early night to give us time to pack and prepare for travel.
Tomorrow we will take a train from Bratislava to Kysak in the east, then take a bus another hour to Vranov, the location of our first camp. Our translators and hosts are excited to see us, and we will be joined by David, Angela, and Jake on Sunday afternoon to make our team complete!
Please pray for:
Safe travel across the country
Continued high energy and enthusiasm as the camp week nears
Sheri's back, which has been aggravating her for a few days
PHIL SCHMIDT & ERIKA MECHSNER are siblings from California. When they aren't leading short-term trips to Slovakia or organizing children and youth events at their church, Calvary Lutheran, Phil is a high school English teacher and Erika is a university lecturer in composition.