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D7190 GSE to GSE 1910

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The Group Study Exchange (GSE) program of
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for young business and professional men and women between the ages of 25 and 40 in the initial years of their professional life. The program provides travel grants for teams of participants to exchange visits between paired areas in different
countries. For four to six weeks, team members
study the host country’s institutions and ways
of life, observe their own vocations as practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas. Team members can come from corporations, small businesses,
community organizations, medical and educational facilities, government offices, and nonprofit agencies.

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1910 District Conference

Zagreb, Croatia

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 21, 2008 from Zagreb, Croatia
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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Sunday May 18 Mostar bridge, Stari Most, Buna & Počitelj

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

A place we are all aware of due to war and recent rebuilding of the Stari Most, but words cannot express the feelings of what it is to walk on and touch history being made. The Mostar Bridge was a very famous and historical bridge before its destruction in 1993 during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (part of the former Yugoslavia). The elegant bridge spanned the River Neretva and was designed by the Ottoman (Turkish) architect Mimar Hayruddin. It was completed in 1566 after nines years of building and the surrounding town became a thriving trading centre. The bridge was 29 metres in length and stood at a height of 20 metres, a classic example of a single span, stone arch bridge and was an example of advanced technology in its time. It became a World Heritage site during the twentieth century. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire swore to execute Mimar Hayruddin if the bridge collapsed after the wooden supports were removed. It is said that Hayruddin started to dig his own grave on the day the supports were removed. However, the bridge stood for 429 years, a testament to its excellent design and construction.
Excerpt: Bosnia-Herzegovina Rotarians celebrate rebuilding of Mostar Bridge
By Vukoni Lupa-Lasaga, Rotary International – 9 September 2004
When the Rotary Club of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, was chartered in 2002, one of the issues uppermost in the minds of its members was how to heal their community, torn apart by a brutal war that pitted one ethnic group against another. Rotarians proposed to city leaders to rebuild the 427-year-old historic landmark, which was destroyed by hostile tank-shell fire in 1993, to signal that it was time to repair the physical and emotional damage that the war had inflicted on Mostar. After winning the approval of politicians, technical experts, and residents, Rotarians took the lead in mobilizing international support and raising funds for the project. Amir Pasic, an architect, and Marin Raspudic, the Mostar airport director and current club president, are just two Rotarians who have been closely involved with the rebuilding of the stone bridge. Both served as chief organizers of the 23 July opening ceremony for the completed bridge.To read the rest of this story, see www.rotary.org/newsroom/main/news02.html, or read your September 04 Issue of the Rotarian.
After this awe inspiring stop we were onto see the source of the Buna River, a tributary of the Neretva. The source of this river is a strong karstic spring that ‘com from out of the mountain. Vast waters have been calculated but a true origin has never been discovered.

Then onto the quaint oriental-style town of Pocitelj, located about half an hour's drive from Mostar, less than 30km south on the M-17 road towards the Adriatic. Besides its stunning oriental architecture, Pocitelj hosts the longest operating art colony in southeast Europe. Artists from around the world gather here to paint, among other things but importantly, the shiny red pomegranates and figs that grow in abundance on the hills of Pocitelj.
An incredible day, in an awesome place, hosted by generous people . . .

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 19, 2008 from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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Monday May 19 Vocational day & Tour of Sarajevo.

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

After a morning of vocational tours and visit with the locals, the team re-grouped and was given a combination walking tour / bus tour of Sarajevo. Our guide Mohammed was a child in Sarajevo during the war and shared a great deal of personal insight into life at that time. He lived through things we can only imagine in our nightmares – bombings by military tanks and how much of life was restricted to movement under the cover of the dark of night, for protection from snipers. You may recall Princess Diana’s works with victims of landmines that remain in many war torn countries, well here it is a very harsh reality. On average two or three people per month are killed from landmines.
As we walked about the city of Sarajevo we have opportunity to visit the Olympic Stadium of the1984 Winter Olympics, mosques and churches as well as the site of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination which began World War I.
The many people we have had the opportunity to meet and spent time with, although they are very private people as a whole they have been so very generous and willing to share with us some of their most private thoughts and horrific experiences – something that is awe inspiring. Both we as visitors and they as host have learned so much about each other as individuals, countries and cultures. Rotary’s Mission of peace keeping, understanding and tolerance is clearly in full motion through this GSE Tour.

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 19, 2008 from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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Saturday, May 17 Travel day to Bosnia-Herzegovina

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The bus ride from Slovenia to Sarajevo is a long 5 hour ride. There are only 12 Miles of 4 lane road coming to Sarajevo from about 220K away. It is a road much like State Route 10 at home, for over 150 Miles. If there is one word to describe the countryside as we entered this area, it is that of contrast. You cross the border with armed guards, checking passports, they have the power and they know it. Our first views include many bombed out building, bullet holes . . . the war here was only 10 years ago. It not the images they want to be remembered by, but the story is just too much to ignore and to impacting to forget. This will no doubt be one of the most emotionally moving leg of our trip. For the first time on the trip, we will all be staying with host families rather than hotels, a welcome change.

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 18, 2008 from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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Thursday, May 15 - Driving tour of Slovenia

Podkoren, Slovenia

From the atop the Julijske Alps down 1700 meters to the Adriatic Sea - whirlwind tour describes our awesome and exhausting day today as we embarked on a driving tour of Slovenia today. From the beautiful & picturesque Bled we travel to Planica and then onto to small town of Podkoren for a quick bite to eat before heading up into the sky to the Julijaske Alps and then onto visit a WWI museum in the small town of Kobarid. For many, this museum visit offered new introspect of the war. In another 2 ½ hours we were at the coast in Trieste for some shopping and sightseeing.

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 16, 2008 from Podkoren, Slovenia
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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Tuesday, May 13

Catez, Slovenia

Čatež is a roadside village on a hill at the foot of the 544 m high Zaplaz, northwest of Trebnje. On the north side is a narrow valley of the Dušica stream, while Čateška gora is opposite. There is an expansive view of the surrounding area from Čatež and an even better one from Zaplaz. to learn more visit www.Slovenia.info/en
We had a wonderful time at the Rotary meeting and have received our itinerary, which appears a bit more full than in Austria - it appears we will e seeing a good portion of this small country.
Kim is already at a host family, while others stayed in the hotel last night, but will be heading to host families tonight.
Tomorrow we head to Ljubljana and the island of Bled

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 13, 2008 from Catez, Slovenia
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
tagged CatezSlovenia

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Monday, May 12 Travel day to Čatež, Slovenia

Catez, Slovenia

Today is an Austrian National holiday - this date marks the last time Austria was occupied after World War II. The day celebrates when Austria officially became an independent country like our Independence Day.
Auf Wiedersehen to Austria and our generous hosts. Another chapter begins . . .

We board our bus and travel about 4 hours to our next stay, Čatež, Trebnje, Slovenia. Of what we know, Čatež is a small resort town of about 500 residents. We arrived and will spend our first evening in a hotel, where we will also have out meals. Tonight we will attend a Rotary meeting and give our presentation as well as get our itinerary for our stay in Slovenia.

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 12, 2008 from Catez, Slovenia
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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Sunday, May 11 A trip to the Top of the World

Schladming, Austria

A free day for us so we are all off to the top of the world – on today’s agenda is a visit to the Glacier, Dachstein, about a 20 minute drive from Schladming to the cable car station. Let’s just say . . .WOW !! We rode a cable car up the mountain and I cannot even begin to describe it . . .simply breathtaking. The temperature was about 20F. Cold, but Bright and very sunny and yes some of us did get sunburn.
Also on top of the Glacier is an "Ice Palace" - a bit pricey but how can you pass going through an Ice Palace atop a Glacier. Well, it was defientely a tourist oriented attraction but it did have some cool sclptures(pardon the pun) there were a lot characters from the movie Ice Age. It's all an experience.

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 11, 2008 from Schladming, Austria
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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Saturday May 10 Touring Salzburg

Salzburg, Austria

Today, our host Rotary club arranged for a tour of the city of Salzburg, about 1 hour northeast of Schladming. A city indigenous to many salt mines and featuring strong Italian influence due to its trade history. The City, settled in 696 was formerly governed by Arch-Bishops. As each reigning Bishop changed they ordered a new church built, as a way to leave their own individual legacy, this small city of 150,000 features 109 churches. As you walk through the beautiful squares you are sure to hear bells ringing from anywhere around this city. For movie buffs this city is familiar as it is the city in The Sound of Music was filmed, which by the way, most Austrians have never seen the movie. For music aficionados the city’s fame is that of being the birthplace of Mozart.

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 10, 2008 from Salzburg, Austria
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
tagged Austria and Salzburg

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Thursday, May 8 Vocational visits and a Roman Ages Quarry

Kleinsolk, Austria

This morning we break out for vocational visits. Paul and Jennifer spend the morning with Dr. W. Erhart; Scott visits Landesschülerheim, with Wolfgang Veith while Kim and Amanda visit their guide Dr. Georg Fritsch’s physical therapy practice.
In the afternoon we group back together and head up into the mountains to tour Sölker Marmor“, Kleinsölk - one of the oldest marble quarries in the world!! Our guide, Rotary President Matthias Scheffer.

permalink written by  GSE7190-1910 on May 8, 2008 from Kleinsolk, Austria
from the travel blog: D7190 GSE to GSE 1910
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