Sunday, July 25, 2010

7.6.10: Visit to U.S. Embassy & Adriatic Coast

Posted in General issues |

We hopped on the travel bus pretty early Tuesday morning. Our first stop was the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb.

Once inside we were presented with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the embassy and how it functions. It was amazing to tour the U.S. Embassy. They went out of their way to make us feel welcomed. The visit was much more than we expected. Thank you to Renata from FOI for setting this up.

Another interesting twist to our visit was when we were able to meet a fellow Knight! We had the chance to meet Lieutenant Colonel Sean J. Cantrell who is the acting Defense Official and Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy.  Lieutenant Colonel Cantrell graduated from UCF in 1993.  We were just as shocked as the Sgt that half way around the whole we meet another UCF Knight. We discussed the changes Orlando has undergone since he graduated and how the campus has grown to become the third largest in the country. This meeting really made us feel “right at home”.

After an informative and intriguing visit, we set off on the bus once again; this time, headed for Opatija, a town on the Western Coast of Croatia.

The two-hour trip delivered a vast change from sunny blue skies to extremely heavy downpour. We sought shelter in a cozy little coffee shop named Leonardo’s. This experience allowed us to bond further with FOI students Katarina, Ozano and Robert.

After the rain passed we ventured off to walk around the town. We saw a beautiful park and its garden, a church, a free art exhibit, and of course, the Adriatic Sea.

The highlight truly was taking a dip in the Adriatic Sea. We were initially all hesitant, considering the freezing water temperatures and windy, cloudy day. Even so, one by one, we all decided to take the dip. Credit should go to Ozano for leading us in and Amethyst for being the bravest of the scholars to show us all that it can be done. We swam, threw a ball along, jumped off of a 30-foot diving board, and most importantly—laughed.

After a short swim in salty waters, we moved on to find dinner. We had a wonderful meal at an Italian restaurant. The large size of our group provided us with our own private room, a cozy setting for further interaction with the FOI students.

The ride home lasted a long three hours, only to lead us to go straight to bed to prepare for the following day.

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