In 2010 we had a group of our friends, the scouts of Hörsching, visiting our summer camp, called “Apuseni eXperiment – Back to the future”. This year the moment came for us to return the visit, and so we went to Austria, in the camp called “Get Connected” - and we had a great time there! Here’s the story of our time spent there, day-by-day.
July 9th – Budapest
We left Romania on July 8th in the evening, and the next morning we arrived in Budapest. First we went to Margaret Island (Margit), which is one of the seven islands of the Danube, and here some of our scouts took their Scout Promise. Afterwards, we separated in groups and visited the city, may of us for the first time. Along the way we saw the the House of Parliament, the Buda Castle, the Erzsebet Bridge, the Church of St. Stephen. We spent the second part of the day visiting the Budapest Zoo, where we saw polar bears, penguins, giraffes, zebras, camels, rhinos, sloths, but also animals that are common in the Zoos from our country.
July 10th – We arrive at the campsite
With the help of the Gilde Scouts of Hörsching, we spent the night, rested and had some breakfast at Hütteldorf, in the western part of Vienna.
We arrived at the campsite by noon, where the Austrian scouts were already expecting us with lunch :). We spent the day putting up the tents and discussing the program for the next day, but also meeting friends from last year's camp and started meeting the other scouts. In the evening we had the official welcoming in the camp, and we sat down around the campfire and sang, accompanied by some guests, like the farmer who owned the land where the camp was and his family.
July 11th – 12th - Hiking
In the second morning, the weather was perfect for hiking – with just a few drops of rain and just the right temperature. We went hiking in mixed troops, with both Austrian and Romanian scouts, and we each had a different target for our two day hike. While we found similarities with Romania, we found the Austrian countryside very different from our own, and it was a great experience for us. All the groups spent the night somewhere – some outdoors, some benefiting from Austrian hospitality. Each group spend a few hours at the swimming pool, just relaxing and playing in the water – and it was a great bonding experience for the scouts – young and older.
July 13th – Trip to Linz
On the third day, our friends had prepared a trip to Linz for us – and we had three extraordinary guides – Stefan and Claudia, two Austrian leaders, and also a Romanian theater artist who moved to Austria 20 years ago – and who had many stories about Linz to tell us.
On the first part of the day, we visited Ars Electronica, a modern museum of technology. There we saw lots of gadgets and electronics, robots, machines that took pictures of your retina and send it to your personal e-mail address, artificial pets, and also presentations with statistics about the population of the earth, and its continuing changing state of environment. We also watched a 3D presentation about the solar system and its planets, the forming of the moon or more simple stuff, like how close is our planet to the sun.
Next, we went to see a fascinating project called “Bridges in the sky”. It was about nature and its elements, and also the state of those elements represented in art, sounds and images. The project was huge, spread around and above a large group of buildings. So, we listened to the wind, we heard water waves and the sounds of waterfalls, we passed through fog and touched ice formed on copper pipes. Of course, we couldn't skip on playing in the water fountain! There were also exhibitions of photographs, films and machines showing water in all it's forms. The most impressive part of the visit were the bridges in the sky. There were bridges and stairs forming a long and winding path, set above a large group of buildings – with a great view of Linz and its surroundings.
For the rest of the remaining day, we visited the city in small groups, and we admired the buildings in the Old City (Altstadt), walked around The Trinity Column (Hauptplatz), and saw the Landhaus, the St. Martin church (Martinskirche) and the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary (Mariendom).
July 14th – Cubs, China and Treasure Hunting
On Thursday the youngest of scouts, who were “camped” in a school in Koenigwiesen, visited us in camp. By tradition, scouts helped around with preparing a program for the Cubs, as they had an ongoing activity called “7 days around the world”, and on that day they were visiting China. They had games and workshops prepared for them, so they each had a chance to listen to some music and dance, fight a sumo wrestler and compete in an obstacle course. The rovers went to Königswiesen, to participate in a Treasure Hunt around the village. They were separated in teams, and each of them had to accomplish tasks like finding buildings, finding the cheapest lemonade, taking a picture with the mayor, finding a chicken egg, etc – and in the end they put together all the pieces collected during the Hunt to find the Königswiesen coat of arms.
July 15th – Circus and Open Pots
On Friday morning we had a surprise waiting for us - a bird breeder that came to show us four of his birds, and tell us stories about their habits, their way of feeding and breeding and the fact that many of them were endangered species. At the end of his presentation, he also made a demonstration with one of the birds and at the end.
Afterwards, as it was Circus day, there were many activities going on - so we had lots of fun skiing on the grass, shooting arrows at a target, juggling and walking on a slackline, and many others.
The rest of the afternoon we made our own Circus from kids dressed as animals, and adult running around with a red nose and stripped shorts. Every group prepared something for the Circus - so we had dancing penguins, lions, seals, mimes and clowns. Everyone looked great, and we had lots of fun.
We also had an Open Pots evening, where every group made some food for everyone. After we ate and stuffed our bellies, we were given yet another surprise – a daring fire juggling show.
July 16th – Getting ready for departure
And so came the day in which we had to pack up our tents and get ready to leave the campsite. We spent the last day playing and talking with our friends.
July 17th – Vienna
We arrived on Sunday morning at the Schönbrunn Palace and walked around its gardens and labirinths, and then we split in small groups and went off to visit Vienna. We walked arround and saw Stephanplatz, Stephansdom, the Albertina Museum, the Parliament, the Hofburg Palace, Prater, the Votivkirche and Hundertwasserhaus – just a few of the important places in Vienna.
The groups met all kind of other scouts in Vienna, and at one subway station we met some scouts from Taiwan, that were on their way to the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden.
We finally arrived home after ten days of great adventure and with a big collection of new memories and new friends.