P O W E L L, W y o. - Big Horn Basin residents interested in experiencing the charm of the old world merged with the excitement of the new Europe all in one location are invited to join a Northwest College field studies class traveling March 1-10 to Prague in the Czech Republic.
In addition to a thorough exploration of Prague, travelers will also take one half-day and two full-day trips outside the city to visit composer Antonin Dvorak's hometown of Nelahozeves, the historic Karlstejn Castle and to Pilsen for a tour of the brewery where some of Europe's most famous beer is produced. One of the excursions will also take in Karlovy Vary, the legendary hot springs spa town also known by its German name, Karlsbad, which was founded in 1350 by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV.
Richard Wilson and Harriet Bloom-Wilson, faculty in the Humanities Division at Northwest, are coordinating the field studies program.
When asked why they chose the Czech Republic's capital city, Wilson said, "Prague was spared destruction by bombing during World War II and uglification during the Soviet occupation. It's a special city where we can walk through a millennium of Old World architecture and, at the same time, get an immediate sense of the excitement and challenges of the New Europe. Some of Prague's intact architectural treasures date back to the early Middle Ages, allowing us to experience the continuity of European styles across 15 centuries."
Participants will stay in a four-star hotel located in Prague's Old Town. Each day starts with a buffet breakfast in the hotel where travelers compare notes from the previous day's and night's activities. Portions of each day include group exploration of the city's sights with plenty of free time to pursue special interests or explore neighborhoods.
Evenings will feature what Wilson calls an "overwhelming menu" of cultural events and nightlife. "Prague offers nightly urban experiences that can't help but satisfy any interest," Wilson said, "from ballet and modern dance to traditional marionette theater and avant-garde street performance. Every form of musical performance is available, from classic instrumental to opera to the latest Euro club trends."
Travelers can choose the one-credit trip portion only or enroll in the entire three-credit class, which starts on-campus in January. The weekly sessions provide a comprehensive cultural overview and orientation to the practicalities of savvy traveling. Students resume the on-campus sessions after the travel portion to prepare a project that builds on their travel experiences.
The ground portion of the trip costs $1,445 and includes hotel accommodation, all transfers and coach travel in the Czech Republic, all guided tours and entrances to sights listed on the group itinerary, hotel breakfasts, three dinners and a final night celebration. Travelers will be responsible for all other meals, snacks, beverages, evening events and entertainment, and shopping purchases.
The cost of air travel is quoted between $800 and $900 if booked fairly soon. Tuition costs and fees also apply.
A nonrefundable deposit of $200 is required as soon as possible to secure a spot on the trip.
Wilson and Bloom-Wilson have coordinated numerous study/travel programs, taking hundreds of first-time voyagers and seasoned travelers on excursions designed to be intellectually rich travel experiences.