From Craig to Prague

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Most college students would scoff at the thought of spending spring break in central Europe instead of on a warm beach with a cold drink.

But Colorado Northwestern Community College humanities instructor Mary Karen Solomon wanted her students to take home something much more valuable than sunburns and hangovers.

Solomon took a group of six students and five adults to the so-called "heart of Europe" for spring break. The group returned Friday from six days in Prague, where they explored the rich culture and history of the Czech Republic.

"It was a fantastic trip. Everyone was wonderful, and the students were well-behaved," she said. "It went well. The only bad experience was that one person got a cold."

Solomon said the group used the capital city as a travel base, touring Prague's historic Old Town in addition to the storied Bohemian mining center of Kutna Hora, another city listed by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization as a World Heritage Site.

Solomon said the group also took a day trip to Dresden, Germany, where attendees toured the painstakingly reconstructed Dresdner Frauenkirche "Church of Our Lady," cathedral.

"We talked about the war and the (Allied) bombing. It was amazing to see how happy the German people were to see their cathedral rebuilt. There's nothing to bomb there but beauty," Solomon said.

Nineteen-year-old liberal arts major Daniel Tague attended the trip for free after he won a CNCC essay contest. Entrants in the contest had to explain what they thought they could learn from the trip.

"The trip was awesome. I love history, and it's all around you in Prague," Tague said. "We went to see the biggest castle in the world. In the Old Town there's statues everywhere you look, and every building is at least 400 years old."

The group's only misfortune on their tour was the weather -- cold, damp and cloudy for all but one day.

Despite the weather, Solomon was glad to broaden her group's worldly perspective and arrive home safe. "We came back, and suddenly it feels like spring mud season," she said. "It's good to be back in Craig."

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