© People to People International Greater Phoenix, Arizona Chapter 2010  During the summer our PTPI group sponsored a three week tour of central Europe with stops in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.  The trip was organized and led by Ruth Allen and eagerly attended by a mix of 6 adults and 2 youth.  Our accommodations were also just the right mix of PTPI homestays and hotel/apartments.  Every PTPI group we met greeted us with such warmth and hospitality it made us feel “just so glad to be here”. In Poland at our arrival in Warsaw the PTPI group provided us with a packet of tourist brochures and map.  We were also able to meet them one evening for dinner and most importantly Andrzej Puchaz made sure that we were safely on the train to our next stop.  Our next stop being Gliwice where we were greeted at the station with a big Welcoming poster.   Many members of the Gliwice group accompanied us in touring the region which included Krakow, the Wieliczka Salt Mines and, as we learned, a small but important footnote in WWII history the Gliwice Radio Station.   On our final night in Gliwice we shared a hardy meal and a piwo with our new friends. Sternberk PTPI in the Czech Republic had invited us to attend their annual children’s celebration Cylindr.  We helped supervise some of the games and interacted with the children.  We brought with us materials to make a poster on Arizona, taught a typical  American children’s game, balloon toss, and an  atypical American dance, the Cha Cha Slide.  The adults had as much fun as the kids.  The PTPI group shared their love of music by treating us to two live performances of regional folk music.  And our homestay families paid special attention to our needs.  Our time in the Czech Republic finished with a stay in Prague, where we enjoyed a small fraction of what that great city offers. Unfortunately 2 of our tour members had to leave us in Prague due to health issues (all is reported fine now) so we entered Hungary a little down.  The enthusiastic welcome by the Pecs PTPI group did much to lift our spirits.  We were whisked away from the train station to the home of PTPI chapter president Hans Randau and plied with delicious homemade Hungarian food.  Our homestays and Pecs PTPI members eagerly showed us the diversity and cultural opportunities of their region.  We were introduced to the American Corner an office promoting goodwill sponsored but not directed by our State Dept.  We also had the opportunity to attend many events such as dance and music concerts occurring in the town.  Pecs PTPI members organized a tour in the countryside with more good food and fellowship ending with a visit to PTPI member The Professor’s dacha.   After Pecs we traveled by bus to the town of Veszprem where we were greeted by another enthusiastic PTPI group.  The Veszprem members organized and accompanied us to many of the areas beautiful and interesting attractions such as Lake Balaton and the Herend porcelain factory.  Here we were also treated to an authentic Hungarian goulash dinner which is nothing like what we were served in school.  Our trip wrapped up with a visit to Budapest.  On our first evening we were able to witness a beautiful sunset over the Danuabe and the city skyline.  We wrapped up the tour with a performance at the famous Hungarian National Opera House.   The trip provided each of us with a unique opportunity to explore unfamiliar parts of the world and to put names and faces on those that live there.  We were able to make many new friends and hopefully further the PTPI creed of “peace through understanding”.