Hello all ! After many technological issues, I have finally established a solid internet connection in mein Wohnungszimmer. I can now blog from the comfort of my single room in Würzburg!
I recently returned from a short weekend trip in Munich. The two hour train ride only mounted our excitement. After spending about a week in a mid-sized German town, it was time for the big leagues. Munich is a city that is about ten times larger than Würzburg, with a population of about 1.4 million proud citizens. Add the almost 5 million visitors YEARLY (most for Oktoberfest), it’s safe to say that this is a very busy, bustling area of industry mixed with old-fashioned buildings and culture. Talk about an interesting combination!
On the first night there, after settling into our Hostel-Hotel — which was far nicer than I imagined it would be — we made our way to the English Gardens, a gigantic park that rivals New York’s Central Park. In the heart of this green labyrinth stands the Chinesischer Turm, which is essentially a gigantic pagoda surrounded by outdoor booths providing people with traditional food and drink. There, I had my first Weissbier, which is what Munich is known for. It was absolutely delicious:) We sat around listening to the music and voices permeating the air, and spent the remainder of the night taking in this environment.
Saturday was filled with much sight-seeing, and in the afternoon, a few of us traveled to Dachau, the infamous city of one of the most well-known concentration camps. The town is only a half hour away from Munich’s main train station. Never having been to any sort of Holocaust memorial before, it was a very sobering experience. Most of the buildings are open to the public and virtually restored to what they resembled during WWII. Each place was filled with testimonials, artifacts, and historical information all surrounding the town and camp. It was definitely worth the trip. Despite the sadness that weighed down on our hearts, it was good to finally recognize and reflect on these events from not so long ago.
We returned on Sunday, exhausted from our travels. Most of that day was spent recovering. But Monday brought a pleasant surprise: all of us felt a new-found sense of direction for this town we temporarily are calling ‘home’. Finding stores on side streets isn’t nearly as difficult, and German conversation occurs much more readily. It’s an exciting development for all of us:)
Today was the closest to home I’ve felt since arriving. During an early-morning tour of the town, our group passed a Nunnery that a sister was unlocking. She overheard bits of our tour and inquired if we wished to come inside. We agreed, and as she was opening the door she asked where we came from. Upon our response, she told us that many of her sisters came from outside of Philadelphia… Huntingdon Valley, to be exact! The exact town I’ve lived in all my life. Sister Teresa and I spoke for a while about it, and it was really a ‘small-world’ experience that I’ve never internationally experienced. I loved every second of it:)
That was much more long-winded than I expected. So I’ll let you all go for now, and I finally found my camera cord, so pictures will be here within the week !
Willkommen nach Würzburg!
Welcome to Wuerzburg! I apologize in advance, if anything is spelled incorrectly. I am sitting in an internet cafe located in the heart of the town, and the keyboards here have quite a few of the letters swapped around (such as the ‘z’ and ‘y’. I think I finally have it down, though).
The reason I did not post is because the internet in my apartment is still not up and running, but this is not a huge issue here. This town is a beautiful place, and I have spent the past couple of days exploring every inch of it with the other three students from LVC. Contact with the outside world seems to be less of a priority here, especially since we’re almost constantly on the move.
We all arrived in Würzburg from Frakford on Monday, fighting jetlag but very excited to be where we were. The first day was spent unpacking in our apartments and becoming aquainted with the nine other students involved in the program. They study at Hillsdale College in Michigan, and are equally excited to be here.
On Monday night, we all had dinner at a place called the Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist. Known for the traditional wine and delicious dishes, the Restaurant is almost seven hundred years old! It was an enjoyable night as we began to soak in this new culture.
The next morning marked the beginning of classes, and in order to immerse us into the culture and mindset of the town, the Professors prepared a ‘scavenger hunt’ for us. Basically, we went around using only German to find various landmarks around town, and learned about their historical or social significance. It was very helpful and beautiful. The town has various styles of architecture, and the impressive buildings (many with religious connotations) are a marvel in itself. I’ll post some pictures once my laptop is up and running.
As the days have passed, places are becoming more familiar, and asking for directions isn’t as awkward. I feel as though we are all starting to become more comfortable here.
Tomorrow, we travel by train to Munich. We are all spending the weekend there, right in the center of town. I will probably not blog again until I return, but I’m sure it will be an incredible experience! The city does have 1.4 million citizens, so there should be much to do over there.
I’ve finally started counting down to single digits: in nine days, I leave my home and travel to Würzburg, Germany! In the last few days I’m home, I hope to spend a bunch of time with family and friends, while figuring out if I have everything I need for the month-long trip.
Having never left the United States before in my life (or even traveled west of Pittsburgh!), I am equally ecstatic and nervous for what is coming. It still hasn’t really hit me that in two weeks from now I’ll be an ocean away from everything known to me. But that makes this even more exciting.
Bye for now,