I arrived in Würzburg, Germany five days ago and I can already say that this city has stolen my heart. Würzburg is a small city located in Bavaria, Germany in the Franconia region. I will be staying in Würzburg for the entire month of July while I take a German course at the University of Würzburg. During my time in Germany I am staying in a single room in a dorm at the University.
The past few days have been so busy that we haven’t had much down time. On our first night here we got settled in our rooms and then took the bus downtown to eat as a group in a restaurant that is 700 years old. Many of us did not know each other because the group consists of only one other LVC student, besides myself, one professor from LVC, and eight students and two professors from Hillsdale College in Michigan, so we used this time to get to know each other. We enjoyed a traditional German style meal with Franconia wine, and of course amazing desserts.
We started class the next day, which goes from 8:30 to 12:30 Monday through Friday. In order to get to class we have to take one of the bus lines downtown, which is about a 10 minute ride from our dorm building. After classes we ate lunch in the main lunch hall of the university, where we will be eating lunch most days. On Thursday afternoon we did a citywide scavenger hunt that took three hours. We learned so much about the culture of the city and how to navigate through it. It is a beautiful city that has a fun, positive vibe.
My favorite place in the city is the Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge) which is a foot bridge that goes across the Main River. It has several statutes on it that are historical people of the city. During the day it is a beautiful place to relax and read a book or do homework by the river, and at night it is a fun place to hang out with friends. At night the fortress that is visible from the bridge and the length of the bridge itself are lit up, and there is music and lots of people drinking wine.
On Friday night the Kiliani-Volksfest began. Kiliani-Volksfest is a huge festival in Würzburg that honors Saint Kilian and is celebrated for about two weeks. To start off the festivities, the major of Würzburg tapped the first keg that came from the Würzburg Hofbräu, the only brewery in the city. Later in the night there were fireworks for the Festival as well.
During the day on Saturday there was a huge parade that was for the Kiliani-Volksfest that went through the center of the city that featured tons of German traditions. After the parade, we went to the Juliusspital Winery to go on a tour and taste their wines. Würzburg is known for their wine, especially their white wines, since it is located in a huge wine region in Germany with three huge wineries. While we were at the winery we saw their wooden barrels that they age wine in, some of them were decorated for specific things. There was one where you could climb in it to see how big it was and a few of us went into it.
At first it was hard to become adjusted to speaking German all the time but it is getting easier now. It is very rewarding to be able to understand and communicate with another person in a language that you have spent so much time studying. There are a lot of small cultural changes in Germany that most people wouldn’t realize unless they visited. For example, stores are not open on Sunday and close early at night, and most places do not take credit cards for payment. The past couple of days have been extremely hot and it is very rare for buildings to have air conditioning in Europe. Our classroom and dorms do not have AC either, and since the weather has been over 90 degrees the past few days it has been very difficult to adapt without AC. It is also something we are getting used to. Hopefully it will start to cool down soon too!