Entry 3: The Ten Day Trip (Part 1 - Wroclaw and Dresden)

Fionna Lehmann
March 11, 2015

Between German Intensive and the start of our actual classes we got to enjoy a wonderful 10 day long break. Though a lot of people chose to pursue their own travels, I decided to join the trip that IES had organized, which ended up being a fantastic decision. I met a lot of great people and we had so much fun!

We began the tour by visiting Wroclaw. I had wanted to visit Poland for a while, so I was pretty excited. Luckily, it didn’t disappoint! We began our stay in Wroclaw with a walking tour of the city, which culminated in a beautiful view from the top of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist on Cathedral Island. We also visited Raclawice, a giant, circular panoramic picture which puts you, the viewer, into the center of the action. The longer I looked at it, the less I could tell where the painting ended and the decorated area in front of it began, and the more it began to seem three dimensional (I was also really tired – that might have been part of it…). My favorite things about Wroclaw are the gnomes. No, really! These little, metal gnomes are located throughout the city and partake in a variety of activities (see pictures). Gnomes were associated with the “Orange alternative,” the underground anti-communism protest movement of the 80s, which was based on absurdity. Our first night was spent at a great club near the hostel, and the second was dedicated to the Superbowl party organized for us at a local bar (and so, I had my first ever football watching experience… in Poland!).

We made our way to Dresden next. Though Dresden was a beautiful city, I did not connect with it as much as I had with Wroclaw. I probably just needed to spend more time there to allow myself to get better acquainted with it. Some of the museums we had planned on visiting were closed on the day we had to visit them, which of course, was disappointing. Our first night in Dresden we ended up at this tiny, little Jazz bar, where a fantastic live band was performing for a group of locals, who stared at us, shocked that outsiders would infiltrate their little circle. We were about 5 feet away from the stage because, honestly, it was nearly impossible to be farther than that from the stage, and it was amazing! The second night a group of us went to a swing event which ended up entirely consisting of just two really good, self-taught swing dancers. They were ecstatic that we were there, since the two men usually had no one else to dance with, and we couldn’t help but be impressed by their dancing skills. 

 

(I have decided to split the ten day trip into two posts, since too much happened to fit it all into a mere six hundred words! Entry 4 will discuss the last four days of the trip - Stay tuned for Berlin!)

Fionna Lehmann

<p>Fionna studies Anthropology and Molecular Biology at the University of Pittsburgh. Though she is originally from the Netherlands, she has spent the last ten or so years in California. Her free time is spent reading, horseback riding, nerding out about television shows, hiking, and dreaming of future travels and adventures. She is looking forward to spending her spring semester enjoying the life and culture in Vienna, Austria and the surrounding countries.&nbsp;</p>

Destination:
Term:
2015 Spring
Home university:
University of Pittsburgh
Major:
Anthropology
Biological Sciences
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