My time in Europe went by so fast. December and exams crept up on me and suddenly I was very aware of just how little time I had left. Before I headed back to America, I did have one more trip planned. This one would reunite me with my parents. They had planned a European tour and I would be joining them for the Germany and Poland legs of their trip.
I’m going to start by admitting that this wasn’t my best trip and I kind of regret it a little. Now before my parents take this personally I would like to emphasize that my regrets have absolutely nothing to do with spending time with them. In fact, it was super nice to see them after being apart for months. I was just frustrated with the situation as a whole as things hadn’t gone entirely to plan. You see, originally I was just going to join them in Poland because I had never been there but, as I have discussed before, I have gone to Germany many times. My parents’ trip coincided with my exam season so I had wanted to join them after I turned in my last paper, just in time to meet them in Poland. Unfortunately, it was significantly cheaper to fly earlier so I ended up meeting my parents in Munich with an unfinished paper and a looming deadline.
It’s exceptionally not fun to try to finish up a paper while stuck in a tiny European hotel room with your parents. I definitely would not choose to do it again. I was so stressed out for those few days I felt ill. It just was all around not a good time. While I am so grateful I got to spend time with my parents and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, I must acknowledge that part of the trip was a mistake.
With those three paragraphs of whining out of the way, I’ll start actually talking about the trip. It’s mostly just going to be me talking about some of the interesting things that we did but with no real narrative. Sorry in advance.
We stayed at two main places: Nürnberg, Germany and Wrocław, Poland. Both were super festive with Christmas markets galore. While we saw more things in Nürnberg, I think I liked Wrocław more as a whole. Maybe because it was different or maybe because I didn’t have a 25 page paper hanging over my head.
We started off in Nürnberg. Besides wandering the Christmas markets and drinking flaming rum punch (which I wholeheartedly recommend!), we did see some sights. We spent an hour or so at the Albrecht Dürer House which is a recreation of the house that he lived in while in Nürnberg. It was pretty interesting to see how he might’ve lived, but it was very small so we didn’t really spend much time here.
We also went to the Documentation Center at the former Nazi party rally grounds. The building has been repurposed into an educational center to document the atrocities committed by the Nazis. This was a worthwhile trip. While I don’t think it was very fun, it wasn’t supposed to be. It was, however, very engaging and it kept my interest all the way through.
Finally, my dad and I had a lovely little trip to the train museum. I don’t really have much to say about it except the museum was very well done and I enjoyed getting to spend time with my dad.
Overall, Nürnberg had its moments but I don’t really think it was worth all of my exam anguish, unfortunately. Luckily, heading to Poland would put both Germany and my paper far behind me. This leg of the trip was far more interesting to me, even though I wasn’t feeling too well for part of it (perhaps because of all the stress from the previous few days? I don’t know).
Wrocław was nice, but very, very cold. It was the only place where we saw even a bit of snow. Although my blood had thickened up living in Denmark, it was not used to the frigid Polish temperatures and my coat was definitely not up to the task. The weather severely limited our activities given the short days and long, dark nights. Still, I did enjoy the things that we got to do.
Of course, the main attraction was the Christmas market. I liked this one much better than the one in Germany, perhaps because it seemed to have a bigger variety of stalls. The market in Nürnberg covered a larger area, but the stalls started to repeat themselves. Wrocław definitely won the market game. Plus the food was great and the hot wine was delicious.
When we weren’t eating and drinking we did venture out to see some sights. My mom really wanted to go to where the Polish pottery is made, so that is where we went for a day trip. We took a tour of one of the factories which was way more interesting than I thought it would be. After that, we did a small bit of shopping. I bought a wonderful mug that I loved so much. Until I dropped it at law school and it shattered. I’m still gutted about that.
My dad and I also went to the anthropology museum. As an anthropology major in undergrad, this was right up my alley. I always enjoy looking at these kinds of exhibits and I ended up having to explain quite a bit of anthro to my dad, since neither of us speak Polish and some of the translations did not give a lot of information. The museum was small and quirky but that’s my favorite kind.
It’s also worth mentioning that Wrocław is famous for its gnomes. There are bronze statues of gnomes hidden around the old town so we did do our best to find as many as we could. Enjoy this small gallery of them, just because.
My time in Poland was over way too quickly as I had to fly back to Copenhagen in time for my other exam the next day. And, of course, my flight was kind of a nightmare due to an unforeseen 3 hours of delays in Warsaw Still, I’m very glad I got to go and check another country off of my list. I did miss Denmark though, and I was itching to go back since I only had a week to go before I had to head back to America.