Saturday, February 27, 2010

Meißen: Porcelain, Cathedrals, and Fimmel

Yesterday, we went to Meißen, a small town outside of Dresden. There we toured the first porcelain factory in Europe. All of their porcelain is still made by hand, and we were able to see how they made it. Imagine putting all of those little flowers on that tea pot! I really wanted to get something from there, but everything in the store was ridiculously expensive. All I could afford was a postcard.

After the porcelain factory, we went to a beautiful cathedral nearby. The view across the river was incredible. We also got some Meißen Fimmel, which is an inflated piece of bread. The story behind this bread is that the Prince's messenger would always get drunk in Meißen and forget to deliver the message to Dresden. To fix this, the Prince decided to give the messenger this frail piece of bread, and if he did not arrive in Dresden with it still in tact, off with his head! Our mission was to protect our bread until we ourselves got to Dresden. Unfortunately, Eric Markwith broke his almost immediately. Later that day, waiting for the train I got so hungry that I decided to eat my bread. It bread didn't even taste that good.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Thursday we took a two hour train ride to Leipzig. The train we took was amazing! Unlike the MBTA Commuter Rail, you didn't need to shout to have a conversation with the person next to you. Plus, the ride was really smooth. I love German transportation!

Once we got there we grabbed some lunch in the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and then headed to the Zeitgeschichliches Forum, which is the Forum of Contemporary History. This museum was about East and West Germany in the aftermath of WWII, with a focus on the German Democratic Republic (GDR) which was under Soviet rule. Our tour guide grew up in the GDR and was 18 when the wall fell. It was a very different experience to hear history from a first hand source, to hear this woman talk about her own childhood. She lived through the times we were learning about.

After this museum, we went to an old Stasi headquarters which had been turned into a museum. The Stasi was the Secret Police of the Soviets. We couldn't find out where to buy English headsets, so we decided to just look around without them anyways. After this museum, we went to an Irish pub for dinner, then headed back home.

Rachel and me next to a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Friday we started our sociology class. We have two different professors, and see both of them for 90 minutes. I'm glad we don't have one long 3 hour class. Both of our professors also spent their childhoods in the GDR. It was interesting to hear their stories as well. It made history much more personal.

So for the past few nights, a few of us girls have really wanted to go to Nu Beatzz, and dance club in the Neustadt. Each night, something comes up, and we don't end up going. Last night, we were actually on our way, and then we couldn't find it! From the looks of it, we may never end up going there :( On the bright side, we found this really cool bar called Groove Station. They play live music every night and have pool tables and fooseball tables. We've been there twice, and so far so good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Costumes and Jelly Donuts

Today was Fasching, a German holiday that occurs right before Lent. People dress up in costumes, kinda like Halloween. Even the people that worked the dining hall dressed up! Following German tradition, our professor brought us these jelly donuts called Pfannkuchen. It was light and airy and rolled in sugar. YUM! She told us that one of them was filled in mustard, so we were all afraid of biting in to them. Apparently this is a little joke German parents play on their children, and none of them had mustard. Speaking of jokes, we also learned that when German children wouldn't eat their soup, parents would tell them about a boy who didn't eat his soup then died. A little graphic, no?

On another note, we started planning our breaks today! We booked a flight to London, and then from there we'll travel around France, Spain and Italy for the first break. Then off to Croatia and Greece for the second. SOOOO EXCITED! :D

Monday, February 15, 2010

First Day of Classes

Today was the first day of classes. We had Intensive Beginning German from 9:20 to 12:40. I learned how to say the alphabet and some phrases for introducing yourself. It was a little challenging, especially since I haven't had classes in about 2 months! We had a half hour break somewhere in between and a few of us decided to go to the student cafe the teacher mentioned. It took us practically 15 minutes just to find it! The building used to be a prison, so the floor plan is crazy. We had to go down a few flights of stairs, many winding hallways, and finally found the secret staircase, which wasn't actually that far from our classroom after all.

Also, I finally got my cell phone! Yeaahhhh! Facebook chat has been our soul means of communication when we aren't together, so this will make things much easier :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Human Chain

Yesterday was the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden. On February 13th, 1945, thousands of people died and Dresden was literally flattened after the fire-bombing. On this day every year, a group of neo-nazis gather in Dresden, and "mourn" their losses, and praise the rebuilding of Dresden. Since this year was the 65th anniversary, the police expected 6500 Neo-Nazis to gather in the city. There were police everywhere! A group of us decided to join our RAs at the anti-neo-nazi demonstration. Thousands of people held hands and made a human chain on our side of the river during the ringing of the church bells. The ringing signified the length of the bombing of the city. After the bells stopped, we all cheered! The amount of energy and love at the demonstration was incredible. It was an amazing thing to be a part of, and something I will never forget.

Here is a picture of the Frauenkirche after the bombing. Being in this beautiful city now makes it so hard to imagine Dresden in ruins. It's utterly amazing how the city was rebuilt to look like it was before the fire bombing.

Tour of Dresden

Thursday night, we went to Neuestadt, which means "New City" in German. This is where most of the younger people in Dresden live, and where the big nightlife is. When we got there, we went into Paradise bar, which turned out to be a gay bar! After that, we ended up at Jim Beams, which ironically was an American bar. We then met up with the other group, and ended up at Katy's Garage, a club where we danced the night away!

Friday we had a bus tour of Dresden. The city is beautiful, especially Altstadt, the "Old City". It was freezing and snowy that day. My socks got soaked, but that's what I get for wearing clogs in the snow. I didn't think we'd be walking so much! Here are some pictures I took!

This is the top of the Museum of Fine Arts, known affectionately as the Lemon Squeezer.

This is the Frauenkirke, or Church of Our Lady. It's an Evangelist church. When it was rebuilt after the bombing, they were able to use some of the old stones. The black ones are the old sandstone, and the light ones are the new. They used technology and satellite to determine where the original stones were. Very cool!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ich spreche kein Deutsch

I finally got my internet set up. So much has happened in the past few days!

I arrived in Dresden on Monday morning, 10am. We were picked up from the airport by our RAs, and were only given enough time to drop our bags off when we arrived at our dorm. My suite is very nice, it seems to be one of the newer buildings here at TUD. I share a bathroom with my neighbor, and there are 8 of us who share the After dropping our things off, we had orientation throughout the day. My RA showed us around our area. We are right in the shopping district, which is super convenient. All I have to do is walk across the street whenever I need something! We also live within walking distance of the old city, which is the most beautiful and historic part of the city. That night we went to the Gutz, which is a student run bar in the basement of the dorm where the other BU students are staying.

The past two days have been more orientation. We went to IKEA last night to get things for our rooms. Today, we had a tour of the TUD campus, hopefully I'll remember where everything is once classes start! I'm beginning to understand the Straßenbahn, the train system here. (the ß is pronounced as ss) It's so much more efficient than the T in Boston.

Some things I have learned so far:
1. Germans are very clean, more reserved, and skinny!
2. The beer is fantastic.
3. It's difficult to order food when you don't know the language/ what you are ordering.
4. Ich spreche kein Deutsch (I don't speak German)