One of the classes I’m taking this semester abroad is super awesome because we learn about the history of the region by visiting places. Super hands-on, which I am definitely a fan of. Also, our professor isn’t interested in us learning dates and names. Instead our trips are designed to show us the different lifestyles that different cultures and groups of people had a given points in history. Definitely a very cool course.
This weekend was our first trip and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Friday we stayed pretty local. We first went to a small town right next to Metz called Scy-Chazelles. This is where a man named Robert Schuman took up residence for the later part of his life. Now, I had no idea who this guy was but it turns out he was pretty important. He is the father of Europe. After all of the wars it was his idea to unite Europe into a single entity. Pretty cool in my opinion… especially because most of these countries had been busy trying to blow each other up less than 5 years before he made it happen. After that we went to the Cathedral in Metz. It has so much stained glass!! What is interesting is that a lot of the stained glass was lost during the wars. So to fill the windows, different artists designed stained glass windows that resembled the modern, abstract, and even cubism art styles. More of a mix of the old and new. Then we went to a local museum and an old abbey that has been turned into a local music venue. We were told about how Metz used to be a very large city in the Roman empire and there are still Roman walls scattered throughout the city. Who knew?!
The next day was definitely my favorite. We went to a city in Germany called Trier. Trier is a very old city and it has a lot of Roman influences still. The emperor Constantine actually lived in Trier for years before eventually establishing Constantinople! We were able to see the old amphitheater which was actually being used that weekend for faux-gladiator fights. Basically half of a hill was relocated so that the amphitheater could sit down in the ground. No big deal. Then we went to the palace hall. It was huge!! It was also really cool because two of the walls were the walls that the Romans had built. And this wasn’t a ruin either; it was a fully functional Protestant church with Roman walls. Last we went to the Porte Negra, which used to be the gate to the city back when the Romans were there. After that we had some free time to go get some food (YUM) and walk around some. We stumbled on a guy wearing a cowboy hat singing “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Europe never ceases to amaze me.
Today we stayed local and went to the art museum. We had to provide our own transportation, so we biked. We tried out a new way to get to the city so that we could avoid all of the scary construction. It was great on the way there because it was all downhill!! It was a little scary at times though because my bike was not made for speeds greater than about 7 mph (it’s pretty terrible), but I somehow managed to survive. The ride back was exhausting… I might be sore tomorrow but I deserve it. I’ve been eating too much cheese anyways. The museum was really cool though. The exhibit we saw was all art from 1917, during WWI. It was interesting to see how the war had changed so many people and how it had such an effect on artists. My favorite was probably a collection of artillery shells that had been carved and hammered out to make beautiful vases. It was the only art that showed anything beautiful coming from the war.
Other than that it’s just been the same old thing. The boys are still doing p90x and I still refuse to join. Laundry is more of a pain than ever because I forgot a laundry bag… a trash bag just doesn’t work as well. Last night about 8 of us huddled around a little computer screen so that we could all watch American Psycho together… great bonding time. Planning for the next few weekends has already begun and I can’t wait for more adventures!!!
The rest of my pictures can be found here.