Munich was the last stop for the Wyatt Exploration Program trip. It was also the city that we spent the most time. We were in Munich for 5 days, which didn’t even come close to enough time to explore this amazing city. We got to do two great tours; one of the city of Munich and the other was the rise of the Nazis’. We got the opportunity to visit the Residenz museum, which was amazing!
The group also got the change to explore Nymphenburg Palace and it’s grounds. The Palace it’s self was stunning, but the grounds were even more beautiful. The students got the chance to really explore both the Palace and the grounds. Some students even took a gondola ride on some of the extensive ponds around the Palace.
One thing that I never thought I would see in Germany were people surfing. Well in the English Garden that is exactly what you will find. There is one part of the garden where the river comes under a bridge that makes very turbulent water and it is enough for people to surf on. It is so much fun to watch and it really draws a crowd. We spent one whole afternoon and evening exploring the English Garden and then having dinner at the Chinese Tower. The Chinese Tower is basically a huge outdoors cafeteria with a German band and fun crowd of people.
One of my most memorable parts of the trip was the chance to spend one very long and emotional day at the Dachau memorial and museum. There are not words that explain the feeling you have while you walk the grounds or read the stories and experiences of those in Dachau. So many times I had tears streaming down my cheeks before I even knew it. I had an overwhelming feeling of helplessness as I walked the gravel paths through the memorial grounds. It was a feeling like no other and so hard to explain. It is an experience that I know I will remember my whole life.
One of the last days that we were in Munich we got the chance to walk the 1972 Munich Olympic park. We got the chance to see many of the different stadiums, art pieces or sculptures, go up in the Olympic tower, and see the memorial from the Munich massacre. It is amazing to see how the Olympic park is being used today since so many of them are left to just fall apart. The park has become a part of normal life in Munich. The dorms that were for the athletes have been turned into apartments. The grounds are used for festivals (while we were there a bike festival was going on). Also we shop at a pop up flea market that is there every weekend.
There were so many amazing aspects and experiences on this trip to Germany and Austria that you just can’t put into words. I know the students have learned so much and will have an experience that they can use to further themselves in life.
Salzburg was by far the most beautiful place I have ever been. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a world traveler by any means, but the mountains were gorgeous. It truly was my favorite part of the whole trip. Be aware that everything is up hill. You thought you had to go down hill to get some where, but really it was just more up hill that looked like you were going down hill. I swear! Anyways the hotel we stayed in was on a hill and right outside the front door was this very cool water feature. It was a little water fountain that rain the length of the narrow street. The best part is that there were plastic balls (like you would see in a ball pit at a fast food restaurant) that were put in this fountain for kids to play with. The kids would run the balls to the top of the hill and then watch the balls flow down the fountain. The kids also played in the fountain with the balls. It wasn’t deep, maybe 2 inches in the very center.
One of the things that we got to do while we were in Salzburg was take a trip up into the Alps to the peak of Untersberg moutain about 5,000 ft up by cable car. I personally am not a fan of heights and the fact that there were 25 or 30 people packed into a cable car did not sit very well with me on both the trip up and down. Once we got up there it was so beautiful and very much worth the nerve racking trip.
We also got the change to have lunch at a little hut in the Alps called an Almhutte. It was a very light lunch of meat, cheese, and breads. Its hard to see in this photo, but there was still snow on much of the mountain peeks. The adventurous part of the group took about a half hour hike further up to a higher peak on the mountain and some of us took a shorter hike up the the peak with the cross in the background of the group picture.
There were many other interesting places that we got the change to visit such as Festung Hohensalzburg which is a fortress in Salzburg and the DomQuartier. The DomQuartier was made up of a cathedral, museum, and residence buildings.
We also got the change to see Petersfriedhof which is a historic Christian graveyard & catacombs. Now when you hear the word catacombs you think underground, right? Not in Salzburg! The catacombs were in the side of the mountain and to see them you had to climb up some very narrow and sketchy stairs within the side of the mountain. It was a whole new meaning of catacombs for me, but it was a very interesting experience.
On Thursday May 11th we took an hour train ride to Regensburg. Regensburg is considered a college town and it was amazing. We started our first night in Regensburg with dinner at a medieval restaurant. We ended up having a whole roasted pig for dinner that night.
We got the opportunity to take a boat tour down the Danube River to see Wallhala. The boat ride was wonderful because as you went down the river the tour pointed out buildings, villages, or landmarks.
If you can’t tell it was a long and steep hike, but it was amazing once you got to the top. Wallhala holds busts of distinguished people in German history. We were also lucky enough to be able to attend Maidult. It is Regensburg’s May festival. It was a wonderful experience and there were so many people that were in traditional German clothing (dirndl and lederhosen). Maidult is like a big carnival that had all sorts of rides, stalls, and food. It was an amazing experience.
We took many walks through the city and across the stone bridge. It lead to some of us getting lost (which was very easy to do in Regensburg), but that is part of learning about a place. Plus Regensburg is a very easy place to get lost in! We also did a tour of the old Rathaus house which was the old town hall. Regensburg seemed like a blink and it wasn’t long before we were on our way again!
How do you even describe a city like Nuremberg. There is so much that has happened there for centuries. It played a key role in not only the Holy Roman Empire, but also with the Third Reich and the Nuremberg Rallies. Now don’t forget that I am not a historian. I do not have the same background knowledge as the students and especially the faculty. I have to admit Nuremberg is a beautiful city and Nuremberg castle fits in with the city so well.
We did a lot of walking around the city and the students got the chance to explore on their own multiple times. Some of the tours that we did while in Nuremberg included a tour of the torture chamber, German National Museum, the Nazi Documentation Center (which was the rally grounds), and the most “German” of German cities. We were also able to tour Nuremberg castle.
The city was also beautiful at night because everything was light up.
My favorite place while we were in Nuremberg was the Nazi Documentation Center (which was the rally grounds). We had an amazing tour that took us around the grounds to learn about the different buildings and what they we planning on using them for. It amazed me that many of the huge buildings that were being constructed or where planned to be constructed were only going to be used for one day out of the whole year. On top the that the rally grounds were only going to be used for one week for the whole year.
Well we have made it the gate. We hit a little traffic, but nothing to horrible. Now is just the waiting game to board the plane. We haven’t lost anyone so that is a plus and there is a lot of nervous and excited energy among the students! Well they just annoyed our zone! More to come soon!
OK, OK, OK. I know that I said I would keep everyone updated on events and the Wyatt Program that has taken place this last academic year and I haven’t. I apologize for that, but it has been a busy academic year! I once again will be narrating our Wyatt Student Expedition to Germany this year and I hope to do even more posting while we are there. Last year in London it was a bit of a learning curve and I have learned a lot about blogging and about traveling abroad with a group of students! First let me give you a run down of the awesome events we had this year (that i forgot to let you guys know about 🙁 sorry again!).
Of course we had to start off with an awesome Wyatt Kick-Off like we do every year. I’m pretty sure I did tell you guys about that one! We had three guest speakers during the Fall 2016 semester: Dr. Derek Hastings, Associate Professor in History at Oakland University; Dr. Karrin Hanshew, Associate Professor in History at Michigan State University; and Dr. Joel Harrington, Professor of History, Vanderbilt University. We also held an Oktoberfest event that featured a thirty-piece German brass band, a movie night showing Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, and a Krampus event. All of the events featured yummy German food.
As of right now we are exactly one week away from leaving for Germany. The trip will be taking place from May 8th-21st. There are 7 students that will be attending the trip. For this trip we will be staying in four different cities; Nuremberg, Regensburg, Salzburg, and Munich. The itinerary is almost completely set and there are only a few last minute details that need to be straightened out. It should be a very rewarding and exciting trip!
That’s all for now, but make sure you keep checking for updates! We will be heading out before you know it!
Welcome back everyone to another exciting academic year! If you didn’t know today is the first day of fall classes for the 2016-2017 year. There are some really exciting events coming up this year with a fresh start to the Wyatt Program! The official announcement for this years program will take place at the 2016-2017 Wyatt Kick-Off. The Wyatt Kick-Off will take place on Tuesday, September 13 at 5:30 pm in 307 French Hall. Make sure you don’t miss it!
Recap from London:
Ok so I know I was not very good with keeping everyone up to date about the London trip. Also there hasn’t been much information once we got back, so let me recap the trip for you. We spent 17 days actually in London with 2 travel days. Most of the days were not stop with many hours spent in museums. The students had such a great experience being able to see the history first hand. It truly was a once in a life time experience.
While here in London the group was able to see two shows; Mrs. Henderson Presents and Sunny Afternoon. Both shows were musicals and they were amazing!
Mrs. Henderson Presents was set during World War II in London. It focused on the Windmill Theatre. The Windmill is the only Theatre that did not close during WWII because they did the shows for the soldiers that were home from the war. It was a way to keep the soldier’s spirits up. The interesting thing about the Windmill Theatre is that they were the first Theatre to do nude performances. The catch for them to be approved for these performances was that the girls could not move on stage that way it was more like art then it was nude dancing. This performance was amazing. The music was beautiful. There was one scene where they simulated a bomb going off nearby during the Blitz that truly made you feel as if you were in the Theatre during the Blitz.
Watching Sunny Afternoon felt as if it was more of a concert than a musical, but it was absolutely amazing. I honestly thought that I would not know any of the songs that they would sing since I had never heard of The Kinks, but in reality I knew many of them. Come to find out many of The Kinks songs have been redone by other bands. The musical is set in the 1960s and it explains how they got started along with all there ups and downs in their career. One interesting fact that the musical pointed out was that The Kinks got banned from the US for 3 years. Maybe that is why they weren’t as well known. The band seemed to be the true British story since they came from a working class family and rose up slowly in the music business. I would recommend everyone to YouTube some of The Kinks music. I think you would be surprised how much of it you know. Below is a clip of one of there songs that most people know!
On our own time just about everyone else attended at least one more show. Two students went to a concert at the Royal Albert Music Hall and other students saw Phantom of the Opera. Myself and 7 students saw Taming of the Shrew at the Globe! I have to admit I have never read the play, but I have seen “10 Things I Hate About You”, which is based off of that play. It was a unique experience to be able to see a play in an open air theatre like it use to be done. It truly was an experience that I am still in awe over. Over all, I highly enjoyed the play and it honestly makes me want to start reading some Shakespeare.
On Sunday, May 15 we got to have a free day in London. We could do whatever we wanted as long as we had a buddy. Some students took a day trip to Blenheim Palace, others went on an adventure to find Abbey Road Studios, some decided to explore the London Dungons, and then a few of us had a shopping and park day. For my free day myself and two students did some shopping in the morning at the Jubliee Market and Tea House. The Jubilee Market is just a big open building with stalls upon stalls of vendors.
After the Jubile Market, which by the way is perfect for my price range, we decided to adventure to Oxford Street where you can find Selfridge’s department store. Now really this is no department store. This is basically a huge department store that is broken down into a bunch of little designer stores. To name a few of the designers that are located within Selfride’s would be Chanel, Burberry, Dior, Prada, Oakley, Ray-Ban, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors. Those are just a few of the designers that you can find there. Let me tell you it was sure an experience to be in that store, but I was afraid to touch anything! This would be the store to go to if you are every looking for anything that a designer makes!
After we decided we were done shopping we went and spent some time in Hyde Park. We got bikes and rode around The Serpentine, which is a pond in the park. The bike ride was a total adventure because it has been almost 10 years since I last rode a bike and everyone knows the saying “it’s just like riding a bike”, but what they don’t tell you is that remembering how to ride a bike again can have a rough start! Luckily we made it through the ride without any accidents. Along the way we got to see the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain along with the Holocaust Memorial Garden.
We ended up walking a little bit of the inner paths that bikes could not go on after we got done riding. There were some beautiful gardens and water features.
We ended up finding a nice spot in the park and spent the remainder of the afternoon people watching, reading, and journaling. It was really amazing to see how the park played such a big role in the life of Londoners. Everywhere you looked you saw people learning something new. Kids learning how to ride bikes or scooters, people of all ages learning to roller blade or ride a horse. There were also many groups of people that were salsa dancing or roller blading to music. It was a place for families to spend time together, friends to catch up with each other, or couples to enjoy a picnic. It was the place everyone wanted to be at on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It was a perfect day to relax and enjoy London.
So I’m sure there are a few people out there that wonder how we have gotten around these few weeks in London. Well obviously we flew to London (otherwise it would have been a really long boat ride). We mainly have used the Tube and our feet. Below is a picture of the Tube map that we used to get around the city.
Also part of the Tube is the London overground, which is just a train. We also used a train to come back from Hampton Court Palace. We have taken a boat to Hampton Court Palace and to Greenwich. While visiting Hackney with Dr. Whooley we got the chance to ride a red double decker bus!
Some of us have been lucky enough to catch a ride in a black cab. I can’t believe the number of these that are on the streets and man are the streets crazy. You have to be very careful before stepping off the curb because you will get ran over!
Also some of us got to go for a gondola ride on the canal in Camden Town. I would highly recommend a ride on the canal because it was so interesting to see the city from the canal. There are many things that you miss when you are walking and you have to make sure you are not running into other people. We have two free days coming up to where students can either got back to some of the sites that we have already visited or they can adventure to somewhere that was not on our itinerary. I know on my free day I am going to rent a bike and take a nice ride through Hyde Park to find some beautiful gardens! This also lets me check another form of transportation off my list! As far as we can tell it seems that a helicopter is about the only mode of transportation that we haven’t used yet, but I think that is a little bit out of our budget!
Out of all the forms of transportation that we have used my favorite is the Tube. It really is a great system and so easy to use. The map is a little confusing and overwhelming at first, but once you use it a few times it’s not so bad. It truly has been an adventure of planes, trains and automobiles!!!