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University Krakow, Poland

Blog entry 5 - A consumer-temple in Poznan, hospitality in Breslau and street art in Krakow

Tue, 10 May 2016 | Universität Krakau

Last weekend, I had by far the most beautiful experience of my Erasmus semester and met a few of the nicest and most open-minded people. But everything from scratch.

The whole weekend started on Friday at 5 o'clock. Still quite sleepy I take the first train to Poznan. The city in the west location, fifth largest in Poland is definitely worth a visit and because my friends had no time, I spontaneously planned this and going there alone.

After five hours on the train and a large coffee I started my tour of the city. Like many towns in Poland, it also posses a large market, which is surrounded by pretty colored houses, so you do not even know where to begin taking pictures and stop. In the evening, a band was on the marketplace in a house from a concert windows. Particularly impressive was the sumptuously decorated Church of the Jesuit College.

It gives an advantage to the city, when you want to visit it alone.: you can look around at your own pace and sometimes take time to make photos in peace without other people have to wait for anything.

In addition, you can even choose what you want to see and also spontaneously change the plans when you come across something interesting. Later, I took a long walk through the Citadel Park and enjoyed the sun.

For me, the personal "highlight" was, when I took a tip from my teachers and visited a place the next day. The former brewery of Poznan, "Stary Browar" is a gigantic and chic shopping center today. My lecturer for the course "Media Art in Poland" is an expert on modern art and has given us not only in Krakow recommendation to visit the most remarkable museums, but offered that if you want to take a trip to another city, you can ask him for advice any time. Fortunately,  without his advice I would have definitely avoided the Shoppingmall and also not knowing that there are multiple exhibits to see on the ground floor in an interesting gallery. But even so, the visit to the Stary Browar was interesting and given the incredible size of the shopping center, it urges an inevitable question, on how much it actually consumes on H & M T-shirts, decorative items, smartphones and Costa Coffee for one man. Large shopping centers are very popular in Poland and every major city has at least three of them, each with branches of the same chain.  

After the visit to the shopping mall we went by train to Breslau. The plan was there to meet some friends from Krakow and go together to a concert. Unfortunately, was something quite wrong with the hostel reservation, so we unfortunately had no room. My friends opted for a much more expensive hotel rooms. Since I did not want to pay, I wrote a friend from Breslau if she knows someone with whom I could stay. I did not really think that would work and she would spontaneously find such a person, but half an hour later she sent me a phone number of one of my acquaintances Martyna, while not knowing me, she rejoiced over spontaneous visit from Germany.

I've never met anyone, who was like Martyna, so hospitable and thanks to her, it was definitely, this trip was one of my best in Wroclaw. I could not just stay in her apartment, she picked me up from the station and brought me to the concert, in the morning she made fantastic pancakes for breakfast  and we had a lot of fun together  the entire Sunday, while walking around Wroclaw. Martyna was also pleased to have the opportunity to refresh her German again. Since graduation, she has indeed not spoken German, but we were able to talk and entertain all day without problems and I had the opportunity to leran a bit more Polish, as to thank my hostess for all the hospitality and a nice day. I hope that she has time in the next few to come and visit me in Krakow.

Also, I am now more satisfied with CouchSurfing because of my first experience as CouchSurfer. This weekend I'm going to Warsaw and get two nights couch surfing. I hope that it will be as nice as in Wroclaw.

Meanwhile, in Krakow, is a bit of work from the university. In a Polish course called "Film and Religion" last week we wrote mid-term tests,fortunately I passed both  easily. For my subject "Reading Anthropology Between The Lines" I had to write a short essay for the second time.

The subject is interesting, because we talk about different social phenomena and cultural differences, but unfortunately the whole thing is a bit trivial. In general, many of the English courses, which are mainly attended by Erasmus students, are quite simple and can be completed without a great deal of work.

However, the Polish courses are much more difficult and labor intensive, finally, the University of Krakow does not go in vain and is the best university in the country.

But there remains fortunately enough time to enjoy the finer things in Eramus life. When you spend time with so many people from different countries, you get a chance to try cooking together and try so many  typical food from other countries. At a dinner with friends this week, there was a wild mixture of lasagne, curry, bigos (Polish sauerkraut stew), couscous and pancakes to eat.

Besides everything, I even get to know a completely different side of Krakow as the magnificent historic buildings of the old town with a walking tour about street art. The tour led through the Jewish quarter Kazimierz and to Podgórze, the district in which the former Krakow Ghetto was established. Today it is mainly a lively Kazimierz, alternative district with many small shops, bars and cafes. That once lived a very large Jewish community here, today they are still recognizable everywhere - Not only at the synagogues.


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