|A selfie in front of St. Mary's Church in Kraków, advertising my department via t-shirt|
Academic conferences are a great way to meet colleagues and present your research. They also give academics a good excuse to travel! I didn't have a lot of travel opportunities growing up, so as an adult I really appreciate the opportunities my academic career has given me to see new parts of the world.
I recently returned from a trip to Europe: Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary (with a stop at the Amsterdam airport for some Dutch cheese). The primary purpose of the trip was to attend the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy Conference in Kraków, Poland, which took place June 8-11, 2018 (you can find out more about the conference in a previous post, which includes the abstract for the talk I gave).
Kraków is a beautiful city. I recommend visiting if you can! I think a lot of Americans overlook Poland when they visit Europe, but it has a lot going for it: great food (pierogies!), interesting history, beautiful scenery, not to mention being a bit cheaper than western Europe.
|Town Hall Tower|
My talk took place at Jagiellonian University, which is the alma mater of Stanislaw Lem, John Paul II, and Copernicus (pictured below). I'd like to thank the conference organizers for doing an excellent job making the conference a great experience for everyone who attended.
|Philosophizing and stuff|
|Selfie with Copernicus at Jagiellonian University|
|A stroll on the square after some late night conferencing/socializing|
After the conference I went with a few friends to visit Auschwitz, which is about an hour away from Kraków. It was intense and moving in a way that's still affecting me deeply over a week later and probably will for a long time to come. I'll have more to say about the experience and how it relates to current events in a future post.
|The infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Makes You Free") gate|
Since visiting a death camp while you're on vacation can be kind of draining, we thought we'd visit the resort town of Zakopane in the Carpathian mountains of southern Poland.
Next we drove through Slovakia en route to Budapest, Hungary. Slovakia is a beautiful country. I'd love to make a proper visit someday.
|Orava Castle, Slovakia|
|My friends and I LOVED the jaunty pedestrian crossing signs in Slovakia|
Next we arrived in Budapest!
|The courtyard of our hotel in Budapest|
|Appetizer before a delicious Hungarian meal|
|My loaner yarmulke while visiting Budapest's Great Synagogue|
|Investigating a strange little truck|
|The funicular up the hill|
|Hungarian beer break!|
|This part of the castle reminded me of Minas Tirith from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies|
|Underground opera dioramas. Why not?|
|Dusk cruise on the Danube|
|St. Stephen's Basilica|
Back to Krakȯw via Slovakia!
|A village in Slovakia|
|One night back in Krakȯw before flying home|
So there you have it! It was a great trip! I recommend checking out Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary if you get a chance.