Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Travels to Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary 2018

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

Wawel Castle

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
Castle Hill
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?
Hungarian Parliament
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.

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