Monday, September 21, 2020 | Written by Kaela
When signing up for classes at GTL, I thought I knew one thing: I did not want a field trip class. Originally, I felt these classes would take away from an already minimal amount of weekends I was able to travel. So when registration rolled around I signed up for INTA 2221 (a field trip class) for two reasons. One, the only class I needed for my degree was canceled, and two, I could not sign up for any other class. After this past weekend visiting Trier and Metz, I can definitively say my original line of thinking was wrong.
Before arriving at Georgia Tech Lorraine, Trier was not a place I prioritized in my trip list. I had daydreamed of spending my weekends in the classic tourist hotspots and big name cities: Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Budapest, and the like. Despite not necessarily frequenting the “Top 10 places to visit in Europe” lists, this city’s rich history makes it a worthwhile visit.
Trier, a city founded by the Romans, is peppered with still-standing roman architecture. My first year of college, I took a history of architecture class, so I had some knowledge the Roman influence on technology and architecture. My experiences in that class made me all the more interested to see what had been left behind after centuries.
We started off the field trip with a guided tour of Trier. With our guide, I was able to learn so much about the place I was in, in real time.
QUICK TIP: Guided tours offer an experience unlike solo or group travel and provide fantastic insight on a location.
While exploring Paris alone the weekend before, I knew little to nothing about the history of the places I was visiting. Time restrictions, slow data, and lack of knowledge of French kept me from learning as much as I had hoped to about the city I was in. Taking a guided tour on our trip in Trier allowed me to learn much more about the history and culture of the city. If I was traveling solo, I don’t think I would gain as much insight to Trier as I did with our guide without doing a lot of research before visiting; which as a busy student, would probably not happen. There’s no replacement for an expert on a subject.
Our first stop was a Roman amphitheater. With our guide’s descriptions, I could vividly imagine the battles, hear the roar of the crowd, and feel the tension as animals were lifted up into the arena. I could see the way it looked at the end of the day with crowds spilling out after watching the gruesome combats.
Next, we vistited Kaiserthermen, a Roman bath complex. The more I learn about history, the more I am repeatedly impressed by how technologically savvy the Romans were. The many “modern day” luxuries (including running water and heated floors) mentioned as we strolled through their gravity reliant underwater sewage canals surprised me.
After our guided tour, we had some free time to explore Trier. One of the foods I was told to try while in Germany was sausage. So naturally, the first thing my group did was head towards a food stand to try some of their famous currywurst. It was absolutely delicious. I enjoyed my currywurst so much, I drowned my fries in every last drop of leftover sauce. While I didn’t think I would find a food I enjoyed more than my curry and sausage combination, I was wrong. We found a pretzel stand and the pretzel I bought from it satisfied my top food categories: baked items and covered in butter.
After indulging in food heaven, we walked towards Trier Saint Peter’s Cathedral, which was impressively beautiful to say the least. It differed from the Metz Cathedral in its lack of stained glass, but the intricacy of the stone carvings made it just as beautiful in a different way.
In the end, this trip made me regret my initial hesitation towards taking a field trip class at Georgia Tech Lorraine (and almost glad my other class was canceled). Without this class or this field trip, I wouldn’t have seen the history left behind by the Romans, eaten the delicious currywurst or pretzel, or gotten beautiful pictures at the Palastgarten.