PhD Network excursion to Magdeburg: nature, science, architecture and food

One might think that being a PhD is just another few years of extending your study time, evading the "real job world". It's not. Being a PhD is already a job on its own. We are so called Jr. researchers as we are trained to be independent reasearchers planning and conducting our projects. We don't often work based on our contract hours, but rather more than what we should. Coming early, staying late. When necessary, we come on Saturday's and Sunday's just to make sure that our machines are running without trouble. However, in between our busy hours, we slip in time to have fun.

This time, the PhD Network of the Martin Luther University organized an excursion to Magdeburg. I knew most of the people who came, but it was the first time that two work colleagues came with us, bella Camilla the ballerina and Ya Ming. Together, we visited a number of places: Elbauenpark and the historic side of the city center of Magdeburg.

Our first stop was the Elbauenpark. Entrance ticket costs 2€/person which includes visits to some recreational stops. We came with a big group, approximately 20 people but we splited into smaller groups depending on one's interest. I walked along with 2 of my girl friends since we wanted to see deers in the shelter. We fed the deers grasses and I couldn't believe at first how soft their horns were!

Continuing on we went to the schmetterlingshaus (butterfly house) where we could see butterflies and other insects (e.g. mantis) as well as some reptiles inside. This place was not as big as the buttefly house in Hamburg which I visited a few years back. There was not so many species of butterflies here but it was still nice observing nature.


Since we did not have a lot of time, we walked to the Jahrtausendturm, a science center. In the garden, visitors could see half ball like structures called the Magdeburger Halbkugeln (Magdeburg hemispheres). I didn't  take a picture of but these hemispheres were used in the past to demonstrate the power of atmosphere pressure by pumping out the air creating a vacuum, and was not able to be pulled apart by horses.

Inside the building, there were so many exhibits to visit from all branches of science, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, so on... I could imagine myself spending the whole day there but we stayed mainly in the ground floor trying out different experiments and playing around with dragon action figures. One experiment was using heat to evaporate water, transfering from one jar to another to open a big door.

After half a day of walking around seeing nature and getting into the science vibe, we headed to the center and ate at the Wenzel Prager Bierstuben Magdeburg. We were super famished and ordered appetizer before the maincourse. That was a big mistake. I shared the bread wedges and a soup with Camilla. Then came the main course, which was super duper humungous! I guess that pork knuckle was as big as my head! I know I could eat a lot but I didn't even manage to touch the dumplings. Should have shared a portion with Camilla but it was too late.


Once we were full and stuffed, we started our city tour with a guide from the city's tourist center. One of our first stops was the Grüne Zitadelle, an impressive house and garden planned by the famous  architect Hundertwasser. I couldn't see myself living in that pink building, though it indeed looks artistic. However, the pillars which are located nearby were really pretty. I remembered seeing one of his other masterpieces in Barcelona, but couldn't pull out the picture from my directory.

As we were about to end the day, we stopped by two churches. I couldn't recall the first one which had these old bells, saved from being turned into bullets during the world war era . The second one was the Evangelische Domgemeinde zu Magdeburg. I couldn't say much about the church since I was tired and didn't payed attention much to the guide. Oopsies... We ended the day with not one, but TWO scoops of gellato on a cold day. Yum...yum...


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