Wednesday, June 07, 2006
A little taste of home
I figured I should do two seprate posts for my time in Southern Germany. I don't have very many photos because I left that duty to my dear grandfather to do. Soooo, on with the story.... on my last day with Denis, we drove to Stuttgart to meet up with my grandparents. We then went out for lunch and Denis and I said a teary goodbye.
From there I went with my grandparents and their friends, Christa and Heinz Streicher (who have been very friendly with me this whole year as well, always sending pictures and writing emails) to their home, again 30 minutes from Stuttgart, but this time heading south. I found it quite amazing that the two area's could be so different for both being within the greater Stuttgart region. We spent the weekend relaxing, getting caught up, and celebrating Christa's birthday. Then on monday we drove to Ulm to see the cathedral (I believe it has the world's tallest Gothic spire) and then further to Dachau where we found the Kz (concentration camp) to be closed but the nuns in the monestary situated right up next to the walls to be friendly and open. Despite the rain (which never went away the whole week) we learned a lot and then drove south to the small town (and former artist's colony) of Murnau on the Staffelsee, right at the foot of the German Alps. You can't get more south than that without leaving the country, and we were in the very heart of Bavaria, where the men and women actually do wear Lederhosen and Dirndl on any given day and the beer flows like water.
We had a great time together visiting a castle up in the Alps (and being bombared by giant snow flakes... which is not a good thing if you sort of get lost on the castle grounds while looking for the hunting lodge). The whole time we tried the local cuisine and drinks, marveled at the sceanry, saw some small villages, and finally saw Munich as well. We intended on driving to Innsbruck on the other side of the boarder, but the rain was turning into snow at the high altitudes and so we had no desire to battle the cold in spring sandals.
After a very quick week, Grandma and Grandpa and I took the train from the very southern bowels of this beautiful land to the waaaay other end, basically the furthest place you could possibly go. So, naturally it took us the whole day (starting at 6:30 am!). But, what was amazing was getting the chance to see so many parts of the country that I have been to before, all at one time, and seeing Germany as a whole, in all it's variety and beauty. And then, at long last, we reached my little ''Doorstep of Europe''.
I think that my grandparents really enjoyed their time here. Since it was a holiday weekend, Pentacost (Pfingsten auf Deutch), there was lots going on across the pennisula of East Frisia. We saw Esens here, and my school and all the homes I have lived in, as well as the surrounding villages, the harbor towns, and the far away ''city'' of Norden where we visted the seal orphanage. I taught grandma and grandpa all about our tea ceremony here, and then on our last day we took the ferry over to the island of Langeoog. For only a few days, I think I thoroughly covered everything improtant to see!
It was difficult saying goodbye, especially since they left on my birthday. But getting a chance to travel with my grandparents in Bavaria and to show them the other end of the country where I have been living was really special. I got 2 months left now, and even though I can't wait to go home, I still have lot of things left to do and see.
And also, thank you everyone who sent me birthday cards and presents! I love you lots!