Hi! I'm Leanna and I'm going on a Rotary Exchange to Marl, Germany for one year.
Here I will be posting about my experiences in Deutschland over the year :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Deutschland Tour

For Oktober break, I went on a two-week round tour of Germany with the 60-odd other exchange students in my district. It was AMAZING! Here is a recap of what I had the opportunity to see.

Day 1 – This morning I left bright and early at 6:30 am. We left from Duisburg on our Coach bus that would be our home for the next two weeks. We went to this beautiful city called Heidelberg. This town is really old, and has the oldest university in Germany. The whole city looks very old, with cobblestones and old buildings and fountains. From almost anywhere in the city, when you look up, you can see the castle that is on the mountain/hill on the outskirt of the city. The city also sits on a river, and has an old bridge that crosses it, so this was very beautiful to see. Today was also warm, and we didn’t need our jackets! (Turns out this would be the ONLY day we wouldn’t need our jackets). Outside our youth hostel was a zoo, so we watched the zebras out our window.

Day 2 – Today we went on a tour of the castle. The castle has been bombed and damaged many times, so it is not in prime condition. We walked around the outside and went into the center courtyard of the castle. After this, we took the bus to Freiburg, where we went for a city tour and saw the Cathedral in the center of the city. I ate at Subway :) That night we went to the youth hostel and played get-to-know-you games. That was a little crazy.

Day 3 – Today we took the ferry to Insel Mainau, which is an island in the lake that is between Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. This island is dedicated entirely to flowers. There were plants, trees, and flowers from all over the world on this island. I saw palm trees! There were also fountains and statues, as well as a butterfly garden, and it was all very pretty. On this island, there is also a castle and a Cathedral, and everything used pastel colors.

Day 4 – Today we went to Schloss Neuschwanstein. This is such a beautiful castle! This is the REAL Disney castle, meaning this is what Walt Disney based his castle off of. Next we went to the Weiß Church. Very pretty, a little white Church on top of a hill.

After this, we hiked up this mountain to get to our hostel: Oberammergau. This was a converted farmhouse. This hostel was not your typical hostel. The boys were bunked down in the basement in “boxbeds”, which were basically two boxes on top of each other. No ladder. The girls were housed in the attic, and each one had a division of the slanted roof with a cot and a curtain. We were served a HUGE meal for dinner, of all typical Bavarian food. It was delicious! There was so, so, so much of it! I don’t think I have ever eaten so much.

Day 5 – Today we went to Munich. We went to city center and Marien Platz. We had a tour of the city center. Munich is huge! For dinner we went to a traditional German restaurant. The waitresses wore dirndels and there was lots of German music.

Day 6 – We stayed in Munich, and went to the Deutschesmuseum. This is mostly a museum of technology, so lots of planes, ships, and cars. We went to the English gardens, and saw quite a few random things. First, we saw two men surfing in the river. There is a wave generator in the river, so people can surf there. It was really odd to see two people surfing in a German river in the middle of a park in October. :) Next we saw a photoshoot. There was a model and kids were throwing leaves at her and there were photographers. After dinner, we went to the Bayern Munchen stadium. We didn’t go to a game, but the Allianz stadium was glowing bright blue.

Day 7 – Today we went to the historical site of Dachau concentration camp. It was an incredibly grey and cloudy day, which matched the mood of the morning perfectly. It was a good experience to be able to learn about the history of World War Two, but it was a very difficult experience to go there. There is a huge museum-like exhibit, which shows information about WWII. Later, we went to Rothenburg. That night, we had a night tour of the city, with a man who was dressed as a Nightwatchman from several hundred years ago. He was really funny and taught us a lot of history about the city.

Day 8 – Today was our longest bus ride. 6 hours to Dresden. We went on a night tour of the city. This was so pretty because the city center is lit so that all the buildings are illuminated.

Day 9 – We went on a tour of Dresden by day. This really is a beautiful city, and it has a river that runs straight through it. We went to Meissen porcelain factory, and we got to see how porcelain things are made. It is amazing how precise everything is. But you pay for it! Even a small cup costs more than my whole Deutschland tour! That night was our talent show. Megan, Santiago and I tried (and failed) to learn some magic tricks to present.

Day 10 – We went on a bus tour of Berlin. After this, we had free time, in which I bought lots of souvenirs. We then went to the remains of the Berlin wall. The wall is heavily grafittied and it is amazing how divided the city was. For dinner we went to Route 66 restaurant.

Day 11 – Today we had a walking tour of Berlin. It was freezing cold, raining, and windy. When we were given free time, we checked out Checkpoint Charlie, which is a historical point in reference to the Berlin wall, and then we went to the History Museum. It is so huge and I could’ve spent hours and hours there. Germany is such a historically rich country! That night we went to the disco, which was lots of fun :)

Day 12 – We went to the Schwerin castle. This is the first castle I have been to that still has the thrown available for viewing. This really was very pretty. Also, the walls had really pretty murals. There was a big garden surrounding the castle, and it was located on the water. We went to the Cathedral in Hamburg, and then for a night tour of the harbor. Also, the fire alarm went off in our hostel that night, so everyone dashed outside into the freezing cold in pajamas!

Day 13 – We walked down to the harbor and went on a boat tour. Hamburg’s harbor is huge, and I saw so many different types of boats. We went on a small tour of Hamburg, and then we went to visit the “Rickmer Rickmer’s” ship, which is very old and historically preserved into a museum. So we went on a tour of this ship.

Day 14 – Get up early, and head home :( Deutschland tour was absolutely amazing!

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