Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Germany: Day 5

 After taking an early morning train to Munich and enjoying the sites, we arrived in our super modern Hotel 1. Complete with TV fish tank, it was just awesome.
 This is the view out my window.
 And the super modern bathroom, which I loved.
 We went do a delicious Brazilian pizza restaurant and enjoyed a quick meal before meeting up with the group.
 So delicious.
 Then, a group of us, decided to deviate from the schedule. Jeff had studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria as an undergrad. He wanted to relive the experience and a few of us wanted another stamp in our passport. Salzburg here we come!
 We skipped out on dinner and a tour and boarded a train to Austria. We lucked out, in that we already each had day passes for the train. We didn't have to pay a cent which saved us tons of Euros.
 The Alps. Beautiful.
 Upon arriving in Salzburg, we ran into these charms. They were wearing the traditional clothing, the Dirndl.
 Austria had a special place in my heart. It was freezing cold, but I loved every second of it. My dad raised us on Sound of Music. Every year, on Christmas Eve, we watch it. As a teenager, I HATED it. But now, Christmas wouldn't be the same without it. I took a few pictures with some things that looked familiar from the Sound of Music set. Loved it. It was beautiful. PS--they run around these statue things when they are singing the "Doe, a deer, a female deer" around the time when they get the clothes made of drapes. FYI :)
 Jeff and Ryan acting out this probably-somewhat-important-statue behind me
 Next time I go here, I'll be in love and leave a lock. Or maybe I'll go to one of the other 200 bridges in Europe and leave a lock. Mark my words.
 Super cute shopping center. Globalization, here we are!

 Awesome rainbow. We happened to get stuck in a freak rain storm. It left this gem behind.
 Don't worry, we climbed this cliff and ate supper up there at...
 ...this beirgarten. Their beer smelled nasty but the food was DELISH. Chicken cordon bleu and fries. At this point, I was basically loving anything that didn't come from a pig.
 Stormy night sky.
Sarah, Karen, and Elaine. After this, we stocked up on chocolate (CERTAINLY THE BEST I'VE EVER HAD. Note to self: Milka, smores flavor. Sigh. I ate 2 giant bars before coming home. I mean GIANT bars. Like the size they award to a 3rd grade class for selling the most wrapping paper in a fund raiser. It was huge and I ate it alone.).

Germany: Day 4

 On our second day in Nordlingen we walked to a near by school. It had been previously arranged for us to sit in on a class and get a tour of campus.
 On our walk to campus, we walked by these cute little street vendors. It is hard to believe that this is their every day job. They were older, so their English wasn't great (understandably so), but it was fun to attempt to speak to them quickly (Stephan was calling at us to keep up).
 Here is a picture of one of the homes that hadn't been remodeled (recently anyway). This is how the walled-in city may have looked in medieval times.
 This is a project that the students made to understand what life was like in the "slums."
 Inside the Bavarian schools' common area.
 Turns out these German kids look just like our kids. Well, the less diverse kids...
 Just working. Don't worry, they were learning about something called Americanization. This is pretty much the idea that the media influences political races. Interesting what they named after us...
 This note was passed around during the teachers lecture. It explained that the students were not notified beforehand that the lesson would be given in English. They were pretty incredible!!!
 The lesson was kind of refreshing. It was back to the basics. No technology, yet infused with lots of modern political examples. I was always blown away to see how much ALL GERMANS knew about the Obama/Romney political race. I didn't meet a single German who favored Romney. Sad.
 Students are students.
 This shows the classes that the different tracks must take. I'm seriously amazed at how good they are at so many different languages.

 Sarah and I left the group (foreshadowing) to find chocolate and fruit. We found these berries. I'm still not sure what they were but they were sour.
 We found this adorable little homemade pottery shop. I bought a keepsake dish there.
 This house had some significance. I'm sure it was meaningful. However, all I can remember now is that it took millions to renovate... hmmm... where are my notes?
 Ok. So, later on, we went on a tour of Nordlingen. We had a tour guide and Stephan and Valim and everything. Sarah and I were bored to tears. Naturally, we asked Stephan if we could go get chocolate. He gave us permission and pointed us in the right direction. I had been there earlier that day (no surprise), so we thought we could run there quickly before the tour moved on. Wrong. They left. We couldn't find where we got started. We were lost. We didn't know where else the tour was supposed to go, but we did know that we were to climb a church tower at some point. Up we went. And up. And up. And up.
 We hauled butt. When we got to the almost-top, a man asked for money to pass. We explained that we were separated from our group but we thought they were at the group. He told us they weren't. Then, he let us go anyway, without charging us.
 We got to the top and found this beautiful view. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY was shot here!!! Amazing! IT was beautiful. We were peering down the streets, looking for them from above. No luck.
 Eventually, we ran down the stairs because we thought we saw them on the wall of the city.
 We went as quickly as we could to the city wall. Walked about 1/4 of the way around it and then...
 we spotted them. This picture is zoomed in all the way. We flagged them down. They waved. Then they left. Apparently, they thought they were waving at 2 little kids far off... nope. It was us. We ran around the wall (taking a few pictures, naturally), and ran around the city until, eventually, we found them. Whew. Let's be honest. They didn't even miss us. Half of them didn't know we were gone, others thought we did it on purpose, and good ol' Stephan didn't worry because he thought we were happily enjoying our chocolate. Whew. What a day.
 Here are some adorable pictures from the wall. They have cute little gardens.

 That evening, we ate at another authentic German restaurant. Too. Much. Pork.
This was our last night with Stephan and Valim so Jeff and I were assigned to give them our gifts. Man I loved them. They were so incredibly good to us. That night, after we went our for drinks/dessert (wayyyyy to much dessert), we enjoyed our last night in Nordlingen. The next morning, we took a train to Munich!

Germany: Day 3

 On our third day in Germany, we visited Bosh. The boys in charge of taking us around the shop gave a presentation on education and apprenticeships in Germany and then had this little creation station set up for us in the factory. 
 Basically, we used Bosh power tools to create little smiley things. Cute, I know. Personally, I don't think that the German government is being that savvy paying for thousands of kids to complete apprenticeships at private corporations for 2 years before high school graduation...but that's just me. 
 Our master apprenticeship teachers who taught us purely in English (that really is amazing). 
 Sarah presenting a gift to the CEO of the Bosh Foundation after an extremely fancy lunch at the headquarters in Stuttgart. 
 An outlook over the city.
 TOP 5 Group photo at Bosh
 Our trusty (is that a word?) tour guides, Stephan and Valim. Bless their hearts. Stephan was a hoot. Valim was great too, I just couldn't understand him most of the time. 
 Sarah and I attempting to be unruly-haired-Peter 
 The guys
 The Bosh Mansion
 Somehow, the US South made it here?!? Whatttttt?
 Stephan being hilarious showing us to our "hotel." He made us all wheel our luggage to this building before walking us around a wall of a city probably 1/2 of a mile to our real hotel. He's a hoot. 
 My luggage never fails to attract attention! Thanks! 
 Eating at my FAVORITE restaurant of the entire trip. Some Italian place in Norlingden. I just loved it. Sigh. MUST. STOP.EATING. 
 Frank, Ryan, Jeff, and Diane 
 When I seriously thought I was going to explode, Stephan insisted that I had to try his favorite pasta. I told him I couldn't. He insisted. Eventually, they delivered us all this "pasta." I always felt like Stephan took extra care of me. Since I didn't drink, he would always point out the chocolate shops and order me extra dessert. Sigh. I seriously thought I would pop. Ok, back to the pasta...
This little city is walled in. The houses are either original or renovated according to how they were in the middle ages. It really was super cute. 

Here is what Wikipedia thinks about this cute little place:
Nördlingen is a town in the Donau-Ries district, in BavariaGermany, with a population approximately 19,000. It was first mentioned in recorded history in 898 and in 1998 the town celebrated its 1100th Anniversary year . The town was also the place of two battles during the Thirty Years' War,a war which took place between 1618-1648. Today it is one of only three towns in Germany that still has a completely established city wall, the other two being Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Dinkelsbühl.