We all had an early start to the day, having breakfast at 6:30 am. We walked to the train station and took the train to Füssen which lasted approximately two hours. We all explored the town, looking for souvenirs, before walking about half an hour to the castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein). You could see the view of the mountains and some snow. Due to having an hour before our tour began, we had Quarkbällchen (spherical fried donuts) and hot chocolate after being rejected from a cafe. The castle was unfinished due to the fact that King Ludwig died before it could be finished. The castle was very extravagant - the walls were covered in gold and jewels were everywhere. We took the train to Munich and walked around the city centre. A bet was made with a certain teacher and certain students that German boys couldn't be caught in a bag and this certain teacher was proven wrong by two lovely German boys who were willing. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant and most of us ordered auf Deutsch. The day ended with most students relaxing in the games room.
Sunday began for us at 8:00am with breakfast in the Youth Hostel, after which we set out to explore Berlin with the help of our guide Eva. Travelling across the former border, we began our tour of Berlin at the East Side Gallery, where the remains of the old Berlin Wall have become a canvas for a myriad of artworks from a variety of different artists. Admiring the art on the way, we followed the 1.3km stretch of the wall to Checkpoint Charlie. The former border crossing between the East and West now plays host to an elaborate museum which documents the rise and fall of the "Mauer". During the hour allocated for lunch, we discovered the cheapest and probably best lunch spot in Berlin, and I very nearly acquired a dog. Despite my sadness at the loss of my new dog, the group moved on to the "Typography des Terrors", a SS and Gestapo museum, followed by a visit to the DDR museum, which contained an exceedingly interactive display of Eastern Berliners' lives. Exhausted from a long day of walking and absorption of educational content, we then trooped back to the hotel for a few hours of relaxation, augmented by the complimentary free Wi-Fi. A quick dinner at the train station is followed by a visit to the Reichstag Building. Successfully passing through the building's security (which was a surprise to all), we were provided with audio guides to talk us through the history and geography of Berlin whilst we walked up the iconic Reichstag Dome. We ended our tour of Berlin at the top of the Reichstag Building, with a spectacular view of the capital, which was definitely a high point in our visit to Berlin.
Today we spent the day doing a little bit of sightseeing and having free time in Berlin. In the morning we went to the Reichstag building and Brandenburg Gate, taking a couple of photos.
We continued on through the city, passing the Television tower, numerous christmas markets and a carnival-like event. We also saw a number of universities and museums as well as a massive cathedral situated along a river.
Soon after, we spent three hours at a shoping centre called Alexa near Alexanderplatz. But the real highlight was shopping around in die Hackesche Hoffe, which is a number of courtyards seperated by little tunnels to create a shopping area.
For dinner, we went to an Italian restaurant and ordered 15 pizzas, which we demolished soon after. Overall, it was a great day for exploring Berlin. ☺
Today started off as an incredibly sad day. We had to leave Denzlingen and our perfectly perfect host families who we'd grown extremely close to. As we got into the train everyone was very emotional however as the ride went on people started laughing and having fun. The hardest part was not knowing when, or even if we were going to ever see our exchange partners again. We finally arrived in Berlin after an alright train ride. We met our tour guide at the train station and she showed us to our youth hostel before taking us on an evening tour of Berlin. It was very interesting and we learnt a lot about a few different monuments in Berlin and their imortance to Germany's history and culture. After the tour we split up and ate dinner. Overall it was a very fun and interesting day despite the long train ride.
Today we were so (un)lucky with the weather that we had to make different plans. No snow and sunshine also meant no tabogganing. So, the Australian students and their exchange partners caught the train and went for a big walk around the beautiful lake "Schluchsee" instead. This was the perfect place to take some photos. It really was a breathtaking view.
Today was Nikolaus Tag! For anyone who doesn't know what this is, it occurs annually on the 6th of December. Kids all around Germany and other places in Europe, put a boot by the door at night and when they wake up in the morning they find it full of gifts from Saint Nikolaus. The tradition is to fill the boots with chocolate, walnuts and mandarins but I think it's a bit more varied nowadays. So in the midst of my exchange partner and I hurriedly getting ready in the morning, finding a boot filled with chocolate, and in my case a German book, was cool. I think it's a really cute tradition.
The rest of today we spent together with our exchange partners, going to all of their classes. Since everyone's timetables are different, many of us finish school at different times. Today Louisa's last class finished at 5:15pm. It feels weird finishing school in the dark when you feel like you should already be in bed. All in all, today was a very chilled but good day!
On the weekend my host family took me to Italy and Switzerland. I spent a day in each country and it was amazing. Whilst in Italy, I walked the streets of Milan and took lots of photos of the architecture. Dinner was pizza and lasagne followed by the biggest amount of Gelato that could fit on a cone. So yum!
We left on the Sunday and drove to the Swiss Alps. We caught a train up to Zermatt and spent about 2 hours hiking the lower alps. The views were amazing! It was such an amazing weekend and I got to see snow for the second time ever 😊
After waking up at normal time, we rode to Tim's house, then to school. For the first two classes all the Year 10's had an exam so we got free time. We played basketball for a while and then walked to the coffee shop wit Mr Lilly. After getting a hot chocolate we walked back to school. We then met everyone and walked to the trainstation. When we hopped off the train it was snowing! After taking photos, we hopped on a bus. We got to Europapark. Sadly, all the main attractions were closed so not many rids were open. Not letting that stop us, we went on all the available rides. For lunch I had a burger and chips. After lunch we went on more rides and then went ice-skating. I was like a trainwreck on ice! I couldn't skate without falling! After ice-skating we explored the markets at Europapark and then met at the meeting point at 4:30. We then made our way home. After arriving home at around 6:00, we had dinner at 7:00. For dinner we had lamb goulash. At 10:30 I went to bed.
Although Europapark wasn't fully working, the park was still beautiful. My highlight of the day was getting stuck on a ride for 10 minutes due to 2 people who got stuck in their seats. It was a great day!