Berlin-Fulda-Munich Study Tour 2014, organised by doppelgaenger – travel, language, culture
It all started on a pleasant Friday night. We all met before the international terminal, checked in, took some photos and then headed in. We made it through customs with no troubles and boarded our flight. The first flight took 14 hours, with everyone watching movies and enjoying themselves as much as they could. There followed a 2 hour stopover in Doha and then the final 6 hours before we began our big adventure to Germany. We had reached Berlin happily and without problems and dove into our trip.
Our days in Berlin went by very quickly. Fortunately we experienced “den goldenen Sommer”, three consecutive days of gloriously sunny days of 26. We seemed to move through all the attractions fast. We visited “den Mauerpark, where we learnt about some of the history of the Berlin Wall, visited a former “Stasi-Gefängnis” and were given a glimpse into life in the former East Germany from 1961 to 1989. We stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate, one of Germany’s most visited tourist attractions. We visited the “Reichstag’ and were atop the “Fernsehturm” at dusk. It truly felt as though we saw Berlin in all its beauty. Back in Melbourne now, I realize that it was a massive highlight of the trip. I know I would like to go back and the consensus amongst the other 12 boys on the tour is that they too will go back one day.
From Berlin we took the train, roughly a four hour journey, to start our two week exchange/home stay with our partner school “Das Marianum” in Fulda. I confess to having been nervous as my host parents speak no English. I needn’t have worried. It turned out to be to my advantage, as my host mother, whose first language is Russian, was great. She sat down with me, three times a day, to practise German. I have come to realize that I understand more German now and find myself responding to my teacher’s comments in class without that “I’m not so sure what’ s going on here” tone of voice. I can only say thanks mum, thanks dad.
It was a challenging, yet most enjoyable two weeks of trying to comprehend all the German being thrown at us, at me and also two weeks of excursions and good times, of which there are so many. We visited Point Alpha and did a “Rhönwanderung”, a “Grenzwanderung”, which was followed up by a German style bbq meal. We travelled to Eisenach, where we went to the Bachhaus Museum and of course, went to the Wartburg. Our last night in Fulda saw us hike, well walk ,up to the top of the “Milseburg”, where we had “ein deftiges Brot”, delicious German breads with cheeses, cold meats and pates. We made our way back to the cars after dark, using lighted torches to light our way. That was cool and was definitely a magical note upon which to finish our homestay. The next morning, early, we said farewell to new friends. There were teary goodbyes and many hugs shared. Fulda had come to an end, but we had lots of memories to take home.
And so we headed for the final leg of our trip. Munich. All reviews of Munich that we had heard were tremendous and Munich did not disappoint. Munich is a beautiful city and had much to offer. We didn’t end up seeing as much of Munich as we did Berlin, for we were only there for two days, but what we did see was remarkable. From visiting ”das Oktoberfest” to going on guided tours of “Allianz Arena (home of Bayern Munich) and the” BMW Welt” (where they make BMW cars), everything was extraordinary.
Sadly though Munich marked the end of our trip and we had to say goodbye to an amazing country and beautiful place. We all had our souvenirs and plenty of memories.
Steven Payne Year 10, Trinity Grammar School September-October 2014