5.10.12

Schwarzwald

Last Friday, I boarded a train with three other inbounds and headed to the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) for a week with the Rotary exchange students from districts 1830 and 1930. After some awkward conversations while we tried to find our connecting trains, we arrived in the small town of Triberg with over 30 other exchange students. We came from 10 different countries and spoke 5 different languages (plus German) but we all understood each other. Exchange students are some of the nicest people I have ever met. We are all going through the same thing in very different ways, and can offer advice, understanding, laughter, German vocabulary, or any number of other things to each other in a way that no one else can. We stayed in a Jugendherberge (Youth Hostel) in Triberg for 6 days. The hostel was lovely--my favorite part was probably the Nutella dispenser, which I did not get a picture of because I was always eating during breakfast. Over the course of the week we hiked the second tallest mountain in the Black Forest, did a ropes course, attended a wrestling match, shot air rifles, walked around the city, saw Germany's highest waterfall, attended several museums, visited Rottweil, the oldest city in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, played golf, ate schnitzel, went swimming and watersliding, and much, much more. Throughout it all, we laughed, spoke a mixture of German and our native languages, took pictures, and connected with each other in a way only exchange students can understand. It was a remarkable time, and I am so glad I went. Scenes from the week stand out in my memory, like sunset our first night at the youth hostel...
...the line of exchange students, hiking to the top to see the view...

...standing at the top and looking out at the country that's becoming my home...
...cuckoo clocks and player pianos and golf clubs and museums and German houses and so much more...


...the history that is all over the place...

...the most glorious landscapes I have ever seen...

...Germany's best schnitzel and highest waterfall, respectively...
...more beautiful landscapes...
 ...climbing across rope bridges in the rain...
...wearing a Rotary blazer with everyone else...
...or just looking out at the end of the day, and realizing that this is your home now. 

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