Three and half hours later, we were gliding through the snow-glazed Allgaü mountains. Now we were eight exchange students; two more from the US and one from Canada had joined our party.
Arriving at the end of the train track in Füssen, we immediately met the rest of our party. With five Rotex leaders and 25 students, we spoke six different languages and came from ten different countries. It felt like coming home. The bond that forms between exchange students is indescribable; from the time we met until the time we left each other, the days were full of laughter, food, songs, photos, chatter and, of course, marvelous views and experiences.
We lugged our suitcases to the youth hostel, creating a heap of belongings that resembled a refugee camp. Then it was back into the chilly mountain air for food and a brisk walk. We trudged up the hillside, not realizing that we were on our way to a deep channel of teal water, cutting through dusky stone to fall in foamy stripes back into the gorge. It grew dark, and we remained on the bridge, looking down into the water and up at the mountains.
After a brief interlude of snowman-making and dinner-eating, we ventured out into the dark, armed with torches. Our pleasant nighttime walk culminated, naturally, in a snowball fight.
Afterward, we had another snowball fight.
We woke Sunday filled with anticipation: today was the day we had been waiting for. The frozen morning mist was just lifting as we walked through the forest.
A few minutes later, our destination loomed up out of the mist: Schloss Neuschwanstein.
We walked up yet another hill to reach the Marienbrucke, which hosted the most magnificent view of the Schloss. Here we held our flags out over the bridge and looked out at the magnificent landscape. Es war für mich ein Traum, und ein Märchen.
Lovely pictures by the talented Ben from Ohio, USA and Daniel from Madrid, Spain. Vielen Dank!