Day 10: Our Last Day in Berlin (By Zara J.)

To start our final day in Germany, we took an audio tour of the Reichstag parliament building. With a winding ramp all the way up to the dome, the audio tour explained all of the important buildings in Berlin and the specifics about the building and its modern architecture as we ascended and descended the ramp. The architecture was very well thought out, as the structure in the middle served as a way to conserve the amount of energy used. The glass windows making up most of the building symbolized an open, honest relationship between the government and the people. Next, we went to the Topography of Terror museum, which gave us more information about Germany’s role in World War II, how it came to be, and its consequences. Before coming to Germany, I was interested in finding out how they would present their history, especially in World War II. This museum displayed the information effectively, and explained the details of the Nazi Party and the error in their beliefs and actions. This museum also gave weight to and exhibited specific stories about political prisoners who were persecuted.

Our next stop was a “hipster” neighborhood known to house many Turkish immigrants. Just walking down the street the diversity of the city was evident in the people, food, and stores. For lunch everyone enjoyed a popular Turkish dish called “döner kebab.” After lunch, we went into one of the bigger shopping malls in the city and went to a rooftop Biergarten, where some students enjoyed alcohol-free drinks. The quirky decorations and views allowed for some great photos. My favorite part of the day was the last part, the Syrian cooking class. Khaled, the instructor, taught us how to make various Syrian dishes such as Ouzi and Knafeh. The mission of this organization, Über den Tellerrand, is mainly to facilitate the integration of the Syrian culture into Germany through community projects, cookbook sales, workshops, etc. My personal favorite was the Knafeh which I didn’t think I would like since it was mainly just cheese and flakey pastry, but it was actually very good. The amazing dinner was a great finish to our trip in Germany.

(Written by Zara J.)

Klunkerkranich Biergarten, Neukölln, Berlin

Über den Tellerrand, Syrian Cooking Class, Berlin

Über den Tellerrand, Syrian Cooking Class, Berlin

Über den Tellerrand, Syrian Cooking Class, Berlin

Day 9: Our Second Day in Berlin (By Niles L. & Hardy M.)

Today, I woke up at 7:50 to go downstairs by 8:15 to eat breakfast with the rest of the students. We had a nice breakfast in the hotel while we waited for our tour guide to arrive. Sebastian, our tour guide, showed us some of the important sites of Berlin. We saw some really cool sites like the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Museum Island, and where Hitler died. The tour was really cool even if it made us walk for 3 hours. Museum Island was just what it sounded like – it was an island in the middle of the city that held 5 museums and each one had a different purpose. Some of them covered Ancient Greece and Rome, while others covered Ancient Egypt. Checkpoint Charlie was cool too, even thought it was mainly a tourist trap because the original was destroyed after the Berlin Wall came down. The Brandenburg Gate was spectacular and we also saw a lot of old cathedrals. Some of them represented peace and others represented cultural tolerance. Overall it was a pretty good tour and we learned a lot about Germany’s and Berlin’s history.

(Written by Niles L.)

After a long morning of walking and strong rain we stopped for a delicious traditional German lunch. We ate curry wurst. The curry wurst was delicious, and arguably my favorite part of the day. The sauce was very different compared to anything I had ever had before. I’m usually not a big fan of potatoes, but I just had to eat them at the curry wurst restaurant because they were so good. After our delicious lunch we were left with one hour of free time. With this time we decided to stop for some ice cream and explore the city a little bit more. By exploring on our own I felt like we were able to experience the city a lot better and understand it from our own perspective rather than the perspective of a tour guide or somebody else. I found it easier to immerse myself into the culture and learn more about it. After exploring the city a little bit more we decided to stop at the German Democratic Republic Museum for an intricate guided tour displaying what life was like for people in the GDR. We got to see examples of newscasts, the cars that were used, and propaganda of the time. This created a clear picture of what life was like at the time and I really liked how the museum was modeled. It was modeled specifically after the types of living conditions at the time. This really helped my understanding and gave me a visual picture of what I was learning. After this, we hopped on the train and headed to the movie theater at Sony Center. We watched a movie about an a young man from India who was living in Ireland. This movie was really interesting to me because it reminded me of our exchange program. We all felt uncomfortable at first, and the same could be said for the main character of the movie. Although we were very different than that main character, I felt a connection. After our movie, we stoped for a nice dinner. During this dinner, we all reflected on the highlights of our busy day. We all had a lot of fun and enjoyed each other’s company and shared many laughs. Many of us even tried kangaroo meat for the first time. We than took the subway to our hotel so we could get some rest for another strenuous day tomorrow. All and all another great day!

(Written by Hardy M.)

Walking Tour of Berlin

“Checkpoint Charlie,” Berlin

Bandy’s Currywurst, Berlin

Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin

Berlin Update

We’ve had two more days of sightseeing and culture in Berlin. Currently, Hugh and Niles are working on a blog about Day 9, our second day in Berlin. On the plane ride home, Zara will write a blog about Day 10, our third and final day in Berlin. Both blogs will be published upon our return to the States. In the meantime, below is a quick synopsis of some sites we’ve visited and activities we’ve enjoyed during our stay in Berlin.

Our second day in Berlin began with a three-hour walking tour of the city. Our tour guide, Sebastian, showed us all of the major highlights (Checkpoint Charlie, remnants of the Berlin Wall, the Holocaust Memorial, the Brandenburg Gate, etc.) and some lesser-known, but equally exciting, sites (Museum Island, Humboldt University, a memorial dedicated to the 1953 uprising in East Germany, etc.). We stopped for a rainy lunch at Bandy’s Currywurst before heading to our scheduled tour of the DDR Museum. Before the trip, we had discussed life in the GDR and watched Goodbye, Lenin in preparation for this tour. The museum did not disappoint. The simulation “drive” in an East German trabant car was certainly a highlight for most students. To escape the rain, we next watched a movie (in English with German subtitles) in the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz. The film focused on cultural exchanges between India and Ireland and touched on many of the themes of this trip. Afterwards, we ate dinner at an Australian restaurant, where many kids tasted kangaroo for the first time. I’d say most enjoyed it!

We started our final day in Berlin with a tour of the Reichstag parliamentary building. Students remarked on the very modern interior, which was designed to showcase the transparency between the government and the people. After our audio tour, we headed to the Topography of Terror museum to learn more about the rise and consequences of Nazi terror. The museum helped everyone place the Holocaust Memorial we saw yesterday into context. We then headed to a newly gentrified, “hip” section of Berlin called Neukölln. The neighborhood is known for its large immigrant population. There were many Turkish restaurants and bakeries. We stopped at Imren Grill for lunch to try the famous “döner kebab,” which is a Turkish-German specialty. We then headed to a playful rooftop biergarten (don’t worry, no alcohol was consumed!). Students enjoyed taking photos of the beautiful views and exotic decorations. Afterwards, we had some time to shop and explore the neighborhood in small groups. Next up was our cooking class taught by Syrian refugees. Together, we whipped up some delicious hummus tabboulé laban, ouzi, and kneffeh. We learned how this cooking company, Über den Tellerand, is helping refugees get on their feet in Berlin, greater Germany, and all around Western Europe. We were all inspired!

(Written by Ms. Decatur)

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

DDR Museum, Berlin

Interior of the Reichstag Dome, Berlin

Klunkerkranich Biergarten, Neukölln, Berlin

Über den Tellerrand, Syrian Cooking Class, Berlin

Day 6: Sightseeing & Shopping in Frankfurt, Oh My! (Ariel & Callie)

This morning we met at the Hanau Central Train Station to take the train to Frankfurt. When we got off the train at the Frankfurt Central Station we split into groups of three. Teodora, Oliva, and Nicki were in one group. Hardy, Hugh, and Niles were in another. Lastly, Zara, Callie, and I formed a group. However, that was not the end to our train-riding adventure. We had to take a tram for a few minutes before we got off and began to walk along the river Main. We took a group picture along the river with the the tall buildings of Frankfurt as a backdrop. We crossed the Eiserner Steg bridge. It had many clusters of love locks and names written in pen on the railing. Callie was surprised that people had written the names of the members of her favorite band on the bridge. Overall we seemed to like the bridge and taking nice pictures on it. We took another group picture there too.

We continued walking to the Römer. At this point Mr. Niehues stopped leading the group and wanted each group of three to lead the big group to one place. We needed to go to the Kleinmarkthalle, a market which was number 10 on the map. Mr. Niehues asked us to find it on the map first. He then chose Zara, Callie, and I to lead the group to the market. We had to go straight past Berliner Street and then make a right. Easy, right? Well that’s what we thought until we were walking for ten minutes and still hadn’t seen the building. It turns out that we had walked way too far and walked past the actual building so we had to make a turn and go back until we found the Kleinmarkthalle. When we finally got there, each group was given euros to buy breakfast. The market was quite big. It was packed with booths selling everything from meats to dried fruits. Zara, Callie, and I bought pastries and raspberries. We sat on the upper level of the market to eat.

After breakfast, we headed to the Main Tower. The building has 54 floors and two viewing decks. We all rode the tightly packed elevator to the 54th floor and climbed the stairs up to the second viewing deck. The view from the Main Tower was amazing. We could see the airport, train station, and even the skate park from Day 3. On the top of the tower we all took yet another group picture as well as many individual ones. We left the Main Tower and headed towards the Römer. Sadly, the Imperial Hall was closed today and we could not go inside to see the many portraits in the hall. We did, however, go inside the Paulskirche, the church where the German Parliament first met during the Revolution of 1848. We watched a video about the history of the church in the museum portion on the lower level and then sat on the upper level assembly room while we waited for everyone to finish watching the video. After, we went to a restaurant right across from the Römer and had lunch.

(Written by Ariel L.)

After lunch we headed to an Eis Cafe for delicious gelato! We had a combination of amazing dishes, including the very interesting ‘Spaghetti Eis’! From there we walked to the Zeil, Frankfurt’s famous street full of shops. We split into groups for two hours of shopping, which I spent with Ariel and Zara. We first went into a stationary store, then watched a legendary street performer do a seemingly impossibly low limbo under a flaming stick! We walked on, visiting Primark and then entered ‘My Zeil,’ a gigantic mall situated in the middle of the Zeil. With over five floors to choose from, we spent forever browsing the macarons that Zara just had to have, Adidas sweatshirts that tempted Ariel, overpriced perfumes I simply needed to smell, and the Crocs we couldn’t leave without admiring. When we were finished there, we headed to Karstadt, another large department store on the Zeil where Ariel and Zara spent a long time debating over which was the best chocolate to purchase, before venturing upstairs to see the rest of the store. It was only as we were leaving that we found some gorgeous animal print sheet masks in the skin care aisle that called to us. Since there were only two, it was a mad dash in the last fifteen minutes to go to Primark again and find more there, but we succeeded! It’s sure to say our nights in Berlin will be crazy ones with our cat, butterfly, galaxy and narwhal print sheet masks in tow.

Around 4 o’ clock, feet aching, we took the train back to Hanau Hauptbahnhof, where we all met up with our German buddies. Ariel, Niles, and Hugh accompanied me and Paula to a nearby castle in Hanau Park, Wilhemsbad. After that we parted ways and I went on to another nearby park with my host mom and Paula to have a lovely picnic dinner by the Main river. We ate a spread of bread, cheese, sausage, cherries, veggies, and melon all while keeping a watchful eye on the curious duck who kept wandering a little too close to our blanket. We ended the day with a quick stop to Philippsruhe for me to take a picture on my outdated Polaroid Spectra AF, and then went home.

(Written by Callie M.)

Eiserner Steg (Iron Bridge), Frankfurt

Top of the Main Tower, Frankfurt

Top of the Main Tower, Frankfurt

Callie’s Weekend

Das Wochende!

Like Rebecca Black’s ever-so-popular song ‘Friday’ suggested, “I don’t want this weekend to end!” Two days of exciting adventures, what more could you ask for?

Beginning early on Saturday morning, I ventured to Heidelberg with my host family (after a breakfast of oats, apples, and peaches with milk along with German pastries). Only a 90 minute drive (in which I fell asleep) and we were there! We had a family friend who spoke amazing English as our tour guide and met up with Zara, Hugh, and Hardy, as well as their host families and buddies. First, we took the Heidelberg tram over a bridge to get our first glimpses of the beautiful town before arriving at the beginning of Heidelberg’s Altstadt. Blended in with the campus of Heidelberg University, we walked along the mile long street and gazed into shops and stores, marveling at the picture perfect houses. We stopped to take pictures of Heidelberg Bridge as well. Eventually we reached the train station to go up the mountain to reach the famous ‘Heidelberg Schloss’, or Heidelberg Castle. When we got there, the views took our breath away. Although rebuilt and still being renovated, the castle was beautiful! And perhaps even more stunning were the sights from the top of the castle down onto the town. It’s modest to say we spent a while here taking pictures! From there we explored more of the castle, including the largest wine barrel in the world and the German apotheke museum. We walked around the grounds and then descended the 400 steps back to Heidelberg itself after about an hour and a half for lunch. We dined in a ‘traditional’ German restaurant and all of the kids including myself ordered Schnitzel (the classic, not daring the ever appealing ‘Schnitzel mit Nutella’). After that, we returned home again. That night my buddy Paula had ‘Prom’ at the same dance school we visited, and while she had invited me to come along, I possessed neither the beautiful gown and high heels she wore nor the dancing prowess she possessed. So instead I went over to Leonie and Ariel’s where we had dinner and talked for a long time with Leonie’s parents. For dinner we had many different types of Bratwurst, fresh bread, salad, and seasoned french fries – a barbecue! And to finish the night, ice cream.

Sunday morning I slept blissfully late as Paula had horse-back riding lessons and I cautioned her of my less than subpar horse riding skills. So it was at 12:30 I was awakened, just in time for lunch! Again we had barbecue, consisting of different types of Bratwurst, bread, salad, and a ‘Hesse’ specialty: Handkäse mit Musik – cheese rounds and onions. Shortly after that we drove to Leonie’s and then to Adventure Mini Golf, which Paula and I played with Ariel and Zara, as well as their buddies. With a nice score of 80 after 18 holes, I came in third. From there we drove to the house of a German student who lived close to where we would watch the game. We walked to a local cafe to see the match and had dinner annd snacks there with many other students and the teachers as well. Afterwards we drove home but not before ice cream!

(Written by Callie M.)

Hugh’s Weekend

Ms. Decatur’s Weekend

I am staying with one of the English teachers at our partner school, Mr. Nimbler.  On Saturday, we explored the vibrant medieval city of Nürnberg (or Nuremberg, as we say in America), which is located two hours from Hanau. Our first stop was the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände, or the documentation center for the National Socialist (Nazi) Party rallying grounds. We learned about the conditions that led to the rise of National Socialism and Adolf Hitler in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the consequences of Nazi Germany. The museum is located within the unfinished and formidable remains of the Congress Hall of the former rallies. The architecture of the Congress Hall is similar to that of the Colosseum in Rome. I learned that the National Socialists were big fans of monumental, classical architecture, using it as another intimidation tool. After touring the exhibits, we climbed the steps of the stadium (located behind the museum) and looked out onto the vast field where hundreds of thousands of people once stood to hear Hitler’s speeches. Standing on the balcony where Hitler once stood, looking out onto the vast field, I could imagine what it must have been like to be there in 1934. Although it was certainly eerie to stand in Hitler’s footsteps, I now have a better understanding of why and how many of the German people got swept up in Nazi-branded fascism. Many of the World History 10 teachers, including myself, show clips from Leni Riefenstahl’s famous propaganda film, Triumph of the Will, to introduce our unit on totalitarian regimes. The film captured the 1934 party rally in Nuremberg, including footage of the Congress Hall  and stadium that I saw today. I look forward to implementing some of what I learned into our World History 10 curriculum.

Afterwards, we hopped on a quick bus ride to the medieval city center of Nuremberg. We toured a fortified imperial castle of the Holy Roman Empire. On our way to the top of the tower, we passed through exhibits on the history of German kings and admired suits of armor and medieval weapons. At the top, we took in breathtaking views of the city. I hope to use some of the photos I took in my World History 9 lessons on Medieval Europe and the Renaissance.  After our tour, we ate a traditional German lunch, including Nuremberg’s famous sausages, which are much smaller than the sausages we had in Frankfurt on Friday. We walked around the old center and popped into some impressive cathedrals filled with more medieval and Renaissance art. The trip to Nuremberg concluded with some delicious German-Italian gelato.

On Saturday evening, we attended the Abiturball, which is a graduation celebration. The event was lively. Students, teachers, parents, and siblings danced the night away to a live band made up of former students. In between songs, advisory groups went on stage to thank their advisors. Many groups wrote poems or included funny videos and pictures about their advisories. A few of the male teachers, including Mr. Nimbler, performed a choreographed dance to the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and Britney Spears. It was a hit!

After a late evening the night before, we spent the morning relaxing and making both a homemade German breakfast and lunch (croissants, brezels, boiled eggs, potato noodles, and sauerkraut). After lunch, we attended a Volksfest in Aschaffenburg, which is a seasonal fair with carnival rides, games, and treats. I went on two rides and ate some delicious Bavarian gingerbread. Next, we drove to Hanau-Steinheim to watch Germany take on Mexico in a traditional Biergarten setting. We met up with most of the Pingry students and their exchange partners (all but Nicki and her partner Livia), as well as Mr. Niehues and Mr. Schumacher. Everyone was decked out in the colors of the German flag. Even though Germany lost, we all had a great time!

(Written by Ms. Decatur)

Documentation Center, Nürnberg

Documentation Center, Nürnberg

View from Nürnberg Castle

Volksfest in Aschaffenburg

Zara’s Weekend

After a delicious meal of schnitzel, a classic German dish, we kicked off the weekend with a fun late night walk in the Hof und Gassenfest, a street fair in Brunchköbel. On the way to the street fair, I enjoyed a pleasant conversation about American politics with the family, as we discussed how the man who coined the phrase “You’re fired!” on a TV show was now living in the White House. I could sense that everyone was hesitant to discuss this with an American, as her mother later told me, but I welcomed the discussion and was eager to voice my opinions and hear how this was talked about internationally. We enjoyed reminiscing on some of Trump’s infamous tweets and also talked about the American voting system of electoral college and popular vote. We maintained a good balance of humor and maturity in the conversation, and I was grateful to take part in it. To end the night, Hans, Charlotte’s brother, introduced us to an…interesting… show called “Rick and Morty.” I tried to find the words to somehow describe this show, but “Rick and Morty” is  something you need to experience for yourself as describing it is an impossible feat. It will definitely be one of the highlights to my trip.

The next morning we had a long road trip to Heidelberg, but it was worth it. Heidelberg was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It was like walking through one of the Mac screensaver photos, no exaggeration. The minute I stepped onto the small cobblestone street I felt like a world traveler (even though this is my first time in Europe). We had the pleasure of a local tour guide who let us in on the secrets, and showed us not only the beautiful tourist places but the sketchy pubs on the street adjacent to the main one. The brilliant castle at the top of the hill, the charming cobblestone streets, and gorgeous greenery at every corner just takes your breath away. We walked for about a mile to get to a bridge crossing over the Neckar river, and then proceeded to go to the castle. With breathtaking views and Instagram-ready backdrops at every corner of the castle, Callie and I went full-on tourist with our cameras clicking every second.

I left early with Charlotte because we needed to get ready to go to the Abitur ceremony for Hans’s graduation. In Germany, rather than having graduation and prom as separate events, it all happens in one night and the family and friends of the senior join them for the dancing part of the event, unlike prom which is only for seniors. Although the hours of listening to a completely different language unaware of what exactly was going was a bit difficult to get through, I can now say I attended a high school graduation ceremony in Germany. Unlike America, there are no hats and gowns, but rather attire similar to our prom. The girls were wearing long gowns and the boys wore suits. With speeches from the headmaster and teachers, a comedic speech from the students, and the presentation of your high school degree, the first part of the evening came to an end. Next, was the student-organized Abiball. Walking in, I saw multiple teens (16+) sipping glasses of champagne next to parents and friends which was shocking at first, but then I realized that this in fact was the norm. After dinner was served and a yummy chocolate mousse for dessert, the program began. The seniors formed their own band and performed a variety of songs, like “Billionaire.”  Each senior is part of a group of students who take the same subject, and each of these groups presented their teachers with a gift. Hans, who is part of the physics group, gifted the teacher with a scrapbook of puns using the teacher’s name “Bahr,” as this is a common root for many German words. Later, the professional band came on and the party started to resemble an American prom. Parents, siblings, and seniors alike were singing and dancing to Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” (I am using the clean title, but the song performed was definitely not the clean version). Lastly, the night ended with incredible performance from teachers, including Mr. Nimbler, and the high school senior boys. The teachers danced to “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys, “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls, and “Hit Me Baby One More Time’ by Britney Spears. The boys danced to various high school musical songs, one famous German song, and the wii music. Note that all of this happened over the course of the night until 1:00 AM. I loved every minute from the beauties of Heidelberg to the exceptional dance moves at Abiball. It was a night to remember.

With a late breakfast at 11:30, Sunday was a relaxing day to top off the weekend. I enjoyed a round of mini golf with Charlotte, Callie,´Paula, and Ariel (and found out that Callie is not the best at mini golf). We went to a public viewing of a soccer match of Germany vs. Mexico. The atmosphere at the conclusion of the game was depressing to say the least. Germany lost 🙁

(Written by Zara J.)

Ariel’s Weekend

Friday night, after the planned group activities of the day, I went back to my host family’s house in Langenselbold. That night there was a town festival in the older part of town which was only a few minutes away from the house. Leonie and I went to the festival. There was a small stage with a band and many tables full of people. The band was singing many American songs such as the “YMCA” and “Stand By Me.” Lining the street, there were food stands and some games. Though there were a few children there, most of the festival attendees were adults. We decided to leave after half an hour. Leonie’s dad drove us to the supermarket so I could buy candy. The entire store was full of German flags. There were flags hanging on the ceiling over every aisle. There were flags hanging on the shelves themselves and small ones taped onto the cash register. Leonie looked just as shocked and told me that it doesn’t always look like this and that the store was decorated for the World Cup. We made our way to the candy aisle and headed straight for the chocolate. We chose three pretty large Milka bars. Afterwards we moved to the gummy section, skipping over the licorice because both of us think that it’s gross. Most of the gummy section was Haribo, but there was also another brand that I’d never heard of called Katjies. We bought 3 bags of Haribo and one bag of Katjies. After the trip to the supermarket we went home and went to bed.

Saturday morning we left the house around 10 to go to Rüdesheim, a town on the Rhein river. The whole town was beautiful. It was located right next to the river and surrounded by vineyards. The streets were mostly cobblestone and used by pedestrians. While we stood in line for the cable car I noticed that most of the pedestrians were actually tourists. The cable car seated two people and took us over the vineyards to the top of a hill. Leonie and I shared a car while her parents took the one after us. The view from the cable car was absolutely amazing. You could see Rüdesheim getting smaller behind us, other towns scattered along the river, and the seemingly endless fields of grape vines. One we got off the cable car we walked past the Niederwalddenkmal, a Germania monument overlooking the valley. We continued walking along the trails in the forest until we reached another cable car area. We had a picnic on the grass in front of an enclosure with deer. People would buy deer food from the vending machine and feed the deer that seemed to be quite friendly and not afraid of people. We then took the cable car down. This one also seated two people but was more like a ski lift than a cable car. After we got off the cable car, we took a boat back to Rüdesheim. On the boat I was really surprised that I could see at least three castles just along the river. We made it back to Rüdesheim and walked along the town until we got to Drosselgasse, a famous narrow, pedestrian-only alley. The alley was packed with people and had many cafes. We had ice cream right outside of the alley and then went back home. Later that night, Callie came over because Paula had her prom night for her dance school. We had dinner together and talked with Leonie until she had to leave.

On Sunday I woke up at 10 after sleeping through 3 alarms set for 9, but everything was okay because we hadn’t planned to leave the house until about 11. We visited Ronneburg, a castle that was only about 10 minutes away from home. I was amazed that there was literally a castle ten minutes away. We got to the castle and walked around the entire thing.The first room that we went into had the well. When you looked down into it when it was lit up the water at the bottom literally looked like a speck of grey. We filled a bucket with water and then dumped it into the well. The well was so deep that you can’t hear the sound of the water hitting the water at the bottom until after 10 entire seconds. After that we saw a peacock in the courtyard just roaming around and screaming at people. Then we made our way to the top of the tower. The view from the top was amazing. You could see the fields of the farms near the castle and several towns including Langenselbold. You could even see the Frankfurt skyline and the European Central Bank. From the tower we actually saw Niles and Valentine in the courtyard and later Teodora and Kim as well. Coincidentally, all of us decided to see the castle at the same time. After we climbed down the many many steps of the tower we saw all of the rooms of the castle, including the chapel that Leonie’s parents got married in. We left the castle around noon to go home and eat lunch. After lunch, at around two, Callie and Paula came over and we drove to Adventure Golf to play mini golf with Zara and Charlotte. We were all pretty terrible except Zara who plays golf at Pingry, but Callie and I like to tease her and say that golf isn’t a real sport. Zara ended up winning overall and I came in fourth (which was also third to last, but saying fourth makes it sound slightly better). We then met everyone at Valentine’s house before walking to the café to watch the soccer game. Everyone was dressed up in jerseys and had painted German flags on their cheeks. Teodora even had a cowboy hat in the colors of the German flag and an air horn. Callie had a poncho in the colors of the flag. I felt pretty underdressed, but at least I had face-paint on. Germany actually lost the match against Mexico (0-1) but I had fun anyway. When we were walking back, a group of us (Zara, Charlotte, Callie, Paula, Hugh, David, Leonie, and I) left the main group and sat on a stone wall near a river. We ate cake that Charlotte brought. Hugh and David left before Callie took a picture of us with her Polaroid camera. Zara and I also took pictures of us sitting on the wall. After maybe half an hour we went our separate ways and went home.

(Written by Ariel L.)