28 September 2009

"No man can be called friendless who has God and the companionship of good books." E.B.Browning

I spent Sunday afternoon in Tubingen, exploring the town and relaxing in the park before meeting a Valpo friend who is studying at the university there. Every once in a while, you just need time just to yourself....for me, that means reading, writing letters, journaling, sketching, and walking in nature. I hope you enjoy the pictures from my day


Kloster Andechs am Ammersee ~ September 26th

Sometimes there can be a bit too much of a good thing. Like hiking. I am not used to hiking this much two days in a row. But it is what we did, 1.) to save money but also 2.) because it was the only way to get to Kloster Andechs ~ a monastery that was a frequent pilgrimage destination in ages past and is known for its extremely strong beer. The only reconciling ~ and utterly wonderful, I might add ~ part to the entirely-up-hill terrain was the amazing trees along the very quiet forest trail and the view down into the city and the lake Ammersee. When we finally reached the cloister, we crowded around with other tourists to listen to a real Bavarian band play as a pair of newlyweds left the church under a shower of rose petals....a definitely unplanned surprise experience for us!! After resting our legs, we found the Biergarten nearby and tasted some of the monastery's excellent brew before heading back downtown by bus.
Since we had time to spare before our train came in, we decided to use the opportunity to go to the docks down at the Ammersee and *of course* get some gelato...and for me, buy 6 more postcards.....I think the postal system is going to get a nice look at my address this year, ha. It's a joke with my roommate and anyone else who knows about it in the group: Erin always buys more postcards than she can keep track of and postcard writing is always on the evening agenda for trips. I basically take my pen and letter-writing materials wherever I go now.....So! The lake was a pleasant change in scenery after all the mountains of yesterday and yielded plenty of wonderful pictures for my photo album. I have my personal favorites, but I hope you enjoy all the rest of them!!



"Koenigsschlossen Neuschwanstein + Hohenschwangau + Fussen = (Hiking x 10) + (Fantastic Views x 20) " ~ September 25th

The title pretty accurately sums up today's adventure, if you actually manage to decifer the ridiculously long math equation I fabricated for it. Suffice to say, it involved *alot* of walking, but the reward was a breath-taking glimpse into the region's natural beauty and a view into two dream-castles.

We took the bus from Fussen up to the little tourist town at the foot of Schloss Hohenschwangau, our first castle for the day. The tours were overpriced, but unfortunately it was the only way you could see the inside of the castles, which we were *not* going to miss. The interiors of both Schloss Hohenschwangau and Schloss Neuschwanstein are beautiful works of Romantic medieval-inspired art. From Hohenschwangau, we hiked to Neuschwanstein first for another tour there and then over to the Marienbrueke, which gives you a view of the both castles from high atop a wood&iron foot bridge. We decided not to try to find the lake that was supposed to be nearby, and instead saved the 3,90 euros for a bus trip and took the 5 km trail up and down the mountains back to Fussen......discovering in the process a lake with swans, a clear mountain stream, and a picture-perfect landscape of moss, rocks, and early fall foliage. Breathtaking is an understatement. I was in almost constant awe of my surroundings and eventually gave up putting away my camera, with all the photos I kept making. There were also quite a few flower and leaf souveniers from the hike tucked away along the way.....


Pictures for this post: http://picasaweb.google.com/Smilegirlerin/Neuschwanstein#

"I'm sittin' in the railway station, Got a ticket for my destination..." Fussen ~ September 24th

The advantage of taking trains everywhere on trips is that you get to see the landscape around you as it changes....and in this case, it was an amazing landscape indeed. The ride from Stuttgart to Fussen took all afternoon, but I forgot the length and boring-ness of it all, when we started to move into the farmlands of south-east Germany. The hills made me think of the Berkshires but the grass! the grass was so much greener than anything I have ever seen. The fields epitomize the idea of fertile soil. Even this late in the month, the grass is as emerald green as the the best-watered lawn you would find in summer season. And the green flows from mile to mile across the hills. And there are cows. Lots of cows. All over. But hey, if I was a cow, I'd guess want to live and graze in that part of Germany too!

We arrived in Fussen late in the evening, and since we hadn't booked a room in advance, our first item of adgenda was to find a place for the night. So......that turned into interesting experience. As we quickly found out, Fussen is a huge tourist town so it was virtually impossible to find a hotel with room for three people that costs less than 100 euros a night. We hotel-hopped from about an hour or so before one nice receptionist told us about an information center nearby where we could look up & call places. After about 4 calls, we headed off excitedly in the direction of a guesthouse that had one empty room. We forgot to remember the name of it and didn't have a map, which meant we basically went off of memory as far as location went. We walked around in circles, then went back to the information board, then walked some more up and down the same street before we found the guesthouse, 10 minutes before the owner was going to close up for the night. It was fantastic, because 1.) they had three beds 2.) it cost less than 30 euros per night per person 3.) the beds were comfy 4.) the towels looked and smelled clean, which is important after hostel experiences in that regard 5.) they had an awesome free breakfast.

Basically, we were very happy as we went off to search for dinner around town (yes, we were eating dinner at 9 pm!) We three all had local specialties for our dinner and beer selection before wandering the city, in search of a gelato place. We discover new flavors in every city we visit, and this place was no exception. Jon Larson and I both got the rum flavor and wow - it tastes sooo amazing with the mocha flavor. Yum "Mehr Eis, bitte" more ice cream please....I never tire of gelato :-) A great way to end a day.


22 September 2009

A Cape of White Over the Morning ~ September 23rd

"Fog's rollin' in off the East River bank
Like a shroud it covers Bleeker Street
Fills the alleys where men sleep
Hides the shepherd from the sheep..."

I first thought of this song today, when I saw the fog this morning. It will take a while to get used to the fog here in Reutlingen. I woke up very early, even though class didn't start until 11 am, so I could practice the piano with the new music I had bought yesterday: Bach's Inventions. But it was strange waking up to the darkness, and then peering out my window, and only seeing faint circles of light, glowing out from the fog like cat's eyes, and the my now-familar hills shrouded in white......I walked over in the cool morning air to the building with the piano, and sat down for a hour and half of practice. I had the whole large room to myself, with its large ceiling-to-floor windows that I love so much. On one side, you have a glimpse of the town below, through the trees, and on the other, you have the path that leads into the center of the campus. It feels as if I have an audience of nature to surround my playing, and I have this feeling of quiet peacefulness when I am there, all alone but filled to the brim with the enjoyment of music. It is wonderful to find something so familar here like music for company.

"...I head a church bell softly chime
In a melody sustainin'
It's a long road to Caanan
On Bleeker Street
Bleeker Street" (S&G)


"Slow down, you move too fast..." ~ September 22nd

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy! ~ S&G


Today was a perfect example of the suprisingly warm days an Indian Summer brings...even in Germany. The fog cleared off of the horizon a bit and the weather was pleasant enough to wear short sleeves. :-)

Tuesdays are market days downtown here in Reutlingen and I absolutely love them. There are so many vendors with fruit, vegetables, flowers, bread, meat, cheese, tea, herbs....the list could go on! I have two stands I always visit: the old-man-and-his-flowers and the couple-who-sells-olives-and-cheese-and-everything-wonderful-in-real-wooden-barrels. Yup. Today the old man's flowers were 2 bunches for 3 euros....so of course I paid the 3 euros! The old man just smiled and laughly spoke to me in thick Schwabisch German as I tried to decide which two bouquets I wanted. Ha, but they all were so beautiful. I settled on one with burgundies and creams, and another with yellows and blues and purples, and he wrapped them in twine and newspapers gave me a friendly "tschuss! schonen Tag" goodbye, as I headed over to my other favorite vendor with the striped awning. This couple has two long rows of half-barrels filled with olives&cheese, tomato&cheese, artichoke hearts&cheese&olives....etc etc...and everything is made with olive oil and a deliciously unidentifiable and unreciprocatable combination of herbs. It tastes so good as a side dish to some dense "brotchen" (rolls) with their hearty wheat and seeds...which is exactly what I had for lunch today! before heading off to class again.
Class itself this afternoon was an hour of comparing our experiences in Berlin and wherever else we went this past weekend. It was really nice to hear people's perspectives and get some insight/advice on places that I plan on going to sometime. But the highlight of the afternoon was when class got out! and four of the guys (+ Hilary) played frisbee on the lawn outside the building...I contentedly sat and read my book, enjoying my spot in the grass and watching the bugs happily look for clover. This last remnant of summer is almost the best part, because it comes by surprise and you appreciate the spontaneous day of warmth more, in my opinion. And appreciate it I did. Simple relaxation and pleasure in God's own creation. A wonderful way to spend an afternoon, for sure.

21 September 2009

"because You Are" ~ September 21st

I awoke to the darkness and watched as the early morning sunrise revealed the hills in their misty veils. Fall is coming; the air is crisper and the sun doesn't shine as thickly. The view from my window has been gradually changing, as the trees show new golden fingertips. I was overwhelmed by the thought of our amazing God, who is ever the same yet always new. I could not help but want to lift my hands in praise, for all He is to me and how he has blessed me. Even in this land, far away from all I know, Jesus is still here for me, my best and closest Friend. ~E.

Oh my eyes have seen your light,
And my heart has seen your way.
I'm astounded by your might,
And your will I will obey

'cause You Are
The same time One and Three.
And You Are
Omniscient Being
And You Are
Redeemer of the Day
And You Are
The Everlasting Way
I Stand upon your truth
In the glory of your day
Right here I'll stay with you
I your love I will remain
song courtesy of my multi-musical friend J : -)

20 September 2009

"Clear sky is turning stormy" ~ September 20th

If you feel teardrops
Falling like rain on the rooftops
If you wonder what you're listening to
This is me missing you
If you feel lonely
Clear sky is turning stormy
Lightning strikes and all you see is blue
This is me missing you
If you feel heartbreak
Distant thunder like an earthquake
If you wonder why the earth moves
This is me missing you
If you touch empty
Reach in the darkness and don't find me
Then you'll know just what I'm going through
This is me missing you

picture courtesy of Jon Larson, song by James House

"Through All These Cities and Towns" ~ Berlin I

Life's like a road that you travel on
When there's one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There's a world outside ev'ry darkened door
Where blues won't haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar...
There's not much time left today.
Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you're going my way
I wanna drive it all night long
Through all these cities and all these towns
It's in my blood and it's all around.......
Hardly four days since Hilary and I got back from our first weekend trip, and we are back on the road, headed with our group towards Berlin with everything I need for 10days packed into my small black backpack and purse. A 6-hr train ride north....with a steady pattern of read, write, sleep, eat, read again.... anything to pass the time. We got to Berlin and settled into our pension hotel with just enough time for Jon, Ryan, and I to change clothes and head off to the Berliner Opera. The adrenaline from the excitement of being in BERLIN and seeing Mozart's Der Zauberfloete and the opera house!!!!....well, it gave me enough energy for the rest of the night. The opera was fantastic; I am so glad we didn't miss it due to schedule problems!!! We met some great people too, while we were waiting in line for rush tickets, and ended up going out for pizza together with them before the opera started. Wow. The opera. We got second row seats, so the singers were right in front and it was as if the whole show was only for us. The whole time, I couldn't stop smiling with enjoyment....what a way to begin the week!!!! It bodes well for the days that will follow......


Week of Classes: What We Do vs. What We Actually Learn

I. EUROPEAN ECONOMICS: Eating more gelato is a great way to stimulate the local economy and support family businesses. Suits me.

II. GERMAN LIFE & CULURE: HoHum. Learning how to use the train schedule....ummm. Yeah. We've already travelled on the train and know how to do that. Learning how to book a hostel.......that would be MUCH more helpful.

III. DEUTSCH 204: "Dies ist Professor Boffins Haus. Es ist am Morgen. Professor Boffin und seine Frau fruehstuecken..." oh wait....its lunch time....and we are at the Brixners for food, followed by a "strenous" linguistic exercise, translating a German poem. Herr Brixner: "No No!! You must make the 's' more pronounced! say 'der SCHloss in SCHTuttgarT' ...Again! Again!"

IV. ART: Hard at work here in art class. We have a very challenging adgenda, including charades. *stuffy British voice* "And here, you see a 21st century photograph, reenacting of the infamous The Rape of the Sabine Women. The use of men here instead of the statue's original three women is representative of the evolution of gender roles among today's youth. Please note the anguished expression on the lower male's face, which can be viewed as a cry against the tyranny of social bondange, whether that is from prejudice or...."

images courtesy of Jon Larson

Our First Weekend Trip: Mainz, the Rhein, & Koblenz ~ September 4th

Basically, we are two insane travellers, to be getting up at 4 am for a 5 am train.....But it was all worth it. We arrived in Mainz around 7 am, just in time for their famously huge farmer's market to be opening up. The air was cool and you could feel the moistness that told you rain was on the way....we wandered through the streets as laughing schoolchildren rushed past with their backpacks, satchels, or shoulderbags and lunch boxes. The market was larger than the one in Reutlingen, but so much was the same. If I closed my eyes too, I could imagine myself back home, on a Saturday morning, downtown at the farmer's market in West Lafayette with Mom and Dad, and it made me homesick a bit to see the familar sight of fruit and cheese and vegetables......only to be brought back to reality when I heard the babble of German coming from the old woman with the crowded rows of flower bouquets, as she laughed with the farmer in the stall across the way. Then the brief moment of homesickness passed, after we bought our food and arrived at the ferry dock. With the beautiful Rhein stretching out in front of us, I got excited for all sights we were going to see on the cruise we were waiting in line for. All the castles!!! One after another!!! You could imagine looking out window of one and being able to catch a glimpse of the next one with hardly a strain upon the eyes. Amazing. They were all in different styles, reflective of the era in which they were built or rennovated. We also passed the infamous Lorelei - a cliff rising 120 meters above the narrowest part of the Rhein and named for one of the beautiful Rhein Maidens, who supposedly lurred sailors to their deaths with their hypnotic song. While on the boat, it finally started raining and we were very thankful we had brought long sleeves and jackets. We ended up wearing almost every shirt we had packed, so as to stay warm, and the whole wetness and cold put a damper on our enthusiasm for sightseeing when we got off the boat at Koblenz. We quickly found a museum to stop into and spent the afternoon there, away from the stormy weather, and then caught the train to Köln earlier than originally planned. This time checking into our hostel, we cared less about our feet and backs and more about getting a hot shower and dry clothes.

The Hostel Experience: such a variety. Where Stuttgart's Alex 30 was clean, quiet, and well -kept, the Köln Station Hostel for Backpackers was crowded, a bit load, and hectic in the morning. The sheets were so highly starched that we wondered if the starch was an attempt to mask poor quality or something else we didn't want to know about and we really weren't sure how the shower lights were supposed to work and where the heck the other three sleepers in the room were....It ended up being three guys: one of which was randomly from Atlanta Georga; the random guy who arrived at 3 in the morning and tried to make the first one wake up and stop snoring; and finally, the third one, who was gone all night but showed up in the morning, tried to flirt with me or Hilary when the other was in the bathroom, asked if we wanted to go to the pub with him the next night, and was amazed we weren't Swiss, since, of course, we had to be, because I had a Swiss Army backpack.....yeeeeeah. We decided we were very glad the hostel was full for the next night and we had had to find a hotel instead. Yup. Next time we're going to pay the 3 Euros extra per person for a private room with two beds. It's totally worth it.


Our First Weekend Trip: Stuttgart ~ September 3rd

Our inexperience making our nerves high, Hilary and I headed off today after classes got out at noon and took the train from Reutlingen to Stuttgart, the first stop planned for our trip this weekend. We hadn’t the time or the resources (i.e. internet) to reserve a hostel there, so we were banking on the fact that it was a weeknight and *hopefully* that meant there would be room somewhere for us. Well, we stopped off of the train and began what ended up being a 2 hr search around town for a hostel that either a) no longer exists, b) is too difficult for the normal tourist with a map to find, or c) vanishes at dusk like a hidden castle into the mist so as to foil foreign invaders. Yeah. It was frustrating. We finally gave up and looked for another hostel that *conveniently* was named Hostel Alex 30 and gosh! Was located at # 30 Alexanderstraße….why can’t all places make so much sense?!? *sigh* The downtown also seemed so much bigger than we later realized, since we had walked around it probably three times in our hostel-hunting-eagerness. In anycase, we stumbled up the stairs into our room, thankful to finally take off the backpacks that now felt like they had had bricks in them….and just flopped onto the beds and did nothing.
Our stomachs eventually got the best of us and we ventured downtown again, this time without needing the guidance of a map (we were very proud of ourselves!) They were having a wine festival around the church, similar to the one in Reutlingen, so we stopped and bought ourselves a bag of mixed roasted nuts. We ate them while walking around the square, past the Altes Schloss (old castle) and ending up in front of the magnificent Neues Schloss, with its massive fountains, sprawling green, and cobbled paths. As the sun went down, it was a lovely place to be in the midst of. We sat there on our park bench, munching on a big loaf of bread that we split between us for dinner, until it got cool and we decided to head back to our room for a good night's sleep. I think we both felt very good for having managed so well on our own thus far and that gave us a well-needed confidence boost. We were certainly happy to have a comfortable bed to sleep in, since we had to get up really early to catch a 5 am train to Mainz......


"August, die she must..." ~ August 31st

It's the end of August and first day of classes here in Reutlingen. The classes are a mix of disappointment and enjoyment for me. On the one hand, I love not having loads of homework, like I normally have back in the States with my demanding engineering classes. It would be difficult to plan for our trips, travel, *and* try to manage my normal courseload at the same time. On the other hand, though, I have this sinking feeling that, for the money we pay to be abroad, the classes should be better and demand more from us, so that we can really learn while we are here. I am only taking four classes so far - Art, Econ, German Life and Culture (GLC), and German 204 - but I'll be adding an engineering class come October, when Reutlingen Hochschule's actual semester begins. Herr Springer for Art is extremely knowledgable and so that class is fine, but it has no real homework yet; GLC uses a textbook that has out-of-date statistics and the readings are short; Econ is actually the most fascinating because it's taught by RH's director of the international studies, Herr Veit, and he knows everything about Germany (not quite, but still.....); and then there's German - well, that has mixed reviews amongst our group. Most of us like the review of grammar, etc, that it provides, but others of us (myself included) also wish we could be in a total language immersion course and then have our classes given in German. I for one get very little opportunity to exercise the language skills I have worked to learn these past three years at Valpo, aside from brief every-day contacts with local people in the Penny Markt or downtown or at a restaurant or such. So because of all this, I have felt the overwhelming urge of late to supplement the classes here with mini-studies of my own - mainly through books, since that's what's available to me. I think I'm reading three books right now at once: Reformers In Profile, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern Europe, Looking at Modern Painting and An Introduction to Music......so let's see....that covers Religion, History, Music, and Art......*sigh* I have to laugh a bit at my perhaps overzealousness, but it's true: if the system seems lacking, I won't settle and allow myself to remain at status quo - I will challenge myself and I will make the most of the semester abroad.

In the mean time, Hilary (my roommate) and I are attempting to plan our first weekend trip. It is a bit frustrating, because we do not have internet and we need to book hostels and look up the places we're going to. Ah, and yes, because of our internet struggles, these blogs will be end up having to be posted whenever we finally get hooked up to the server. Ach, it is a point of huge exasperation to me at times, this whole lack of internet thing. I am already getting used to not having it 24-7, but then, there are times where it would be really convenient and it isn't there. Oh well. More patience, Erin, more patience.

And now, off to read the two chapters for GLC class....that shouldn't take longer than a half an hour, ha.


"I am a little church..." ~ August 30th

Ahh! I am amazed at what lovely weather we keep having here in Germany! Hilary and I got up and walked downtown for church this morning at Marienkirche, one of the Protestant churches here in Reutlingen. We had gone to an organ concert there the previous night and learned about its history in our tour of downtown. Its architecture is impressively Gothic and the stained glass is in really good condition. The concert included the Bach's Brandenberg Concertos and wow. The sound of the organ fills every corner of the naive so you are overwhelmed by its strength and the notes cascade through the air with every measure played. I just sat there in the glossy wooden pews, gazing up at the ceiling frescos and listening to the organ, in musical heaven. After all, it is Bach, in a church, in Germany! Any one of those things is fantastic in and of itself...but together they make quite an experience for a music lover like me. And so some of that feeling lingered in the morning when we were in church, as I lost focus from the sermon, it being difficult to understand with pastor's rapid Schwabisch dialect-thickened speech. So I explored the church with my eyes and in my mind, collected the verses that were written atop the columns and the words of those became more of a sermon to me than any message from the preacher in his draped black robes and solemn face and hands empty of a Bible....it being on the altar area, open but somehow seeming unread. Thus I made my own Church in my own heart and praised God in that way, letting His simple Truth speak to me directly, through His own Word. What a wonderful gift the Bible is!!!



"i am a little church" by e.e. cummings

i am a little church(no great cathedral)....
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope, and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)


Der Schwarzwald und Treiberg ~ August 29th

Wow. Der Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) is beautiful!! Its hills remind me of Pennsylvania but its deep dark trees make me think of Acadia and Maine forests. We took a long bus ride over to Treiberg so I was able to gaze out at the landscape the whole time and watch the hills roll by, dotted by valley villages with red-tiled houses and steep fields and cows. Trieberg itself is a quaint town that looks as if it is cut off the side of the mountainside. It gets alot of tourists, since it borders the park with Germany's longest waterfall but it is still very nice. We had a picnic lunch there and did some window shopping before we headed off to the park. The town has alot of little shops, but one big one boasts 1000 cuckoo clocks, and sure enough, its walls were packed with cuckoo clocks of different sizes, styles, and ornamentation. It was pretty fantastic to see. Luckily, they were just set to tick, or else I think I would have been overwhelmed by the thunderous noise of "Cuck-oo, Cuck-oo" of a 1000 cuckoo clocks going off at the same time, ha. Oh, I also had my first coffee in Germany during our sightseeing. Jon Larson and I spotted a cafe, looked at each other, and it was like two dogs on a scent: COFFEE!! It was overpriced and too sweet but strong and definitely was the wondeful caffeinated beverage that I love. :-)

The waterfall itself was amazing. As we started our ascent, I forgot my tired legs with the all sights around me: the forest that surrounds the waterfall seemed somehow denser and the colors more vivid than anywhere else I have seen in Germany so far. The path followed the twists and turns of the waterfall and you could hear the constant rush of water and its coolness as you walked higher and higher, until you could stop and turn around and then! the breathless beauty of the nature that overwhelmed you as you gazed out upon the landscape! It was wonderful. We got lost on the way back downtown, but I didn't care, because there were many pink-purple, white, and yellow flowers and lovely trees and I enjoy being in nature so much. I picked some flowers to press later before we left the waterfall so we could catch the bus to a mountain lake on our way home back to Reutlingen. It was warm enough and the lake water pleasant enough that I waded in it while everyone else sat and relaxed on the pebbly beach. The water was amazingly clear so you could see straight to the bottom even with a couple feet of water :-) A couple of the group stopped at a bakery and we shared real Black Forest torte....mmm!! The cherries here are tart and not sticky-sweet marachino cherries like back home, and I like it better that way. And the whipped cream was freshly made....I have had nothing as good as it in the States. The States version of it doesn't do the torte justice.

And so it is the end of my third day here in Germany and I am blissfully happy to go to sleep now. Guten Nacht!


10 September 2009

Deutschland! ~ August 27th-28th

Well, Germany is everything I expected and more. Our first days here have been filled with walking and more walking and trying to adjust to the time change. Our big 7-hr flight to Zurich went without a hitch, but then we were delayed with our transfer plane to Stuttgart because apparently something was wrong with the air conditioning. So we boarded the plane, sat for 20 minutes, and then ended up just having get off again and wait for another plane. Most of us were very tired, having slept little on the plane, so some people dozed off while waiting on the plane and when we had to get off, were like, "Huh?What?? Are we there already??" Ha. But we did get to Reutlingen eventually, a couple hours later than we were supposed to. We all were kindof glad of that, because it meant we had to skip the tour around downtown that was planned for us to do.....none of us were saddened by the loss. All we wanted to do is crash. By the time we all got settled, we had been awake for over 35 hrs. Ugh.

We had to get up again the next morning to take the tour that we had missed and get our bus cards and train passes...and go shopping for food. More walking. It's about a 25 minute walk downtown and we've walked back and forth at least four times in this day. My poor legs are not used to being exercised that much...so they're very tired and sore. I woke up this morning and was like "Uggggggh. I feel like I've run a marathon," my muscles ached so much. And today we're going off to Trieberg (southern Germany) in the Black Forest, to see Germany's longest waterfall and a mountain lake.....so it's more walking!!!! Uch, I just want pain meds and a soft bed to fall asleep in! I'll tell you how it is when I get back :-)