By Chrissy Zopf, Editorial Intern
I awoke early on June 29, earlier than any of the other girls. It was 6:30 a.m. and I already knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep on the way to the first stop of the day, Rothenburg, because it would be a short ride. Once we departed shortly after 8 a.m. it finally hit me that my time in Germany was rapidly coming to a close.
Rothenburg is a medieval city, still encased by the wall that surrounded it hundreds of years ago. One memory that vividly stays with me was ascending the wall to view the city and walk around the perimeter. I can still feel my knees shaking and my heart racing with fear. Heights never were my strong suit. I clung to the wall, terrified every time someone from the other direction would pass and I would have to pull away from my safety net. One thing I did notice while attached to the wall, were special stones placed with names and locations of people from all over the world who had donated to the wall’s upkeep. The one that I found the most interesting was from our own Lehigh Valley.
Our visit to Rothenburg didn’t last long, and soon we were boarding the bus again, this time for a five hour ride to Salzburg, Austria where we would be spending the night. I can’t say much about the bus ride there, as I slept most of the time. But when I was awake, I spent the time asking everyone what country we were in; no one seemed to know the answer. Finally I saw the road sign stating our entry into Austria.
After more countryside traveling we finally arrived in the city. Salzburg was beautiful, and would easily become my favorite stop of the tour. When we arrived at our hostel we were given time to freshen up before meeting in the lobby to go spend time in the city. Unlike Bad Windsheim, everything was open, even as the night went on. Also unlike Bad Windsheim, almost every other business was a restaurant. My friends and I wandered down the cobblestone streets, looking for an eatery, but failing to agree on one. Of course after some time, we did agree, and after our meal we went back to the meeting spot, waiting to head back to the hostel. That night I roomed with two close friends of mine, Rachel and Chloe. Although there was a 10 o’clock lights out rule, we disregarded this and stayed awake until early hours of the morning, talking and laughing, enjoying what was left of our trip.
Early the next morning our group met in the lobby and headed out to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. Although it wasn’t even 9 a.m. it was hot, and the walk up to the fortress was a steep incline. I’d like to say that the hike was worth it, the view from the top was breathtaking. Before us laid a view of the city, surrounding towns and green foliage until they were obstructed by the Alps, looming in the background.
That afternoon we departed the city of Salzburg, heading towards the salt mines where we would be taking a tour. I looked forward to this, not only because I thought it would be interesting, but because the mines were cold, around 50° F, as opposed to the 90°F weather above ground. At the mine, we were given a miner’s suit to wear before descending into the mine. On the tour, our guide spoke German. Although my German improved greatly during my stay in Gladenbach, I don’t think I understood anything our guide told us, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the tour.
When the tour came to a close and we were brought back to the Earth’s surface the sunlight burned my eyes. I hadn’t realized how dark the mine had been until that moment. After returning the jumpsuit, I boarded the bus for the final time. In Munich the bus would be leaving us and we would remain there for the rest of our stay in Germany.