This week was an excursion to the Rhon region of Germany. This lays pretty much dead center and is characterized by splendorous views of rolling, cleared plains. Germanic people cleared the forests out 2000 years ago, and so the land is still used for agriculture. Like all the different parts of Germany, this part is known by Germans as a good vacation place. It is relatively sparsely populated, too. There is some influence from southern Germany, which is the source of all stereotypical German culture, but actually, I didnt meet any people from the area and we stayed in sweeping farmland anyway. Win, Bianca(Australia; a new one), Karla and I. In front of a castle of a Prince who ruled the surrounding area before Germany was united and was just a bunch of small city states. Bam.
(Ah just look at me, jeeeeesus, what am i doing?)
were invited by Rotary for a Family Weekend and so collected after school on Friday,
And set off. We thought it was going to be just us kids isolated from the old, business suit German Rotaries but this was delightfully far from the truth. This was really a family vacation, and so only the younger Rotarians were there with their wives (ohhh German moms
) and their romping 10 year olds and toppling toddlers and babies. It was very delightful and the children really put a great atmosphere into everything. But hey, so did we.
The Rhon has a lot of hilly plains and so is the best place in Germany to invent motor-less flight. Here are the exchange kids in front of the Glider museum.
And what waits within. Mwahahahah!
The pictures were all of winners of the Annual Glider contest. These pictures made me think of the inevitability of age. Youth is sometimes a sad thing. Someday kids will look at my pictures too, you know. My mom will now worry because i am thinking too much about death. Eh, this picture just made me sad.
This says: The Rhon Mustard Cow For your bratwurst.
We went for a hike with some of the older couples. They were very nice to us and we were very surprised how young they were at heart. This was on the worst day on top of the highest hill in the area. Very wet and very windy, but therefore, hilarious.
And this is what was behind me. Through a break in the fog, you can see the endless rolling hills that reach out towards Poland (not seen here).
A majestic memorial to all people involved with flight. Including me in 2 months yesterday!!!
This is a picture I would like in a museum. Too bad I didnt really do anything just before it was taken.
On one of the mountains was this completely ridiculous roller coaster deal. You had breaks and slid down 1000 meters on a metal track. 1.50 euro for questionable safety and survival chances. But at least there was a roof. And it was sweet. Thanks Rotary!
On Saturday night, everyone was collected for a tour of the area by an old man claiming to have been the Mayor of the village once upon a time. He really did talk forever. But I like those moments when tour guides talk for a long time to exchange kids because you can look around and most of them have these blank stares of deep concentration, because they have lost track of the speech, because it was too fast or too boring, and are now lost in their own thoughts. The slightly opened mouths are what to look for. And I stand there and chuckle inappropriately. The swords are torches that eventually blazed out of control on everyone and had to be thrown into wet grass and stamped and extinguished. Also funny.
Oh a very typical German Beer Garden place. Occupied by fat old people and their skinny wives. This is in a monastery, where they brew their own beer which was pretty good and cheap. Rotary coyly admits that exchange students can drink beer in Germany. Win and I shared one, though I was constantly suspicious of a Rotary trap!
My councelor and his daughter. I still didnt catch her name.
Another great view. Like WV right?
The Rotary Presidents wife is on the left, and another lady is smiling at some kids. The president is awesome, smokes a pipe, too. That smell makes me nauseous, actually.
15 US dollars my good Californian!
Sunday night we had a wine tasting. The exchange kids were also invited. It was nice but after a few different types I couldnt really describe the differences. You can taste them but I still find wine culture to be slightly aristocratic and pompous. Who cares, I say. The adults tried to defend it, and I can appreciate the whole idea, but honestly, it isnt my bag of tea. Or whatever that expression is.
Ah awesome. In this area are these fields and fields of Raps. Its called Raps in German but Wins dictionary says its called Rape in English. We looked it up together and then were silent and then he said, that cant be. I dont know if I have heard of Rape before or not. They make ethanol fuel with it and also feed it to cattle. So I guess its alright to say that throughout the wide open Rhon Region are flowing Fields of Rape. Sorry, but its true. It still looked nice.
We came home Monday evening and I was pretty tired, even though the weekend was totally relaxing. I went to the sauna everyday and even got myself lost jogging through the farm land. There were also some great discussions with the adults, and even though I am disadvantaged in my higher German communication, I still felt appreciated and well understood. I also enjoy when young dads make good jokes and even poke fun at their kids behind their backs. Thats the way it should be. And then they all tear out of the parking lot in their family SUVs and station wagons, children and fun noodles dangling out of half-open rear seat windows.
Tomorrow, Thursday, I think I am helping my host dad lead a group of Irish teenagers through the Roman Rock quarry tour. So no school for me. Then in the evening, I am going to a play put on by my friends. Friday evening is a big dance at the other school, but other than that, nothing so big is being planned.
Thank you for looking. Have a wonderful week.