by Emma Franco – 11 Jul 2004
I looked out at the beautiful view of the garden from my bedroom window. I’m actually in Germany, I thought. After months of planning and many fundraisers we had made it to Germany. In the course of eight hours I had gone from 11p.m on Saturday to 7 pm on Sunday. The plane ride from JFK to Amsterdam flew by and the flight from Amsterdam to Munich was even shorter. By then we were all nervous and we couldn’t stop laughing. When we landed our hosts were all waiting for us. The first mix-up of the trip was when my host, Amelie, was asking which one, Caitlin or I, was vegetarian. Caitlin thought Amelie was asking if she played the guitar and started some air strumming.
The next five days went by at Mach speeds. Between numerous churches, each one more beautiful then the next, large castles, a number of museums and food we had a full week.
Monday we all met at the school. The lack of corners and the brightly painted walls made us feel like we were home. That day we went touring around Munich. Every single building in the city is large, beautiful, elaborate, and historical. There were bike paths all over and if you were standing in one you would soon know from the loud honking of the bike horns. We all decided that it would be worse to be hit by a bike in Munich than by a car.
The food in Munich alone is worth the trip. As Andrew describes it, “I ate asparagus, and liked it!” In Marianplatz Caitlin and I shared the most delicious potato salad one could imagine and Mat, Bryan and I discovered the chocolate croissant.
Tuesday we visited the Deusches Museum and later went to a Bavarian Market. Here we paid Andrew 5 euros to dance around a man playing a musical box. The afternoon was one of the most fun times on the trip. We all met up with our hosts after school and went to the Olympic tower. Spending time with our new German friends was fun and some of us went to play soccer. All of them were shocked by the fact that I was the first girl they had ever seen play soccer. This distressed me.
On Wednesday we went to Neuschwanstein, one of the many castles of King Ludwig, who was insane and in love with Richard Wagner. The castle was built in the Alps with a view of beautiful snow-capped mountain peaks in the distance. The castle was large and the walls inside were painted with scenes from Wagner operas. There was also a built-in cave.
Thursday we attended English classes and played a game of basketball outside. Afterwards we went to the long awaited Englischer Garten. The Garden was full of activity. People played Frisbee, soccer or sunbathed.
Friday was our last day in Munich. We all agreed the trip had gone by too fast. We visited three museums in the morning then spent the afternoon shopping. We met in the Englischer Garten for dinner with all the families. After this we went to the greatest part of the trip: Fruhlings Fest. Mat Inglis has written an account of the evening:
Emma came zooming around the corner of the miniature racetrack in her go-kart. She swerved back and forth because of her inability to steer. As she entered the straightaway she jerked the steering wheel and slammed into a parked car at the side of the track. Unfazed, she kept on going around the next corner with an ear-to-ear grin plastered on her face. Although she left the German spectators shaking their heads she was having fun and to her that was all that mattered. I would like to warn all non-suicidal people to stay at least 100 feet away from Emma when she is driving a vehicle, which should be soon seeing as she can technically get her driving permit right now in Massachusetts. In any event, this was just one small part of a night in the life of Emma.î
Next our group (consisting of the GBRSS German students and our hosts) decided to go on a ride called ìTop Spinî. This ride consisted of a few sets of various flips, being sprayed in the face by a water fountain and being held upside down 20 feet above the ground. When Emma paid the few Euros that the ride cost and went and sat down in one of the rows of seats, you could see her glowing with excitement. However, as soon as the ride commenced, this excitement turned to fear. After the first few sets of back flips were finished, Emma looked ready to throw up, and when the ride kept on going I was quite positive that she would. Somehow she managed to get through that ride and apparently took a liking to exchanging money for becoming scared to death, because she rushed over to the next ride with just as much enthusiasm as the first. This one was called ìFrisbeeî. Then we went on the bumper cars, where Emmaís insanely bad driving skills came to use, however I donít think she managed to hit any one as hard as she would have liked to.
That night there was a fire works show at 10:00 p.m., which we all scrambled up onto a hill to watch. After the fireworks show we all said goodbye and went home for the night. Fruhlings Fest was an experience that Emma (and the rest of us) would remember for a long time.