A Train, a Plane, and Lots of Walking: Germany, Days 11 & 12

Sunday June 5

On Sunday morning, we woke up and ate our last breakfast at the hotel. I said goodbye to the delicious bread and vegan butter, and of course my lovely hot chocolate. All of us Americans gathered all our stuff out of our rooms and loaded up downstairs to check out.  We said goodbye to a lot of our friends that were checking out at the same time, then started the trek to the school campus with all our luggage. A 25-minute walk turned into a 40-minute trudge, but we finally made it. It was sprinkling, and we decided it was because Ansbach was crying that we were leaving.

We set our stuff under cover and sat against a wall to one of the buildings outside, waiting until Marius came to unlock it for us so we could put our stuff inside. Deshayne and I played an ABC improv game, which was hilarious. We finally were able to put our stuff inside, and then we headed to the train station! We were planning on taking a day trip to Bamberg, a nearby city that Marius said was one of our favorites! We stopped at McDonalds on the way, and I got another veggie burger! I really wish they had them at the American McDonalds, I miss them.

My first train ride went okay- I had a bit of a headache, and there were some loud girls sitting near Shelby, Deshayne, and I, so it was hard to relax or rest my eyes. Our train pulled into the main station in Nuremburg, and we got off to switch trains!

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It was pulling away right when we got up the stairs, so we had to wait for the next one. After another train ride, we finally made it to Bamburg! Marius lead us around the city and it was so breathtakingly beautiful. We went over a couple bridges that gave us amazing views of the river, and even got to explore a church. Josh told us the “history” of the church, and apparently it was finished in the last six years, and Jesus laid the first stone.

We had our last dinner in Germany at an Italian restaurant. It was called Casa Italia, and I was really excited that they had vegetarian options! It was some kind of cheese and spinach pasta! I of course could not pronounce the name of my meal, and the server teased me about it the whole time we were there. They also played Katy Perry music the entire hour, which was interesting.

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After we ate, we walked back to the train station and headed back to Ansbach. We walked through the city center to get back to the school campus to get our luggage, then carried it all back to the train station. It was getting dark and everyone was so sad about walking through Ansbach for the last time. I remembered our first time walking there a mere ten days before, and how breathtaking the buildings and everything had been. I still find it so incredibly beautiful, and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

Once we made it to the train, we said goodbye to everyone. All of the Americans got on the train and before we knew it, we were heading in the opposite direction from Ansbach and all the friends we had made. It was eerily quiet as we pulled out of the station, and as I looked around, I realized everyone was crying. It was heartbreakingly sad, and you could feel it in the air. We were all ready to be home, but I think we all left a part of our hearts in Ansbach, Germany.

Monday June 6

We stayed on the train for a good half an hour before we hopped off that one and loaded onto a bigger one. We got comfortable and prepared to stay there for over two hours. Some people slept, some read, some just watched Germany fly by out the window.

We finally made it to Munich at around 1:00am. We navigated the train station and found the subway that would take us to the airport. That ride took about 40 minutes, and I was so loopy tired that I could not stop making puns. I was also singing Good Morning from Singing in the Rain and annoyed absolutely everyone around me. We finally made it to the airport, which was empty and surprisingly beautiful.

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We finally found an empty spot to set our stuff and set up camp. We knew we would have about four hours to try to get some sleep, so people laid out on chairs. I curled up with Shelby’s blanket on the floor and somehow actually fell asleep. I was off and on for a while but figure I probably got a grand total of two hours of sleep. At one point, I woke up and there was an old lady sleeping in the middle of our section and Shelby had disappeared, so I was a little concerned, but she had just gone to the bathroom and the lady swooped in, so everything ended okay.

We were finally able to check in around 6:30am. We got our tickets and went through security. It wasn’t as stressful as I was expecting. Then we had another hour before our plane departed, so Shelby, Deshayne and I walked around the terminal. I ended up getting a pretzel for breakfast because everything else was too expensive. We all sat together for a little bit before loading up on the plane, saying goodbye to Germany one last time.

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Our flight to Huston lasted 11 hours. I watched the Edge of 17 and may have cried some. I watched half of two or three other movies, as well as some children TV shows. I managed to get a small amount of sleep, and even listened to some music on my laptop while attempting to write some blog posts. The flight wasn’t too bad, and luckily we didn’t experience as much turbulence as the flight before.

Then, after 11 days, we finally landed back in the United States! We couldn’t stop singing God Bless America as we navigated the airport to go through customs and security again, then find our terminal. Our first stop, of course, was to find a completely free bathroom and then Chick-fil-A. The flight to Fayetteville was quick and easy, and before I knew it, we were back in the Ozarks! Shelby’s mom drove the two of us back to Joplin, and I even got my precious Taco Bell and free ice water. It’s the little things you miss the most.

And just like that, my two week adventure in Germany had come to an end. I still can’t believe I had such an incredible opportunity to not only explore another country, but meet so many new people and experience another culture. I came back a different person, and I know that I will always hold the memories made across the pond deep inside my heart.

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