We woke up to a snowy morning in Mittenwald. The bus arrived around 8AM to bring us to Garmisch. Our bus driver, Franz, a German-Italian, brought us to the site of the 1936 Winter Olympics ski jumps. Everyone was pretty excited to be able to get so close to the actual jumps and be able to get a real feel for how huge these jumps really are and how scary it would be to actually ski off one. It was picturesque because the snowflakes were perfect when taking pictures.
After, Franz dropped us off for free time in the town of Garmisch where we got to shop and explore the small, quaint village. A lot of the kids went to find coffee shops or souvenirs. Those who weren’t as prepared for the cold weather, went to find some winter gear in order to stay warm for later activities. There was a local farmers market selling fresh tropical fruits, cheeses, meat and bread. A few of us got to sample mangos, blood oranges, and pineapples; where they are growing these tropical fruits, no man knows… Many of the students really liked this town because the energy was slower paced compared to the major cities in Italy that we had just visited. In addition, the people in the town were a lot kinder to us, which is what most of us hoped and imagined towns like this would be like.
Four brave souls decided to go skiing or snowboarding for the afternoon in the Alps. The mountains were nestled under a thick blanket of fog, which made it hard to see in addition to the snow. Because of the fog and snow, you couldn’t see 10 yards in front of you! The ride up the mountain took about 10 minutes, whereas the trip down took up to 25 minutes. Halfway up the mountain, there was a small café/grill where skiers could take a break and refuel with a beer or hot chocolate. The people working on the slopes were super friendly and made them feel welcomed in their country. A few of the guys made bets on how many times Mark would fall during his time skiing this afternoon. As payback, for their lack of faith in his skiing skills, Mark pulled a little prank… When the rest of the class came to pick the skiers up, he came out limping, apparently needing Mary and Jack’s assistance walking. Meanwhile, on the bus the class started feeling really bad about making bets. When Mark finally got to the bus and hobbled to his seat, he fessed up he was just faking. It turns out he only fell 5 times….pretty good for someone from Hutch!
The students that didn’t ski went to the famous Neuschwanstein castle; the inspiration for Disney Park’s Cinderella Castle. The castle itself sits atop a mountain, which the class had to trek up. Before the journey up the mountain, we had time to grab a quick authentic German lunch. Some students tried the veal wieners and fried sausages, as well as the Gluwhien (warm wine). Mario, had liver dumpling soup, which is what Stephanie made for us at the Co-op before departure. Many of us had to inhale our food in order to be on time for our tour meeting of the castle. Although we were told that it would take 45 minutes to hike the mountain before arriving at the class, we did it in 20 minutes because we are all in such good shape!
After dodging snowballs from Mario and Beau, and horse poop from the horse drawn carriages on the 2 mile path uphill to the castle we finally made it to the top! The views were unlike anything we had ever seen before; a few students had been to the Castle in the summer and so were lucky enough to be able to compare the views and the Castle itself in both seasons. The Castle was not much warmer than the air outside, but we made it work! It was a short and sweet tour through the Castle since our guide informed us that much of the castle isn’t finished.
After dodging snowballs from Mario andBeau, and horse poop from the horse drawn carriages on the 2 mile path uphill to the castle we finally made it to the top! The views were unlike anything we had ever seen before; a few students had been to the Castle in the summer and so were lucky enough to be able to compare the views and the Castle itself in both seasons. The Castle was not much warmer than the air outside, but we made it work! It was a short and sweet tour through the Castle since our guide informed us that much of the castle isn’t finished.
The castle belonged to King Ludwig. Unfortunately, he was only able to live in the small portion of finished living quarters for 172 days before he died a mysterious death at age 42 after being declared mentally unfit to rule. Something that was incorporated in the décor of the castle as well as in the towns surrounding was the figure of a swan; the King’s favorite animal.
The bus ride from Garmisch to Munich was extremely quiet for those who could keep their eyes open for the 2 hours. Everyone was pretty wiped out from either trekking up a mountain or skiing down one. Once we got to our hotel, everyone got settled and was excited until we realized the lack of internet connection available for us. So, instead of being attached to our mobile devices, most of us are going to brave the cold and explore the area of Marienplatz. This is in the heart of Munich and supposedly there is usually a lot going on there. There are many restaurants, pubs, cafes, and street entertainers that keep the streets busy in this area.
-Christina and Mariel