And lastly Tawny Owl’s German Exchange Part 3
On Tuesday morning, we went to a vocational school, BBW St Franziskus. Steffi and Tom, whom we met at camp work there. Martha, who’s also a scout, gave us a presentation explaining the school system and the various field of study offered. They showed us around the school. Tom showed us the boarding school. We visited the living space occupied by the group that Tom assists. After the tour, we had a lovely lunch at the cafeteria. We thanked Martha and the rest of the team for showing us around. They gave us some luggage tags as souvenirs.
Steffi joined us for the rest of the day. We stopped there for an hour.
Then we headed to Weltenburg Abbey. This is a Benedictine monastery in Weltenburg near Kelheim on the danube. The next available English guided tour was an hour after we arrived. We got to visit the chapel, the garden and the souvenir shop, get some ice cream before the tour. The guide took us to a room where we watched a video on the history of the brewery, we then went on a tour where we learnt about the various steps of making beer. We tasted 3 different beers and got to keep the glasses as souvenirs.
We left and went for a braai and camp fire where some of Steffi’s scouts joined us.
On Wednesday, we started our day at a high school when we had an open class discussion with the students. They asked us questions about girl guides, South Africa, the school system in South Africa, etc. we asked them questions too. Afterwards, we sang the National anthem for them and they sang “DD” for us.
We drove to town and walked to the Haidplatz. We were free to go around town in smaller groups and agreed to meet back at the Haidplatzat 19:00. We went to the W1 where the show was. The Wednesday evening show was “Home is where the art is”. The atmosphere at W1 was much more different from Monday afternoon. The place was full. We watched different performances: dance (Zouk), dance and poetry, music band and solo, etc. There was a tattoo artist who painted free henna tattoos the whole evening. One of the Girl Guides SA, Pulane, had prepared a performance with Florian. Before their performance, we were all called to the stage. They asked us a few questions and made us feel like celebrities.
Pulane and Florian’s performance was great. Gust and his band, C-moon had an amazing performance to end the show. As part of the spectators that evening were scout leaders who would be our hosts for the next two days. My twin Otshepeng and I were assigned to Markus. Kyleigh and Remo’s host was not at the show. Markus offered had drop them off at Christian’s before we went to his home. The drive to Vislbiburg was very long. When we arrived (after midnight), we were welcomed by Markus’ mother. She offered us food/ drinks but we were too tired and respectfully asked if we could go to bed right away. We were shown our bedroom and the bathroom and agreed on a time for breakfast.
We had breakfast with Markus and his mom. Her orange flavoured tea was my favourite. Markus ‘mom didn’t even let us clear the table. She doesn’t like it when guest decide to help clear the table or help in any way. She offered to do our laundry. We went out to Landshut and visited the Trausnit Castle. We went for lunch at a Thai restaurant. We then went to meet Martha, his sister who had bought us some delicious cake. We visited St Martin’s Church and then headed back to Vilsburg. We stopped at Vilsbiburg Karting Paradise for a race.
We had dinner at home with Markus’ parents and his sister Laura. After dinner, we spent the rest of the evening playing games. We played “einfach genial” (simply ingenious) which I enjoyed the most, phase 10, card games and many other games. We went to bed very late.
On Friday morning, we woke up to the traditional Bavarian breakfast. Markus had noticed that we didn’t like beer, so he bought non-alcoholic beer for our breakfast. The combination of the weisswurst and sweet mustard is divine.
After breakfast, we got on to a few more games before we headed to town for ice cream. We met Markus’ youngest sister, Anna. Their mom joined us for ice cream before we got back to the house and got ready to leave. We gave Markus’ mom a South African crafted bowl and key rings. Markus got our exchange badge and we gave him SA friendship badges for his 3 sisters who are all scouts.
Markus’ mom got us Landshut festival T-shirts. She got me the einfach genial board and for Otshepeng, she got a beautiful scarf.
We stopped at a pilgrim church on our way to Landshut. We were the last twinset to arrive at the jugendherberge Landshut (Landshut youth Hostel). That was our camping site for the weekend. We were glad to see all the other girls and soon we started talking about our homestays. Everyone seemed to have had fun.
We pitched tents, had dinner and had free time. I spent most of the evening playing games with Koki, Martin and Julia. We went to sleep very late. It rained that night. All the other tents had ground sheets set up properly except for ours. Four of us got wet and woke up cold. We dried our sleeping bags, pillows and other items that got wet. I went out with Kyleigh, Jess and one of the scout leader for coffee and tea and hot chocolate. None of the machines were working. We walked out with a perfect cup of hot chocolate, a cup of coffee that didn’t taste right, a cup of tea that hadn’t been brewed long enough and half a cup of hot chocolate! We didn’t have to pay the full price though.
We headed back to the hostel and were free for the rest of the morning. There was an optional guided tour at 14:00. We rearranged our tent and got ready. We met our hosts and the tour guide by Saint Martin’s cathedral. Landshut was the perfect place to be in July 2017 because of the “Landshuter Hochzeit 1475”. Translated as “Landshut Wedding”, it is one of the largest historical pageants in Europe. It commemorates the wedding between Hedwig, the polish King’s daughter and George, the son of the Duke of Bavaria at Landshut. The original medieval wedding is re-enacted every four years. There are medieval jousting, pageantry, feasting and wedding processions for a few weeks in the summer.
There was a beautiful atmosphere in Landshut. As we walked for our guided tour, we stopped to watch performances and learn a lot about the town and the history of this festival. After the tour, we had free time to explore Landshut. Heike gave us ticket for an entrance to the Camp ground that evening. There was lots of food and drinks on sale and a great atmosphere. We had split into smaller groups and randomly saw each other in town. After the grounds, we went to Cafe Bistro where we had a few drinks and danced.
On Sunday, we packed our bags and got ready to go wait for the bridal pageant. Because of the number of people on the street and the closing of the roads before the pageant, we had to leave earlier and reserve a great spot on the main road. I went to the cathedral and attended a beautiful mass presided by a Bishop in Bavaria.
The pageant was similar to nothing we had seen before. There were various people marching in Medieval costumes (dressed as noblemen, citizens, servants and poor people). Some groups would be playing instruments, waving to the crowd, playing with flags. One thing in common with most of them is that they constantly shouted “Hallooo” and “Himmel Landshut, tausend Landshut”.
After the beautiful time spent in Landshut, we drove to Munich. We stayed at “the tent” which was different from all the other scouts homes/ hostels we had used. The tent is a unique place to stay in munich with travellers from around the world in a laid back atmosphere. They have big bed tents (with bunked beds), floor tents and group tents and plenty of space for travellers to use their own tents. The place had a beer garden, lockers, showers and a kitchen. The Kitchen was the place where I socialised the most with other tourist. Conversations would be anything from “I don’t think you need all that water for one packet of couscous” to “where are you from?”.
We arrived at the tent so late the first evening, we had pizzas for dinner. We had our reflections and had some free time. On Morning, we went to Dachau concentration camp. It was the first of the Nazi concentration camps in Germany intended to hold political prisoners. We received audio guides and were free to visit the camp and museums. We agreed to meet two hours later. The visit was quite emotional and two hours can’t possibly contain all the history behind this place.
After the concentration camp, we headed to Munich technical University. We had lunch in their cafeteria. Then we met some master students who introduced us to their concept for the IGEM competition. We asked them various questions. Afterwards, we went to another campus where we went down the slides. When we left the campus, we went food shopping and got back to “the tent”.
We started working on a painting for Gerlinde, a lady from the scouts office who is retiring this year. We used finger paint and drew a tree and we each got to draw an animal. We got back to the tent, had dinner, reflections, then free time. I spent the evening playing “Uno” with Heike, Flo and Lukas. On Tuesday, we went to Zugpitse. We had fun skiing down the slope. We had each packed our own lunch. We used the cable car to go right up Zugpitse. We arrived at the highest point in Germany and got to cross over to Austria and back to Germany.
We headed to Fussen. we got to see the Neuschwanstein castle and the Hohenschwangau castle. It was raining, so we didn’t stay long.
We got back to the tent, had dinner, reflections, and finished up Gerlinda’s the painting.
On Wednesday Morning, we were saying goodbye to Lukas who was going to prepare for his exam coming up on Friday. Lukas added a lot of fun to our trip, his sarcasm was uplifting and his “know it all” attitude set him apart. It was very sad to say our farewell to him. Koki, Pulane and I asked him to tie a friendship knot on our scarves which we hope to keep for as long as we can.
We went to the Bavarian Parliament. We were shown around and had a lovely lunch at the restaurant. We quietly went in during the parliament session after which we got to meet the Vice President of the Bavarian parliament. We thanked Reinhold for the tour. We changed out of our formal uniform into casual clothes and went into town. We were free to go shopping and agreed to meet at Stachus at 17:00.
We went to a restaurant for dinner and went back to the tent. I exchanged my guider’s scarf with Caro’s international scarf.
On Thursday morning, we had all our rucksacks loaded on to the trucks. We went to visit the BMW world. After that, we had lunch in the park. We had final reflection with “our german”. We gave them wines, badges, woggles and the scrap book we made for them. We went to the airport and said our goodbyes which were very emotional for some.