I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was over 15 years ago. My grandparent’s had promised me that I would get to go to Germany and due to some health issues everyone told me I was not going to be able to go. My grandmother made me a promise and she kept her word. She overcame cancer that year and just under one month of finishing chemotherapy we were off to Germany.
I was in the fifth grade at the end of the year and my parents were not together nor do they get along well. So imagine all the cooperation it took from all parties involved to make this trip happen. Anyways, I was heading into the end of my fifth grade year and all testing was complete. I remember my mom saying “Are you sure you want to miss your fifth grade graduation?” My response was this is a trip of a lifetime. And boy was it ever a trip of a lifetime.
So, I obviously missed my fifth grade graduation and the last two weeks of school to go to Germany. I mean to me the decision was simple, go explore the world or sit in an auditorium sing songs because I made it through elementary school; Explore the world for two hundred please!
At this point I had never been on a plane let alone outside the United States. So, I boarded the plane with all kinds of emotions going through me. I was excited, nervous, and scared all at the same time. I remember boarding the plane and our seats being in the middle of the plane. I remember sitting there playing my game boy color that I had only gotten a few months before the trip. I remember this guy sitting next to me drinking to the point he was drunk but hey he slept and was great entertainment.
I remember hearing the pilot come over the speaker as we flew over Greenland. I remember how he purposely flew low so we could see the beauty of Greenland. I remember finding out on this day that Greenland is not green and Iceland is not Ice. In fact, it is quite the opposite. But boy do I remember that first flight on a plane.
As we departed the plane, I remember stopping in the airport in Germany to exchange our money for euro. That is really all I remember about the airport but I remember the trip to my aunt’s house like it was yesterday. I had never been on a fairy, but yeah that day was a day of firsts.
We crossed the Rhine River on a fairy and boy oh boy was it beautiful. All you could see for miles and miles was water and grape yards. There was nature all over the place and how clean it was. I had nor have I ever seen an area so clean before in my life. The water was crystal clear.
As we headed to my aunt’s house, I remember being on the Autobahn, I remember looking at that European house look and how beautiful the architecture was on it. I remember seeing the hills above the towns. Just beauty all around.
While in Germany, I had the opportunity to see what I call the “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang” castle (AKA Neuschwanstein Castle), the Hohenschwangau castle, the Black Forest, and the Christmas town. I am sure I saw more but that is what I can remember 15 plus years later.
I remember hearing the stories of the castles. I remember that the person who built Neuschwanstein castle did it to prove to his parent’s he was ready for the role of royalty. He built it up on a hill overlooking Hohenschwangau castle. He died just a short few years after the castle was built by a drowning incident. The story goes he drowned in just 6 inches of water. Sounds suspicious to me but who knows.
I do not remember much about the other castle because I was just excited to be in the real castle that was used in “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang”. I was interested in learning more about that castle and seeing as though I was just a child, I only listened to the things I was interested in.
The Black Forest, oh how beautiful. If I can compare the Black Forest to anything here in the United States, I would say it is comparable to the Smokey Mountains before the burning (I have not been since the burning of the park so I am not sure how it looks now).
It can be as sunny as can be outside and still look black inside the forest. It is crazy how time can slip away while you are exploring the Black Forest. I remember racing up the hill with my cousin and uncle to see who could get there first. When we got to the top my uncle bought us ice cream. What an experience this was.
At the bottom of the Black Forest are shops. I remember going into the clock shop and choosing the best clock for my dad. Wow what craftsmanship was in that shop. Every clock was handmade right there in Germany and the details that went into those clocks is just indescribable.
After going to the Black Forest, we went onto the Christmas Town and anyone who knows me well enough, knows I love Christmas time. The handmade items you could get there was amazing. I have never seen anything like it again. It is just so magical.
If ever you have an opportunity to travel, I highly suggest you consider going to Germany. The beauty there will be breath taking and the history that has survived two World Wars will just blow your mind. I know I want to go back now that I am older to appreciate it even more. I mean imagine if it left that much of an impression on me in the fifth grade, what an impression it would have on me now. Take any opportunity you have a go see the beauty of Germany.