Big Walnut students tour Germany

Tour turns into unplanned adventure

By Lenny C. Lepola

For The Gazette

Big Walnut High School German language teacher Georgia Craig and her students had a bit more of an adventure than they planned on during their summer tour of Germany.

Craig said the trip got off to a challenging start June 15 when storms in Chicago forced their flight to be canceled after a long day of waiting at the airport in Columbus.

“We were just grateful not to be stuck in Chicago overnight with a group of 23,” Craig said. “Our tour company, EF Educational Tours, rebooked us two days later and managed to get us all on the same flight overseas with short notice, so we flew out on the 17th of June.”

Craig said they were worried that the two-day delay would not work with the group’s planned itinerary, and whether it was going to be possible to get those two days back.

“Through lots of collaboration and coordination with the tour company’s American and European offices, we got our two days back with an extension in Berlin,” Craig said. “We also experienced a delay in getting our luggage, but it all finally arrived.”

The students’ trip began in Munich where they toured the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady), Marienplatz (St. Mary’s Square), and climbed the 308 steps to the top of the Alter Peter, Old Pete or Saint Peter’s, the oldest church in Munich. They toured the BMW showcase room where they saw new BMW models coming out, and observed surfers on River Isar.

“We were also able to dress like traditional salt miners as we traveled to Salzburg, Salt Mountain,” Craig said. “We rode a miner’s train into the mountain and learned about the importance and wealth of salt during medieval times. We went from one level in the salt mines to the next by sliding down wooden slides that were five and six stories high.”

They also traveled to Neuschwanstein Castle, the castle after which Walt Disney modeled the Disney Castle. Craig said that while the students were at the castle they learned about the strange life of King Ludwig, who built the castle, and about his mysterious death, which still remains an unsolved mystery. After Munich and Salzburg, the students traveled on a high-speed train to Berlin.

“Interestingly enough, the train ride was delayed for 45 minutes due to a brush fire on the tracks,” Craig said. “This was just another unusual element to our trip, as no one on the train, Americans and Germans alike, had ever had a train ride delayed for a brush fire. There were no worries, we were never in any danger, nor did we ever get close to the actual fire.”

In Berlin students toured the Holocaust memorial and Checkpoint Charlie Museum, and also had the opportunity to tour the Topography of Terror, a memorial located on the site of the Nazi Gestapo headquarters.

“One evening we went to see the movie ‘Jurassic World’ in German,” Craig said. “The adult participants in the group were good sports, even though they did not understand German. After all, dinosaurs don’t speak German either.”

Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093. Email: [email protected].

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