This program sets you up to have amazing travels. Having the continent of Europe next door, you are able to go see some of the greatest countries and experience their cultures. During Fall break I had the opportunity to visit friends in Germany. I had no warning that I would fall in love with the country when I got there. I arrived perfectly in time to see the trees painted with bright colors on the hills that surrounded us. Germany’s Fall weather and landscape is a lot like Pennsylvania, so it reminded me of back home. During the break I was staying with my friends, the McDonald family. They were so nice and hospitable, making sure I had a full German experience with delicious food and also historic sites to see.
As a family, the first place we went to visit was the city of Trier. This is the oldest city in Germany, being founded in 16BC by the Roman Empire. As we entered the city we were confronted by a big Roman stone gate. This gate structure had two large towers that were three stories tall, with windows and big doors for protection. The next reconstructed building from the original Roman times was the largest bathhouse constructed back in its era. Here the archaeologists had found tunnels underground where they would have been for the city, and we were allowed to run through and explore the different passageways. The last Roman era structure we came to was the amphitheater. This would have been this city’s own coliseum. Unlike the one in Rome, this is a smaller scale one, in the valley of smaller hills. The seating the people would have enjoyed was wherever they could find a spot on the hills looking down. The neat thing about this amphitheater was that it had a basement level under the ground floor. Here warriors or animals would have been waiting for the upcoming fights. This gets even better in that the Roman architecture was so advanced and precise, that when they were digging up the site, the basement level still held the dirt floor above with its original wooden support beams. This city is only a glimpse of the deep history of Germany.
We later visited the city of Frankfurt and saw old cathedrals and churches. These German cathedrals often have towers you can climb to get to an observatory deck. So 378 steps up a spiral staircase later, we had an beautiful view of the city of Frankfurt.
Our travels also included cultural places that were not strictly German. For instance, one day we discovered a traditional Japanese garden, which was amazing.
My last day there we decided to go to Heidelberg to see a Christmas shop and visit the castle. As we came up to the city, we saw the old castle looming above the city on a hill. We decided to find the Christmas shop before heading up to the castle. Taking our time to find the shop, we wandered around the city finding old churches and cathedrals. Heidelberg has a lot of history since it was an important location for the Reformers in Germany.
There are many more places in Germany we could have visited, which gives me a reason to go back. But not every day we went out traveling. Some of my favorite times in Germany were spent around the dinner table or playing board games at home. The greatest blessing of all was the chance to take a break from school, be able to travel, and invest in my friendships with fellow believers.