During the summer of 2009 I embarked on a trip, sponsored by EF Tours, exploring Southern Europe with my high schools’ German club. We visited three countries including: Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. The first stop on this trip was Frankfurt, Germany.
The ride to Frankfurt was the longest flight I have ever endured, and it sure as heck felt like it. When we arrived, we were immediately shoved onto a bus for Frankfurt city. The city itself was mostly for business, and lacked activities and stores common to most cities. I am reminded of a more modern Jacksonville. The “old town” of Frankfurt, however, was a little different. It consists of a large square adorned with old style German architecture. The entire thing, however, was a grand tourist center. Appeasing to the eye, but lacking in substance and culture.
After this we proceeded to Rothenberg. In order to get here we drove on the famous autobahn. This is, hands down, the nicest road I have ever seen. There is something about it that exudes elegance, and it has somehow attained a sort of sophisticated tinge not known to American roads. If you were wondering, yes cars fly down this road. All of them do.
Rothenberg is a medieval town, and therefore posses the architecture and design associated with such. It is surrounded by a large fort that protected it in the middle ages. The city itself was very quaint and peaceful, with a hillside view surrounding it. A very nice stop on the trip, as it seemed to have a calming effect, at least on me.
The next day we transferred by bus to Munich. Eventually we arrived, at my favorite stop of the trip. Munich is a wonderful city with multiple attractions, and not terribly crowded with tourists. Its town square, Marienplatz, was magnificent, surrounded by stores and overlooked by a large Gothic structure (old town hall). While staying in Munich we visited Neuschwanstein Castle, an extravagant and luxurious kingdom that was awe-inspiring to behold.
After Two days in Munich, we hopped back on the bus to Venice, Italy. The city was beautiful, especially the interweaving canals giving the city its fame. In fact, I got to take a gondola ride through the heart of the magical city (see picture, i am in the light gray shirt). Although I much enjoyed my time here, I often had a strange inkling that the city was sinking underneath my feet.
After another day in Venice we once again boarded the bus, and made our way to Lucerne, Switzerland. The elegance of this place was absolutely astounding, and it was by far the most picturesque stop on the trip. We were in the middle of the Alps, and each morning I got to overlook a vast lake of exponential beauty, below our hotel. This sight, I will never forget.
Two days later, we solemnly shuttled back to Frankfurt. By the time I got to the airport for the departure flight, I was wiped, and would sleep the majority of the seven hour flight home.
If you have ever had even the slightest urge to go to Europe, I would strongly encourage acting upon that urge.
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