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Germany. What can I say? It was absolutely beautiful. I landed in Frankfurt, Germany after nine, yes nine, hours in a plane. My parents and I rented a car from Avis, and drove down to Heidelberg, about an hour south on the Autobahn. Heidelberg is where I was born, which made it exciting for me to go and see. There is a beautiful castle in the town, and in mid-July, there is an event called the Lighting of the Castle where the entire castle is lit up, and fireworks go off above it. It is absolutely stunning. We left Heidelberg, making our way to Rothenberg, the walled city. It was interesting because they have a Medieval Crime Museum, as well as shops all over. We only spent a day in Rothenberg, and went from there to Dachau. Dachau was probably the saddest part of my trip. We went to the concentration camp- the first one built, and took a tour. Let me tell you, it is not for the faint-hearted; however, it is something that I feel everyone needs to see.

But on to happier memories. From Dachau, my parents and I made our way to Berchtesgaden, Germany. I can honestly say it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my whole life. We stayed in a guest house and could see the Alps out of our window. We went to Lake Königssee, also known as the King’s Sea. There is a boat tour that you can take that travels all the way down the lake, with one stop in the middle if you want to get off and shop (we didn’t). Or you can go all the way to the end of the lake and get off (what we did), and walk for about ten minutes through lush green forest to another, smaller lake, named Lake Obersee. If you thought that the Königssee was beautiful, you have not even come close to Lake Obersee. It came straight out of a fairy tale. The Alps surround the lake, and when we went, the fog was low on the mountains, giving a mysterious look to the whole scene. It was absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately, we could not stay.

We went on to see Neuschwanstein, the “Cinderella” castle and the Linderhof, both built by King Ludwig II. At Neuschwanstein, there is a bridge that you can walk to to get a glimpse of the castle from far away. It is so worth the walk. After the castles and staying at the Edelweiss Lodge in Garmisch, we went to the Bodensee, also known as Lake Constance. We only stayed for a day, and then we went to Pirmasens, after stopping at Hohenzollern, the Prussian-Swabbian imperial castle. In Pirmasens, we saw Bewartstein, the haunted castle, Alt Dahn, the castle from the 1100s, and Trifels, the castle where Richard the Lionheart was said to have been imprisoned. We went up to Bacharach after Pirmasens, and it was gorgeous. The buildings were so old they were leaning, and it was right on the Rhine River, making a beautiful backdrop for the town. The cobblestone streets and quaint shops made it a great “last day” in Germany.

The best part about this trip was being able to see where my parents spent some of their Army time, and being able to see the same things that they did, as well as seeing where I was born. The one thing I will say, though, is make sure you can read a map of Germany if you sit in the front seat of the rental car!

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