Monday, July 14, 2008

A Sad Farewell.....

We got into Rothenburg, Germany just before dinner last night. We had a quick orientation meeting and then checked into our hotels and had dinner. We were left to explore the city for the rest of the evening and then our final staff meeting to figure out how we were going to get these kids home.

I spent the evening taking the Night Watchman tour. This was really intersting, it was just a man who dressed up as a traditional Watchman who used to roam the wall of the city throughout the night keeping the town safe. He knew a ton of history about the city and explained how daily life worked in a walled medieval city. It was really cool to see how well preserved the town was and understand what life was like when the town was first thriving.

town square

The next day was almost entirely our own, with the exception of our final concert. I spent most of it with my new friends, Josh and Melissa Toppass. We did a lot of souvenier shopping and walking the cobblestone streets. Rothenburg is the home of Kathe Wolfhardt, which is a hugh manufacturerer of handmade Christmas decorations. She had a store on every street corner and I think we went into almost everyone. We wrapped up our free time at a German sidewalk restaurant where we ate Bratwurst and German potatoes. It was delicious!

We had our final concert in the town square, just after the town clock did it's thing, demonstrating the town story of the mayor drinking a ton of wine in order to save the city. Only in Germany, I think!

the famous clock reenacting how the town was saved

I went back to the hotel to finish packing and then we ate dinner and the entire group got together for our final celebration together. Some of the buses performed sketches of their interpretations of the trip and we went over the details of tomorrow so everyone was on the same page.

walking on the wall around Rothenburg

one of the main streets from atop the wall

the other side of Rothenburg from outside the wall

I am a bit nervous about tomorrow because we have one hour to depart our gigantic plane, go through customs, recheck our luggage and instruments, and get to another terminal to board our next plane (which was going to Minneapolis!!). We will be cutting it close but we have forewarned the kids and so far when we have important situations like this, my kids have stuck close to me and we've always managed to survive.

As my time here ends, I am very thankful for the expereince and of course all the friends I have made on staff. It has been a great group to work with and it was fun to spend the last night reminiscing with some of my closest new friends. We do say that we are excited to return without 3oo high school students, but they have made the trip good as well. I can't wait to get home and share this with Ryan and my family and friends.

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