Day 12: Firsts and Lasts

We got on a bus in the morning to take us to a traditional Bavarian breakfast in a small town in the country. The restaurant is the only one of its kind in the world. It certainly looked like one-of-a-kind when we walked in. The ground was uneven, the tables were bright orange and peeling, and nearly everyone in there was drinking beer. When we walked in, we looked very out of place among the country folk. Pretzels were brought to the table and I wolfed down two of them because I was so hungry. One thing I noticed, though, about Bavarian pretzels compared to American soft pretzels is that Bavarian pretzels are served at room temperature. I have had the Bavarian pretzels before, but I guess I never realized what was so different about them until today.

The next item came and it was traditional Bavarian sausage, which came in long links and you are not supposed to eat the skin, but I was not brave enough to try any.

After filling our stomachs, we went to the small town of Oberammergau. It is nestled in the Alps and known for its reenactment of the passion of Christ which it puts on once every 10 years. It was cloudy outside, so we decided to explore the town first and then later we would ride a gondola up to the top of a mountain. Obviously the first thing we did when let loose was find the first ice cream place and get some dessert. Then, we went wandering around into gift shops to look for souvenirs. The strange thing about all the souvenir shops was that they all had a relatively large selection of knives. One store had katanas for sale, another had assorted daggers, and one had a prominent display of Swiss Army knives. I thought it was cool, but it was certainly unusual.

When we all reconvened, we had a debate on whether we should or shouldn’t go up the mountain because it was still encased in a cloud. Fortunately, there were very strong proponents of mountain climbing and we ended up going up the mountain; I am sure glad that we did. The ride up was long because the mountain was just so high. Our gondola just had a service dog in it before we got in, and it smelled strongly of dog food. Fortunately, there was a small hatch to let the dog smell out and fresh air in or else I may have suffocated. One person in my gondola going up was afraid of heights so it must have been slightly terrifying for them. I’m personally good with heights so I was excited. When we finally got up to the top, we had an amazing view looking down one side of the mountain. The other side, however, was entirely obscured by clouds and it was all white. We struck some heroic poses at the summit and took some good pictures including a fun selfie of the entire group. On the gondola ride down the mountain, my group had a fantastic time. Someone started playing “Sweet Caroline” and we all belted it out, complete with the “Let’s go Pitt.” After that song was over, we put on “Don’t Stop Believing” and sung out hearts out. Finally, when we were approaching the bottom, we knew we needed a really great song so we put on and chose “Stacy’s Mom.”

On the way back to Augsburg, a few people began to share their favorite “lateral thinking” puzzles. In such a puzzle, a situation is given and the people who don’t know how the situation came to be are allowed to ask yes-or-no questions to the story teller until they figure out the puzzle. Usually, the puzzle involves some sort of trick or requires you to think outside of the box. These riddles entertained us for the entire bus ride back and more.

Once we got back, we got ready for the farewell dinner and trekked to the Ratskeller restaurant underneath the Town Hall. I got schnitzel and sincerely enjoyed it. We gave our gifts to the German students in our group and recalled all the fun times we have had on the trip so far. It was hard saying goodbye to the German students, Simon, and Sonja. We took one last group picture and at the insistence of the entire group, we got Dr. Feick to lie down on the stairs in front of all of us. We all had a good laugh at that. Then we went our separate ways.

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