A group of Sparta German students recently returned from a tour of southeastern Germany with an excursion through the Alps to Salzburg, Austria. The group of 16 students along with their German teachers, Joe Cook and Lori Hagen, flew June 6 from Chicago to Frankfurt.
The trip started with two nights in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is one of the most well preserved walled cities in Germany. Students were able to walk the wall, visit museums such as the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum and see an ornate 500-year-old Riemenschneider altarpiece by the Michelangelo of German woodcarvers.
Nürnberg was the next stop enroute to München. Students had the opportunity to walk through the city’s old town, open air market as well as taking in streets of Gothic structures. Historical sites including the rally grounds, Reichsparteitagsgelände, were an eye opening experience as well.
|Sparta High School students in the main train station in Munich.|
The last five nights were spent in München, a city of 1.5 million with a small town feel. Some of the students’ favorites include the Alte Pinakothek, which showcases Bavaria's best collection of European masterpieces from the 14th through 18th centuries. The Marienplatz, a pedestrian zone in the heart of the city with the Frauenkirche towering over its shoppers and diners, was the biggest hit with the students; their jaw dropping expressions were priceless.
Train travel was a first time experience for many of the students as the train system was used to travel to Dachau and Petershausen. The first concentration camp was built in Dachau in 1933. Today, there are many memorials, a museum detailing the horrors that occurred there and a documentary.
At the Alps, the students rode via bus through the winding mountain roads and photographed many beautiful overlooks. On the way to Salzburg students toured the Documentation Center of Obersalzberg, which is an historic site focusing on the history on National Socialism. Students toured the bunker system built in 1943- 1945 that are connected to the Eagle’s Nest. The bunker, which was formerly only accessible to the U.S. Army, is now open to the public.
The final destination was Salzburg, Austria. The Hohensalzburg Fortress tour, the old town, Mozart’s second residence and Sound of Music hot spots were a hit with the students. The hustle and bustle of this city was a great way to wrap up the group’s daily excursions.
“It was wonderful watching the students gain confidence over the course of the trip and to truly interact with the locals in German. We value the language usage in many aspects of our trips from German language tours to our daily meetings with the students. They have many valuable lessons and stories to share,” Hagen said.