recently returned from an exchange visit to the beautiful region of
Franconia in Southern Germany, I have nothing but praise for the
organizers in both countries. for making our trip so memorable and
Unlike a package holiday, with an exchange trip you are given the opportunity of meeting a whole variety of local people in their own homes and to sample their very generous hospitality. You are able to enjoy
authentically cooked local food provided by the host families, rather than the type of meals a restaurant might serve up, especially for tourists.
Because our German hosts are familiar with their own region, we are able to visit lesser known places of interest that might not be available to us had we been on an organized tour. In particular I am thinking of our visit to the monastery at Plankstetten where a sprightly 84 year old Mark gave us a very interesting and amusing tour. We enjoyed a tastily prepared “ecological lunch” made entirely from produce famed by the monks in the grounds surrounding the monastery. This was followed by a tranquil walk along the canal and a short boat trip to a very [pretty village, which included more walking with a local guide. The day was rounded off by a huge meal in a local hostelry and back to base by coach.
Our days were very busy and reasonably energetic, and I am delighted to say that despite eating copious amounts of food and drink, I came home 2lb lighter in weight.
On the whole the weather was superb, apart from the first day or two when we experienced one or two heavy showers, one of which, naturally, occurred during our visit to an open air concert of classical music. In true English fashion we all remained seated uncomplainingly, but one has to say, so did the Germans. So we are not the only stoics.
My overwhelming impression of the local people is their friendliness. Any effort to communicate in German is enthusiastically appreciated.
However, I am not sure that I did much for Anglo-German relations, when, in my halting German, I said to one lady on the train, who was carrying a rather frail but cute-looking dog.” Are you old?” rather than “is it old?” Fortunately she understood what I meant and was not offended.
My wish for the future is that exchange trips could be extended to other countries, in particular France and Spain, and although my knowledge of both languages is minimal I am willing to assist anybody who wishes to accept the challenge.
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