Woke up early, boarded the train, then the plane and we are quickly off to Amsterdam. Here we would connect to our flight that would finally send us home. Its a bit bittersweet leaving, but I feel I’m ready to get home…
But apparently the world isn’t ready for me to go home. We got loaded onto our last plane early and it seemed like we would even get home early. Then the pilot got on the intercom. The was a problem with the luggage hatch light and would soon be fixed. That “soon” turned into a half hour, then an hour, and then eventually 3 hours. They let us get off the plane and gave us a bunch of snacks. After another hour of waiting they said the flight would be canceled. Delta airlines told us to go to the transfer desk to get hotel accommodations and info on the flight. So now we hop on a bus to this hotel which turns out to be wonderful. Brand new fancy rooms and on top of that a nice fancy dinner on deltas bill. I’d rather be home right now, but I can deal with this.
Is our last day in Munich. Also or last day in Europe all together. We were allowed to use the entire day to our choosing, so I did what every other runner visiting Munich would have done, visit the Olympic Stadium. This was the sight was the host of the 1972 Olympics, known for the terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes mid-games. For the Americans, most remember Mark Spitz’s seven gold medal run. For any runner though, this Olympics is most well known as the only Olympics the great Steve Prefontaine was able to compete in. Maybe the most well known distance runner in american history took fourth in the 5000 meters at these games at the age of 21, though having a bad race. His legacy is based mostly on what he could have been because before the next Olympics took place he was tragically killed in an auto accident. I was able to walk around the stadium he ran in and could just picture him taking the bold lead he did mid race amongst much more experienced veterans. Its bone chilling when you think of all the history that took place in that building.
To finish out the day the entire group got together at the world famous Hofbrauhaus for dinner. A legendary German beer hall that even housed Hitler for a while in his rise to power. Loud talking amongst the authentic polka band made you feel German. On top of that I was able to down a large plate of sausages. It was a great way to finish off the trip. Tomorrow we leave early to head back to the states. I hope to write at least one more post reflecting on the trip.
The plan for Monday on the way out of Zell am See was to visit Berchtesgaden, where Hitler’s eagles nest is located, but due to rough weather or bus was not able to travel there. Even if we were able to make it, the eagles nest would not have been visible due to the fog. So instead we traveled to the city of Salzburg top roam around and grab lunch. A very impressive city with winding allies full of shops, its another place that would be great to spend a week in. After the visit we then headed out for Munich. The rest of the night was ours as we all explored the city and got to experience some true German pub food. There is one word to describe German food: meat. Everything contains either ox or pig, and everything tastes good.
Also staying in our hostel is bethel’s World War I class taught by Chris Gehrz. Today, which was a “explore the city” day for our class, me and Ryan decided to tag along with Dr. Gehrz and his class as they toured the origins of the Nazi party. We visited the places Hitler lived in his rise to power add well as many of the places his speeches and rallies took place. It was extremely interesting as it involved Dr. Gehrz’s ivy league knowledge and quirkyness. The day was not complete without another German pub dinner.
When taking German classes in high school, or teacher would talk about how restaurants in Germany are very casual and it is not unusual to sit with strangers. I thought that was maybe a tend of the past until dinner tonight. The group of six we had walked in and the server took us to a table and told the three guys already there to scoot down. Then an older man walked in and he added him to the end of our table. The party of six is now ten. Dinner was great, but the conversation made the dinner even better. The three men were college students from Switzerland on a weekend vacation. We talked about college differences between nations and how Minnesota is kind of in the middle of nowhere, USA. The older man was a pub regular end the guts on the other end had good conversation with him. The night left is happy and as all German food does: heavy.
Square of many of Hitler's rallies
Today is the day. To quote the Grinch: “the sun is shinin’ and the powders bitchin.” I finally was able to live my dream and go snowboarding outside the Midwest. And what better place to that than the Alps? When it takes 3 gondolas to get to the top of the mountain, you know you’re in heaven. The runs are long and tiring, making them amazing. We got to spend the entire day at the mountain and even then I wasnt able to cover all the runs. We hit some backcountry runs that had so much snow and powder that the top of the trees only poked out a couple feet. That means the ground was still a good 10+ feet below us. By the time each run ended your legs were shot and you got to recharge on the long ride back up. These hills put Minnesota to shame, but I’m content with what we have. The runs are a fraction of the length but there is no chance of you getting lost… which we did a couple times. But that didn’t stop us from going all Johnny Tsunami on the place.
Overlooking Zell am See
Woke up today in Germany and we headed out right away. We are on or easy to Austria, but we had to make one stop first: the Dachau concentration camp. When you talk about WWII you can’t go without discussing the holocaust. But here with the feelings I had walking through, I feel it best not to talk much about it. The horrors of walking through what was once a gas chamber just leaves the heart sickened. 6 million Jews were killed throughout all the camps.
After the camp visit we headed straight to Austria. The majority of the trip wound through the mountains of the Alps. In just a few short hours I will be skiing down those mountains. Along the way we got to enjoy numerous quotes from the movie Dumb and Dumber regarding the mountains. John Denver should have wrote about the Alps.
Finally the day has come to put my years of German in high school to good use. We crossed into Germany in the midst of a 7 hour bus ride from Belgium to Augsburg, which is right outside of Munich. Germany contains a truly remarkable landscape. By the end of the ride my neck was stiff from turning to look out the window so many times. The entire route was either long rolling plains or snow covered forests on the banks of mountains. At one point we wound around a mountain while ascending. It was the kind of sights you only see on the travel channel or on a Rick Steves special. When we stopped for lunch I was finally able to use my language capabilities. I gave my full order in German, all the way down to the smallest detail. The cashier then responded in English with, “your total is 3,07€.” Not as authentic as I wanted, but the time will come. I ended with a “danke schöne” and ate my meal.
Tomorrow we get to visit the Dachau concentration camp and then head out to Zell am See, Austria, another German speaking nation. Only 5 days left. Tschüs!
One week from today I will be on a plane back to the great state of Minnesota. The past two weeks have flown by. We visited a couple sights today similar to yesterday so I am going to take this post to talk about some of the leadership qualities we have discussed as a class. The three today are: respect and integrity.
Integrity is all about being honest. 1 lie usually leads to at least 3 more lies. This means the more you lie, the harder it becomes to stop lying. Often times our lies are harmless and pointless, but bad lies can expand like a wildfire. To gain the trust of other people we need to show that we have the integrity that deserves that trust. An example we discussed is the Bethel Covenant for living. It states that while attending Bethel we cannot drink. Is it bad to have an alcoholic drink? When you’re off age, no. But by agreeing to the covenant we are given the opportunity to live in an environment that lets us not worry about the problems that alcohol could bring. Guidelines cause freedom. Integrity causes freedom.
Respect is crucial in leadership and in being a part of any group. A respectful person doesn’t look down upon others. They shoe respect for their duties. They show respect for their gifts and their teammates gifts. Respecting your gifts means not looking at others and wanting what they have. The gifts we have been given have been given to us for a reason. It is our job to use them rather that show jealousy for others. We need to respect or opponents. In sports if you feel you are better than your opponent, you may not give everything you have. By taking it easy you are being disrespectful to your opponent and they may build on that to defeat you. So this raisers the question: does respect need to be earned? Should it be given no matter what? Can you lose respect for someone? Think about it.