Ok sorry for the lapse in blogging for the last few days… We were staying at a youth hostel that had no internet! But I will get all of the missing days posted soon now that I’ve got internet again. 

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Today was a very walk filled day! My travel group split into parts and mine drove to Ludwig’s castes. It was only a two hour drive from Freising and the cost to tour both castles was reasonable. For a guided tour of both castles we payed 20 Euros. Even though the larger castle is only about 130 years old, some of the blocks have begun to crumble and are in need of repair. All of the walls, including ceilings, were covered in beautiful murals and the common rooms were decorated with large gold, silver, and jeweled presents given to Ludwig II. Unfortunately, he only lived in it about 170 days before he was overthrown in 1886. Because of this, around two-thirds of the rooms in the castle remain unfinished and are not open to the public.

Lugwigs Castle

Castle of Ludwig’s Parents

The other castle was the home to Ludwig’s parents and has several rooms on the king and queen’s floors open for touring. Again, the walls were covered in extremely detailed murals and the halls were adorned with lavish jewels and accessories. It was definitely worth the money to see inside both castles. But be warned!! The walk up to Ludwig’s castle, not his parent’s, is all up hill and very long, so if you are a little put off by that be sure to either take a bus or take the horse carriage ride.

After the tours of the castles, we hit up several of the souvenir shops for some much needed shopping time!! Next we headed out of town and into Austria to drive around the back of the mountains that we saw on the drive in and to see the back side of German’s tallest mountain: Zugspitze elevation – 2,962 meters (9,700 ft). It was a pretty cool site for a picture and we got to drive through Austria so that was an added bonus!

Me in front of Germany’s highest mountain!

Tomorrow we are getting back into the groove of getting up early and headed out to tour various mills and institutes. It should be exciting to see some of the best institutes in the local area!!

Wow….All I have to say is that if you are ever in Germany and feel comfortable with it you should visit on the of the WWII concentration camp memorials. It was a very enlightening thing to experience and quite a few of our group were shaken after watching a video offered by the Dachau museum.

Memorial to Unknown Prisoners

We got there right when they opened and there were very few people there so it was easier to get around and see what you wanted. The information center offered a guided audio tour for 2.5 euros if you have a student ID and it was well worth the price. The machine told you more about the various sights you encountered around the memorial as well as provided survivors accounts for you to listen too.

Walking down between the barracks

After a heavy morning, we set off to explore the inner city of Munich and visit its world famous Hofbräuhaus. The HB offered some amazing food and a fun atmosphere for those who were willing to walk around a bit looking for a table. I would say if you have time to go in if only for a little while to experience it.

Old Cathedral in Munich

Not much else went on after that. We all walked around in separate groups, each looking at different things. The group I was with just wandered around downtown and enjoyed the nice weather. It being Sunday, only restaurants were open but we did some window shopping anyway! After fighting to figure out the Munich train system we made it on the right train and had an amuzing ride home. If you visit, be prepared to encounter some serisously funny chatacters along the way 🙂

Old Building in Munich

Well that’s all here for now. Tomorrow we are splitting off into two groups; one group will visit the Eagle’s Nest and the other will venture to Neuschwanstein castles for the day. Either way should present some good photo opportunities and great views!

After a super busy week of non-stop meetings, Saturday started off our three day holiday weekend! After checking out of our castle hotel we followed the owner on the autobahn to what was left of one of the old check points between east and west Germany. It was surreal to stand there and think about the desperation people felt while trying to leave East Germany only to be caught when cars were throughly inspected at the border. While the check point is not in mint condition, it is still a good place to go and see. They have pamphlets and other information in English as well as several other languages, and they have an audio-tour that you can do was well. The rest of the drive went well and the views were amazing! Driving from northern to southern Germany our scenic view varied widely.

Check point between East and West Germany

After several pit stops for food and fuel we made it to Freising! Freising is about a 45 minute train ride from Munich and offers visitors a great alternative to trying to find a hotel in the city. We went and explored the town square for dinner and ate at the local Hofbräuhaus or brewery. The food was great as usual but others in our group decided they wanted something more ‘exciting’ so they ended up at an Indian restaurant down the street. No matter what kind of food type you are looking for, you will be able to find something somewhere.

The evening went on with us all meeting up in Freising’s downtown and spent the several remaining daylight hours exploring though most of the shops where closed due to the time and day of the week. Oh! Random fact, this time of year here it seems to stay lighter much later sometimes 7-830pm. However, the sun also rises very early around 4:30 or 5am so if you need it to be dark to sleep you should bring something to cover your eyes!

Well that’s it for me for the night. Tomorrow we are going to be visiting the KZ- Gedenkstatte Dachau or the Dachau concentration camp. Later we will be taking on the train system and heading to Munich to spend the day. Here’s wishing us luck that we make it and don’t get off on the wrong train stop!!

Wow, what an amazing end to our first week here in Germany!! After spending the night in the castle and having a delicious breakfast at its’ restaurant we set off for visit the German Milling School. I learned a lot about how the German school system works and how it differs from the U.S. For instance, did you know that in Germany many people don’t continue on to a univesity but rather have apprenticeships and then can go on to more advanced technical schools?

We were able to sit down and talk with some of the students from the school and it was great to hear what they think about our school system and how the two systems were different. I have to admit though, I was stumped when asked how to explain what exactly my major is to someone who has never heard of such a thing as animal science!

After spending the morning chatting with our new friends we headed off to a different part of Braunschweig. Also an intersting side note, I was told today that what I thought were small towns were all actually very spread out parts of Braunschweig, the city we are staying in. That threw me off a little because there were times where we drove through nothing but fields between the ‘towns’ but somehow they are all connected.

Street Sign

On the subject of driving, I would definitely take the time to look up German street signs and the like if you are planing on visiting and driving. I can’t even begin to list the times we got lost or made a wrong turn because we had no idea what a sign had meant or said!

We visited another nifty open air museum today that featured various types of old era mills and also wooden models of mills. It was called Mühlenmuseum Gifhorn. It was about a 50 minute drive from where we were staying but it was worth the travel time. There were over 50 different buildings for you to explore as well as an onsite bakery that featured fresh baked bread!

Old Mill

Anyway, tomorrow we are headed off to Munich for the holiday weekend. I can’t wait to see what kind of places we stumble upon there! It will be an unforgettable weekend without a shadow of a doubt!

After an interesting breakfast at the hostel, we headed off in search of Kahl’s headquarters. It took a few wrong turns and a couple of guesses but eventually we made our way to their facility. We went on a tour of several of their machine manufacturing buildings and learned a ton of information about what types of machines they make and what they are used for!

If you are going to go on a solo study abroad trip, I would highly recommend talking with your major advisor and other faculty to see if they can put you in contact with people in industry in the places you are planning on visiting. For most of the companies that we visted on this trip, someone at KSU had a contact within the company that made tours and lectures possible. So if you are going alone, this might also be a big help as the companies often provided us with recommendations for housing, sites to visit, and places to eat!

After spending the morning at the Kahl headquarters, we then started an afternoon tour of the Hamburg harbor. We were given a private tour of several coffee and cocoa bean storage faculties. The amount of cocoa beans being stored in one room was astounding! We learned a lot about the coffee trading business as well about commodity trading in Germany. A visit to the Hamburg harbor region is a must if you are in the city! The harbor is full of ships of all kinds: cruise liners, storage tankers, sailboats, steamboats and skiffs. I would highly recommend a harbor boat tour if you don’t mind getting a little wet! The pilot was able to give us an up-close look at the vessels and provide us with fun facts about Hamburg and the harbor.

Hamburg Harbor View Cityscape

After spending an afternoon out in the sun, I was remembering all the items I forgot to pack. Take my advice; no matter where you are visiting always take sunscreen and aloe vera even if the weather is supposed to be mild and cloudy. There is nothing worse than being four days into a trip and already having to deal with sunburn.

Anyway after another long day spent learning more about the milling industry we headed off to a new town. We are staying in a castle where the oldest rooms date back to the 1200s! We arrived after dark and haven’t got to see much of the property yet but so far everything has been nice and hopefully tomorrow will be less hectic and there will be time to explore!