The end of the semester is getting closer and I have five projects to complete and four exams to study for. I told myself I would take November easy, save my money, and study more frequently. However, I ended up taking a couple fun trips that were well worth the time and money. First, I decided on a whim to go on a single night trip with eight of my friends to the black forest in two cars. We stopped in Heidelberg, which is a great town to spend 4-5 hours in, and Baden-Baden, a small luxury town in the black forest. On the way to our cabin (which was more like a mansion) one of the cars nearly got stuck on a small steep road in the middle of the woods in the freezing cold rain in the middle of the night. It was a surprisingly fun experience and only made us all appreciate the nice warm cabin more when we finally arrived. We woke up to a beautiful hillside view of France. We had a nice brunch in a small town after driving through the black forest and then made our way back home.
Two days later, I was on the road again with two friends in a rental VW Golf GTI. Driving on the autobahn is an unforgettable experience. If you visit Germany, I recommend renting a car. My friends and I drove to Salzburg first and spent one full day sightseeing. The castle overlooking Salzburg has a spectacular view of the city and the Alps. We also toured the Stiegl brewery, which was my favorite brewery tour so far, and the Red Bull Hanger 7, which displays for free many land and air vehicles maintained and operated by the company. After watching Formula 1 here in Germany almost every weekend, it was one of the neatest experiences for me to see their cars just a couple feet in front of my eyes. The next day we drove through the Alps and stopped near Zell am See to go camping. We stopped at least five times on the way to take pictures. The views are absolutely breathtaking. Hiking up through the clouds later that day was equally as breathtaking. The next day, we drove to Innsbruck for the day and did some more hiking. We also took a chairlift 1.9 km up a mountain and played in the snow. That night, we drove to a small town with a cheap hostel in Germany. The next day, we stopped in Heidelberg for lunch and got home that evening. I did not have Austria on my list of places to visit but I should have. My most beautiful memories are from Austria.We also got to experience our first Christmas market in Innsbruck, which was fun. There is nothing better than delicious sauerkraut and warm mulled wine while walking through the Christmas markets on a cold winter evening.
Back home, class has been the same as always. Nothing has really changed in my area from October to November. The Christmas markets have just opened up but I have not had a chance to visit any here. Most of the vineyards have been picked dry and the leaves have gone through the fall cycle. It’s a little colder, but not much. I have way too many projects to work on and way too many tests to study for, but that is the same as back at A&M. It’s been a nice relaxing month. I had a big Thanksgiving feast with 15 non-Americans, which was tons of fun. I cooked turkey, ham, pumpkin pie, and stuffing all purchased from the US military base in Wiesbaden, and used local vegetables for the rest. It turned out delicious! A lot of people told me studying abroad flies by, but I think it has been the opposite. Looking back, it seems like forever ago when I left. I actually feel at home here in Germany now, and I know I will miss it.