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Food Travels Germany - Ashley Mignogna

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Posted: June 13, 2012

Today’s world is becoming increasingly more globalized, so it is very important for us to realize we aren’t the only ones here and that we all contribute something to the world. We share our resources and products with one another to make the world complete. This was such an amazing experience and I am truly blessed to have been able to participate.
Ashley at the Heidelberg Castle with the town in the background.

Ashley at the Heidelberg Castle with the town in the background.

In May of 2012 I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Germany.  This was a short term study abroad with an embedded course at the campus.  In the months leading up to the trip we met twice to go over the requirements of the course and get to know one another.  For some of us this was our first trip abroad.  We discussed some of the things we would need to take with us.  In Germany, they have higher voltage plugs and a different shaped outlet so we needed to go over the things we wouldn’t be able to use while there and the type of adapter we would need for the plugs.  Our trip was quickly approaching and we were all anxious to go abroad.  The weather in Germany is very similar to our own.  It rained twice while we were there and the temperature was fairly moderate.  It varied day to day some days were a lot warmer than the others.  It averaged around 65 degrees.

On Monday May 7 we met at the Altoona campus to board the bus to Washington DC.  Our flight left DC at 5:30 PM.   Our flight arrived in Munich, Germany at 7:50 am on Tuesday May 8 after an almost nine hour flight.  The time in Germany is six hours ahead of what it is here.  Upon our arrival we boarded a bus with our travel guide, Jan, and headed to Beim Sedlmayr to enjoy a traditional Bavarian breakfast.  MignognaGermany1.pngThis breakfast was nothing like what you are thinking it would be.  It consisted of two large soft pretzels, two white veal sausages, and sparkling apple juice.   The sausage was very soft compared to ours; it also had a very thin outer layer that needed peeled off the sausage before it was eaten.  After this we continued our first day with a walking tour of Munich and checked into our hotel in Rosenheim.

We spent our first night in Rosenheim and ate a traditional dinner including pork, sauerkraut, potato dumpling, and bread dumplings.   On day two we visited an organic farm complex called Hermannsdorfer in Glonn and the Brewery Ayinger in Aying.  After this we had free time to ourselves.  A group of us took the train to Chiemsee Lake, the largest lake in Bavaria.  Here we ate dinner along the water and had an amazing view of the Alps.                   

On day three we moved back to Munich the next morning and checked into our new hotel, The Carahotel Munchen.  After we checked in, we took another guided tour this time of the Viktualienmarkt.  The Viktualienmarkt, is a market in the center of the city that included things like fresh meat, cheese, specialty products, fruits, vegetables, crafts, and candies.  We spent the afternoon here eating lunch, talking with the locals, and doing some shopping.  In the middle of the market was a blue and white diamond Maypole.  Our tour guide told us that these are the traditional colors representing Bavaria and it is crafted with tiny scenes that depict what is happening in that particular area.  After enjoying some time in the market we walked back to the hotel where we had a guest lecture from Bayern.  This organization represents organic farming within Bavaria.  After our lecture, since we had some free time, some of the girls traveled to the Nymphemburg Palace for a visit and tour.  MignognaGermany2.pngThe palace was so beautiful! This is the main summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria.  The gardens behind the palace contained many paths through the woods around streams and lakes leading to other smaller houses that were used for different
purposes such as hunting.         

On day four we packed up our things and made our way to Heidelberg.  On the way, we stopped in Waldenbuch to visit Ritter Sport.  Ritter Sport is a chocolate factory in Germany.  This year was the 100th year anniversary; it was founded in 1912 by Alfred Ritter.  His wife Clara developed the square chocolate bar they now use. After our tour we finished our journey to Heidelberg and checked in to the Hotel Ibis. 
The next morning we took a visit to the Heidelberg castle.  This is one of the most famous of the castles.  This is where Oktoberfest originated.  This was to celebrate the King and Queen’s marriage.  They provided free beer to all the townspeople and they requested that it continue for years to come, and though the beer is no longer free it still continues today.  The castle is still used to host weddings and even local proms!                               

On Sunday, a few of us attended a Catholic mass in Heidelberg.  Naturally it was all in German so we didn’t understand much of it, but it was a very good experience and opened my eyes to a few things.  It showed how all over the world we are connected and how important cross- cultural communication is.             
Today’s world is becoming increasingly more globalized, so it is very important for us to realize we aren’t the only ones here and that we all contribute something to the world.  We share our resources and products with one another to make the world complete.  This was such an amazing experience and I am truly blessed to have been able to participate.  I’ve been asked many times since I have returned whether or not I would do it again and I have said yes without question every time.  I think these short term abroad courses are an excellent way to learn about another country and get to see it without having to go away for months.