The last stop on our trip was Rothenburg, Germany. This was the only place on the entire trip that wasn't rainy. The weather was a lot like Hawaii. It was very warm like Hawaii, but it wasn't very humid at all, which was nice.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber is located in Bavaria, Germany. It is well-known for its well preserved medieval old town. It's also part of the Romantic Road, which is a route of picturesque old town that were once a part of a trade route that connected central Germany to the south.
I don't remember what hotel we stayed at, but it was in the Old Town, because we were very close to the clock tower.
In fact, we performed right under the clock tower, which is right in the main square.
The town itself was one of those super picturesque European towns, with beautiful old buildings that reminded me of gingerbread houses and Grimm's fairytale towns. There was a Christmas store in this town, and I bought three ornaments there. Very delicate, celestial themed ornaments, made of wood and fluff. One looks like an angel made of one feather, holding a star and singing. Another looks like a baby on a star covered with a cloud blanket, and the last one is a small child on a crescent moon floating on a cloud. They are so dang cute, but they are definitely looking their age. The fluff has turned yellow, but other than that are in good shape. I put them on my tree every year (way out of the reach of my cats).
There was also a woodworking shop that sold boxes and pens and anything you could think of, all completely hand made. You could purchase things and get them personalized by woodburning a name or whatever you liked onto the item. I got my mom a pretty pen that looks like a flower. In hindsight, I should have put "Trudy" instead of "mom." lol
I wonder who took this picture of us? That's one of my BFF's, Vicky, to my left, and my friend Kris to my right. We are still friends to this day. The guy all the way on the right is Robin, and I couldn't tell you what his last name is. But he was from Oahu, and he was fun!
The rest of the pics are pictures of our performances. We would play as an orchestra, and then there was also a smaller ensemble that was a jazz band. There were hula dancers that performed while we played, which makes me wonder how I took this picture...
Maybe I gave my camera to my sister or something. No idea. which makes me also wonder who took this picture of me and my friend Brent dancing...
Here are some of the instructors and a tourist getting a hula lesson:
And more tourists having some hula fun!
Wow, I didn't realize how many people actually stopped to watch!
We left very early the next morning and drove on the bus to Amsterdam, where we departed from. Sadly, we didn't get to look at Amsterdam at all, but I can technically say that I went there. lol Overall, the tour took about two weeks, and it was utterly exhausting. There was a cold going around from the beginning of the trip, and I managed to avoid it until the very last day. So I was completely miserable on the plane ride home. We had a one-night layover in Seattle, but also didn't get to explore. Either way, we were all too tired to do so. And we were also really, really excited to eat meat. A bunch of us went to Jack in the Box and got huge burgers, and they were delicious.
I think, at my age now, I would not be able to do a tour like this again. I've learned, after a lot more traveling, that I rather do things on my own time, in my own way. We were really rushed through a lot of places that I would have liked to have spent more time, like the Louvre, Versailles, Venice...But as a teenager, I think any more time spent in these places would really try the attention span. Maybe, when we are older, Kevin and I can go back to Europe and really spend time there in the places we want, and also see some new places.
I made a lot of friends from this trip, dated two boys I met on this trip, lost some good friends on this trip, and made better friends on this trip. Friends that I still have to this day. The group from my school, I feel, didn't really make friends with any of the other students. Not all of them, of course, but I feel like that was a missed opportunity and defeated the purpose of this trip. I'm glad I was able to make connections, because a lot of them influenced my last year of high school, my college years, and my life, even now.
Clearly, this was a life changing experience for me, and one that I wish I had better memories of, and better pictures. But as corny as this may sound, I think the friendships I have now are the best souvenirs I could have ever gotten. I hope that other people that have gone this trip feel the same way.