Manuka reflects on Germany

As we entered Germany I felt really excited to be in a country again where I knew the language, knew some relatives like Oma and Opa and recognised the landscape and scenery.

Germany is my favourite country; The streets are clean, the houses are modern with little front gardens and there’s snow in winter when it is cold enough.

German motorways usually have 4 lanes and no speed limit. Driving on the motorway with my Opa at 160 kilometres an hour I was a bit anxious that something was going to happen. It felt like we were on a plane racing down the runway about to take off. I wondered what would happen if there was an obstacle and one person had to stop – all the other cars would crash into each other. Maybe a reason why German motorways don’t have a speed limit is because the Germans made so many fast cars. Car manufacturers wanted customers to buy their fast cars so they persuaded the government to not give them a speed limit.

I love service stations and road stops on the motorway. They have a proper buffet with different sections for: entree, salad, drinks, bakery with delicious “Butterbrezeln”, hot food and desserts. The toilets are clean and if you pay 70 cents to get in, your “toilet entry ticket gives you a 50 cent discount of items you can purchase in the shop like ice creams, ice blocks, lollies, chocolate and souvenirs.

We stayed in my mum’s home town Backnang, where we gave holiday workshops of Dancing Wombat and The Ring Bearer.

In the morning when the other Wayfarers gave the younger children the Dancing Wombat workshop, I went to the outdoor swimming pool with my Oma. That swimming pool had three big water slides (blue, yellow and green) and three short slides for the young children. I always loved going to the pool even though it was on cold mornings, especially when on one of the days, Vanessa and Patrick (my cousins) came over and we went down the slides backwards. There were diving boards but they were closed until we asked the lifeguard to open them on the last day I went to the swimming pool. I easily jumped and dived off the 1 metre and jumped off the 3 metre and finally summoned up some courage to jump off the 5 metre diving platform. It was a bit scary, for when I looked down it seemed so far, yet when I jumped I glided through the air for a few seconds and then went SPLASH! Those days at the swimming pool were marvellous but after a few days it got too cold to go there.

Every afternoon I took part in The Ring Bearer workshop for older children, teenagers and adults. The participants were excited to learn something they had never learnt before which made it fun to be part of. We worked hard on scenes like “The Prancing Pony” and “The Old Forest”. The narrations got translated into German so that the participants could be narrators.

In the middle of the workshop we had an afternoon tea break and my Opa brought food for the Wayfarers like biscuits, crackers, fruit and chocolate.

My Opa really had a very large part in organising our stay in Backnang and think he has done a great job.

My mum and I had a wonderful week with my grandparents: my Oma cooked delicious meals every day and always loved being with me. My Opa would do school work with me or show me special places in the Backnang area.

One of my Oma’s delicious baked specialities is “Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte” (black forest cake). She taught me how to make it and we invited all the Wayfarers to come over and eat it. I had been raving about that cake for a long time and finally the others could feast on what I had been talking about so long.

On our last night we organised a talent night. Initially it was meant to be Wayfarers and hosts but others heard about it and wanted to come too. Everyone wanted to hear a bit about our travels and see some photos too so we set up a slideshow. Finally the night arrived and we all brought a plate of food to share. We looked at the photos (every non-Wayfarer being extremely excited about what we had to tell). Some people performed a little piece of music.

Finally, the day of our departure had come. I was sad to leave my favourite town where I knew very special people but looked forward to coming back a week later on our week off. We said goodbye and finally started our long drive to Solothurn in Switzerland.

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