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Saturday, July 3
Ugh, what a day. Well, I knew that things were going too well; something had to go wrong sometime. We got up this morning at 5:00 in order to catch the train. That part went just fine, at least. What went wrong was that we were supposed to change trains in Bistroe, but since we don't know any German, we thought the paper said that the train just stops in there. We figured it out two or three towns later at a tiny train station in the middle of nowhere. Not too big a deal because we could get back, but we just had to wait a long time. This sweet older man working for the train station came out and tried to explain to us how to get back, but we couldn't understand a word he was saying. But he kept trying. :-) Well, we got to Bistroe maybe 45 minutes later, but there wasn't a train to Fussen for another hour and a half. So now we were stuck in another tiny town. We walked up and down the main street for a while, and that was kind of pleasant. They were having some sort of business fair and were setting up booths. We didn't think any of the restaurants would have English menus (it wasn't a tourist town), so we ate at an Italian ristorante! It was really, really good. Greg had some sort of tortellini in an unusual cheese sauce and I had some fantastic gnocchi. We thanked the German owners profusely, we were so happy for a good meal (without a slab of meat!).
The point of leaving so early in the morning was to get to "Mad" King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein castle (the one Walt Disney modeled his Cinderella castle after) before the big tour groups, and to leave us time to do a concert in Munich that night. However, instead of arriving at 9:00, we arrived at 1:00. Then there was a bus ride from Fussen to the castle base, then you had to walk for 30 minutes to reach the top (we cheated and took a horse-drawn carriage ride that wasn't much faster), then we had to wait in line for the English tour for another half hour. The castle was really incredible, but no thirty-minute tour could ever be worth all that waiting. Nonetheless, we enjoyed it and were glad we got to see the castle. We were really only upset because we got back to Munich at 7:00, too late to catch a concert. So we wandered the streets looking for a place to eat. The only thing nearby was a Pizza Hut, though. But it was good pizza! Greg grumbled about going an entire day without eating something German--after all, what were we there for?--but he was glad for the pizza too, I think. We then went to a nearby internet cafe, which helped pass the time until our next train left. It turned out that we were glad we checked our email, because we had a message to call Erika Biral. She had been a foreign exchange student our sophomore year of high school, and we hadn't talked to her in five years. We thought that was an amazing coincidence because we were on our way to Milan that night, her hometown. We called her house, but she wasn't home.
In the train station, we ran into several other Harding students and talked about where all they had been. Prague sounded like a neat place, and now I'm sad that we didn't go there. Anyway, Greg took a shower at the train station. He said the bathrooms there were really nice and clean, which must be why they cost so much to use. We tried calling our parents on the remainder of our German phone card, but only my little brother was home. The card lasted about three minutes, which was really all there was to tell without having three days. On the train, Greg and I ended up with the top bunks, which was really annoying. But the worst part was that there was no air conditioning. I woke up just drenched in sweat the next morning, and didn't have the opportunity to change clothes. :-(
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