the Black Forest

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I'll be the first to admit it-I was not looking forward to the Black Forest orientation with my university. After all, while most of the other students had just arrived on German soil, my fellow classmates from Mannheim and I had been living die Deutsche Leben for a grand total of three months-we'd navigated registering for classes, obtaining residence permits and (possibly the most difficult)  the complicated German trash system with a little help from each other. There was a little bit of been there, done that, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the first weekend of spring break holed up in the Black Forest learning those same things.

However, the minute we disembarked the bus at the top of the mountain, all those hesitations and grumbling melted away-because it was golden hour and the views? were amazing. My head was on a swivel the entire time, trying to take in the snow covered peaks, tiny homes and beautiful clouds all at once. It was so crazy to think that something so different existed a mere two or three hours away from flat, green Mannheim.

We stayed in a hostel owned by the University, with large bunk rooms and little wi-fi, and spent the weekend eating German cuisine, learning about registration processes and sharing stories about our time with other UMass students-since everyone hailed from different areas in B-W, it was cool to hear about everyone's experiences.

On the second day we were reprieved from the basement room and took a hike to a 400-year-old farmhouse nestled into a hill, slipping and sliding down the soggy slopes. As we hiked back, it started to hail a little-after we returned, fog rolled in and shrouded the mountains for the rest of our stay. It was eery, almost, to look outside and not see anything, save for one tree-but the hostel was warm + cozy, so there were no horror movie vibes.

The weather continued to be nasty until we left-still, the entire trip exceeded my expectations. After all, we got two whole days with some of most beautiful scenery...can't complain about that, can I?


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