By Cassi Greenlee
For my school’s fall break, I had many travel options but could consider nothing else but visiting my uncle in Germany. He lives in Solingen, in between the rival cities Köln and Düsseldorf.
It was bit awkward at first, seeing my uncle, because we’ve only spent time together twice in my life and I looked a smidge different from the last time he saw me. That feeling disappeared as quickly as it came. It felt amazing to spend time with a family member.
Bernhard is a retired priest and felt inclined to give me a guide to show me around the surrounding cities. Her name was Katy, and she instantly became a friend. The first city she took me to was Köln, the location of one of the most spectacular cathedrals I’ve ever seen.
We, on a whim, decided to climb one of the towers of the Cathedral to see the view. It was a 100 meters of huffing and puffing but we finally made it to the top and the view over the river was fantastic. In the midst of all our cathedral admiration, we took a walk along the Rhine and stopped for a real German lunch.
The day after Köln, it was a slow, rainy day, so I took a short trip over to Wuppertal, home to the Shwebebahn, a suspended railway built in 1901 and the only one of its kind. A true testament to German engineering.
After I returned, I had biscuits and coffee with Bernhard and we were off to the Haribo factory to buy some of the best candy made in the entire world. I must say, I went a bit overboard in buying the factory priced candy.
The following day the weather was back to cold and sunny, and Katy and I headed over to Düsseldorf for another day of sight seeing. Düsseldorf is quite different from Köln in that it is much more business centered and the architecture is much more modern.
My final night in Germany was spent with my uncle and Katy’s family for a delicious home-cooked meal. I learned a lot of new things about Germans that night, in particular that young Germans really are that obsessed with David Hasselhoff. According to the Germans, he brought down the Berlin Wall (news to me…). And at the end of the night, having spent time with good people and having quality conversation, I was inspired to learn German and return to Solingnen to visit my family and my new found friends.