Our middle school students have returned from an eleven day adventure in Germany and Austria! The week began in Munich, Germany with tours of the greatest sights of the city including the Marienplatz, Frauenkirche, and Nymphenburg Palace. They even took a day trip outside Munich to visit two of King Ludwig IIs royal residences: the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein and the palace of Linderhof. And of course they made a short stop to shop in nearby Oberammergau, because no trip is complete without great souvenirs for family and friends!

En route to their next residence in Salzburg, they visited Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. Our students and chaperones enjoyed a guided visit of the historic Salt Mines of Berchtesgaden with its slides, underground lake, salt cathedral, and more. They even visited the beautiful mountainside retreat of Obersalzberg.

The first day in Salzburg began after a delicious breakfast including plenty of Brötchen,Wurst, and Obst. The group then savored a morning sightseeing tour of Salzburg… And sight see they did! Mirabell Palace, Mozarteum (University of Music), Trinity Church, Horse Bath (a favorite of Animal Science Director, Ms. Gillette), Festival Halls, Hellbrunn Palace, Frohnburg Palace, Nonnberg Abbey, and Mozart Square were just a few of the stand-outs. The day finished with a visit to Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Mozart Residence.

Tuesday began with a travel to the picturesque Salzkammergut for a guided tour. There our CDS adventurers enjoyed the numerous lakes and mountains, visited the famous “White Horse Inn” in St. Wolfgang, and enjoyed a boat ride on Wolfgangsee. Finally they departed Salzburg for Vienna, Austria, and en route, stopped in the historic city of Melk for a tour.

In Austria was perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip: a visit to the American International School of Vienna. Weeks earlier, our CDS students were paired with a AIS student in the same grade to shadow for their morning classes. Our students had already written letters of introduction to the students, filling them with excitement and anticipation! Experiencing a different culture in this way certainly expanded their world view, an immense opportunity for personal growth.

The exciting day drew to a close with a guided tour of Vienna to see the MAK, the State Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Natural History Museum, the former Habsburg winter residence, the Hofburg, the Parliament, the City Hall, the Burgtheater, and Schoenbrunn Palace. As if the rest of the sight seeing that week had not been enough, the students spent their last day delighting in a visit to the Viennese Spanish Riding School to see the Lipizzaner Stallions during their morning training. The trip finished with an exquisite farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Now our students are safely home and sharing their great stories with friends and family. The Country Day World School International Trips stick with our students for a lifetime, and in more way than one. Perhaps Ms. Lindsey Gillette, a teacher-chaperone on the trip says it best, “the trip to Germany and Austria helped the middle school students to better understand their own cultural values and biases, and contributed to their developing a more sophisticated way of looking at the world.”