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Published: July 13th 2010
For this entry, a long preface is needed in order to make the whole trip make sense. Not this past family vacation, where everyone but me went to the family reunion, but the one last year, where my family (including me this time) went through the Southwestern United States and saw American Indian sites, we met a German couple. They were at Canyon de Chelly, and had come to the United States for several weeks, rented a camper, and were traveling from San Francisco through the Southwest, up through the Midwest, and then back to the West Coast. Anyway, they invited me to come visit them when I came to Europe the following year. So there you have it, this was the weekend that we agreed that I could come to visit them. As I will not get back to Germany this trip, I also decided to go to Wittenberg and see the Luther sites there before I came back to Maastricht on Sunday evening. So first the trip in South Germany.
The day started out roughly. I had to get up at 5 AM in order to be on the trains at 7:07, to get to their town of Wangen that afternoon. The first couple trains were okay (getting there required multiple train changes), but once one fell behind by nearly half an hour, that threw off all the others. By the time I finally was two train changes away, my schedule was so shot that I had to go to the information desk at the train station and have them print out a schedule for the rest of the trip. For some crazy reason, they just decided not to run a train that afternoon to Wangen, which meant that I had to get there by bus. Thankfully my railpass covered the bus ride, but that meant I had to find the bus, which took a little while. After I was on the bus, I was told that the bus did not go to directly to Wangen, I would have to get off at some stop and wait for another bus to come take me to Wangen. So, helped by some students on the bus who tried their best to speak English, I got off the bus at the correct stop, and got on the next bus to Wangen. Just for the record, I love the train system and metro systems here, but after several months I still do not understand or like the bus systems. One time I got on a bus that I thought went to the Maastricht train station and ended up in the suburbs of Maastricht somewhere. I still have no idea where I ended up that time. Anyway, I finally got to Wangen about an hour later than I should have, but I had called the family so that they knew approximately when to expect me. I got off the bus at Wangen, thankfully it was next to the train station, got to the station, and was greeted minutes later by one of my friends who had come to pick me up. He took me to their house in their convertible, which was fun. After arriving, it was nice to relax, talk to them, and eat a nice dinner of sausage, potatoes, cooked carrots, and salad. I also met one of their sons, who is going to college. Both of his parents teach school. The one other member of the family that I met is a daughter who is just finishing up college, but I met her the next day.
With all the talking, you probably are wondering what we talked about. Well, at first it was about my Europe experiences and how I got to Wangen. Then we got into soccer, then sports. But everything else faded away once they discovered about homeschooling. Since they were both teachers, I guess it was interesting, but homeschooling is also outlawed in Germany, so they wanted to know all about it, how it was done, what the regulations were, were any tests required, and so on. I did the best I could, but it is hard to get across something to people who have no concept of allowing anything like that in their entire country. Evidently it had been in the news recently that a German family who tried to homeschool had actually had to flee the country. I understand a lot more about education in Germany now after I visited them than I had before (see upcoming blog posts), but the idea of someone having to flee the law in their own country just because they want to teach their own children in peace is puzzling to me.
After being on the trains for about seven to eight hours, I was ready for bed. Tomorrow would be another early day, so I had to be ready for it. Unfortunately, no pictures from today. They would only be of trains and waiting areas anyway.
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