Tag der Deutsche Einheit

Amidst all the celebrations of the 200th Anniversary of the Oktoberfest, it is easy to have overlooked another significant event, the 20th Anniversary of the Reunification of Germany. Normally it is a national holiday but this year it fell on the Sunday and consequently may have been more subdued. Nevertheless, it is a momentous occasion and a cause for reflection. Twenty years ago the two German independent states finally reunified after a terrible period of separation.

Our students prior to their departure for Germany watched documentary footage of the many escape attempts and deprivations of liberties of those who lived in the former ironically named German Democratic Republic.

Celebrations in the form of concerts and street parties were held throughout the country. Tributes poured in from Obama and other dingitaries. Ex Russian President Gorbachev who in essence was one of the architects of freedom and reunification also congratulated the Germans. Gorbachev was in Frankfurt on Saturday and announced that Germany was the shining light of countries who wanted to proceed towards democracy.

The German President Christian Wulff used the occasion to call for more unity and indicated that Muslims were also Germans in an effort to head off debate about differences.

An interesting atmospheric phenomenon allowed Bavarians to enjoy their magnificent natural surroundings in all its splendour yesterday. A "foehn" wind drives warm air downwards from the Alps and creates quite pleasant temperatures.

We ventured to the Tegernsee, a magnificent lake that takes your breath away and walked around part of it. It was magnificent and a real crowd puller. There were many family groups and the environs also offer respite to people convalescing from various physical injuries. I couldn't think of a more serene place to recover, it must do wonders for the mind as well as provide ample opportunities to go for gentle walks.

Today, our students started preparing for their Impressions Project "Eindruecke". They are to present these to both parents and students in the near future. At our homegroups we have been
discussing noteworthy differences between our two lands and cultures, interesting events etc. Our group have delivered some quite intriguing observations which will hopefully be conveyed into their projects.

This week, the partner Powerpoint presentations will be delivered to classes. Wednesday will be a highlight with the trip to Amerang to see the 400 year old farm and then the boat trip to the two islands on the Chiemsee, the largest lake in the area.

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