When Frau Higgins first mentioned Bensheim last year, I was instantly hooked! A week off school. A week in someone’s house. One week in Germany, travelling to the big cities and to the far countryside to speak and practise the language.

On the first day, we stayed in Bensheim as we had an important appointment with the town mayor, Mayor Fr. Klein. This was a highly anticipated event for me - to meet someone that most of the Bensheim population hadn’t met was an honour. Throughout the meeting, we were able to ask Fr. Klein questions about what she had in store for Bensheim in the future, and we got some interesting answers back.

After the talk, we headed for the ultimate delight of the trip, our first Christmas market (Weihnachtsmarkt) of the trip. Little wooden chalets and stalls were selling mulled wine (Glühwein), nuts (nüsse), and the traditional german sausage, bratwurst. The music, the smells, and the people were also amazing. You could smell Christmas spirit wafting up everyone’s nostrils. It was a magical first day in Deutschland!

Later in the week, we were also lucky enough to head to Stuttgart for the Porsche Museum using the inter-city ‘S-Bahn’. When we got off the train, a beautifully strange sight slapped me straight in the face; it was like a rocket, a very fat one (around 5600 square metres fat), and it was so futuristic you probably would have expected it to start hovering off the ground. It was none other than the Porsche museum itself. The museum was very impressive as it held around 80 amazing cars.

Our last main activity of the trip was to the world-renowned city of Frankfurt. It was very interesting as it was a collage of medieval and modern architecture all in one place. We learnt in our guided tour that this was due to the main island of Frankfurt being horrifically bombed in WW2, leaving only what seemed to be the cathedrals, which were some of the tallest buildings around.

During our tour, we also came across the original place of the European Central Bank, some massive department stores, the Frankfurt Museum, the Christmas market and the rebuilt Johann Wolfgang von Goethe House (Goethe was a famous German poet in and around the 18th century).

A big thank you to Mrs Sealy, Mr Elliott, Fr. Higgins and anyone else involved for making that happen and for teaching us all about German culture.