Willi Barton, German teacher at Woodstock, organized a three-week trip to Germany for 22 of her students this past June. The students have studied German for one to four years. Parents paid for transportation. Expenses in Germany were covered by host families, with some help from Rotary and Lions clubs. Mrs. Barton wrote the following account of their travels:The three weeks form a kaleidoscope of colorful memories; arrival in Schleswig station to a warm welcome by host parents with flowers and hugs; initial apprehension at being "alone" in a German family, some of whom had never entertained a "foreigner" in their home, an outing to Denmark by car or launch, visiting a Viking museum, seeing the Schloss Gottorf, dancing at a disco. We had press interviews and stories and photos appeared in local newspapers. We went canoeing and returned to a luxurious barbeque prepared by our hosts.
We took a coach trip to the North Sea coast and braved it over the dykes for a traditional barefoot tramp along the "Watt" (long stretches of cold, wet sand - it's supposed to be healthy!) to the North Sea. It was an extremely cold and windy day, so much so that it was a relief to put our freezing cold feet into the slightly less cold North Sea.
Our last full day in Schleswig was crowned with a magnificent garden-party with a super abundance of Torten and Kuchen!
After tearful farewells we set off on the long, cheap weekend rail deal to Goettingen. It was hot, sticky and crowded in the four trains in which we travelled, all rewarded by the warm reception.
Most of these parents had never entertained an Asian guest and were delighted with the novelty! As their summer vacation came later, we had the opportunity to attend their school. NOT the favorite activity! In contrast to their Woodstock experience our kids found the teaching more lecture-style with less involvement from staff, lack of interest on the part of many German students (they chatted while the teacher tried to teach), all classroom doors were kept locked, no students were allowed to enter without a teacher present, and so on.
A city tour and reception in the Rathaus by the Lady Mayoress featured in our Goettingen visit, but the highlight was the visit to Eisenach in the former East Germany where we walked in the footsteps of J. S. Bach and Martin Luther, Pachelbel and G.P. Telemann. We climbed to the magnificent Wartburg, the castle where Luther translated the Bible into German; the mark on the wall remains where he threw the inkpot at the devil! It thrilled me to hear involuntary exclamations of awe and wonder and to note our students' appreciation of the beauty and historic significance of this city.
After more tearful goodbyes we set off for two days in Wiesbaden where we were entertained royally by former Woodstock volunteer, Angela Timm Leistner and her husband, Reinhard. We enjoyed a three-hour trip on the Rhine as far as the famous Lorelei Rock, a tour of Wiesbaden and reception by the Lord Mayor, where we were presented with a beautiful book on the city. In turn, we gave them a copy of G. Thukral's book Woodstock School which joins their exhibition of all gifts received.
So ended months of preparation. Laden with gifts we arrived tired and happy in Delhi, to be greeted by many waiting parents and by JCB [Willi's husband, Dr. James Barton, Academic Vice Principal], who ferried the last of us to Mussoorie, over roads which were in sharp contrast to what we'd experienced over the previous three weeks! Nevertheless, we were glad to be home, thankful for safety in travel and inexpressibly grateful to our exceedingly generous German hosts.
The arrangements in Germany were made by Wolfgang and Hannelore Meissner, Ute Mann, Winfried Wemmel and Renate Voss, long term friends of Woodstock who were also instrumental in the basketball team exchanges between Schleswig and Woodstock.