The Grand Finale in the Black Forest
by Marian Könke, Abi 2
In the last days of September, five groups of students from the school headed to the Black Forest to participate in the five-day Duke of Edinburgh's International Award expedition finals.

At noon on Saturday, right after class, the groups set off from the Härlen campus. First to the train station and from there by train to Schluchsee in the Black Forest. First, everyone spent a night together at a campsite at Schluchsee. We had a last chance to have dinner in civilization.

This chance was enjoyed by all. On Sunday, the first hiking day, the first groups started already at 8:00 am. Two groups started directly from the campground, the others were driven by the Salem buses to their respective starting points. From there, the four hiking days of the last ‘Duke’ expedition began. On the hike, we enjoyed the surroundings and the view from high places over the valleys of the Black Forest, more so than we thought about the efforts of the hike. During the first three days of hiking, we visited various farms around Neustadt and Hinterzarten, where the hospitality was overwhelming each time. On the fourth day of the hike – when by now everyone's feet were already aching to a greater or lesser extent - all the groups set off for the final 20-kilometer stage in the direction of Hinterzarten train station. When the groups arrived there in the afternoon, everyone fell into each other's arms in relief. Some enjoyed a piece of cake in the café at the station before we all got back on the train to Überlingen.

Back at the Härlen campus, we first had to put up the tents to dry. Right after that we visited all our friends on campus and enjoyed a warm shower. At the end of the expedition, the main thing that remains is pride in our own stamina as well as good memories of the hospitality and the impressive nature in the Black Forest.