By the time we made it through what seemed to be the hundredth doorframe and stepped into another ornate room displaying ostentation at its finest, Team Hohenschwangau’s minds (and attention spans) were at a bit of an overload. Clocking in at hour two of embracing architecture, tears of laughter welling in Olivia’s eyes, she suddenly squatted down on the ground next to yet another grey and red plaque. Now you may be asking, “why is this girl finding such humor in one of the great halls of Kings and Queens of the 17th century?” One word—Ausgang.
If you didn’t know, I am not a professional German speaker. Shocker. I have still yet to master the spelling of our own team name and have difficulty in pronouncing all the unique U-bahn stops. Lucky for me, there are a handful of words I’ve grasped with ease this week in Germany. My repertoire is wide and diverse and flourishing with unique colors of language. Ok, maybe not. The whole of my repertoire includes: Hallo, Danke, Hauptbahnhof, Eingang and the infamous Ausgang.
Ausgang has followed our team everywhere we have gone. Like a constant companion, Ausgang was with us in Berlin, as we reflected upon the memorials and fueled up in the restaurants; it is with us in Munich as we navigate the U-bahn transportation system and as we wander around the grand Residenz. Ausgang is like the seventeenth member of CR10, a member we cherish and appreciate (and can’t seem to get rid of).
I first saw the unique combination of letters at Victory Column in Berlin. The joining of the A to the U and the S to the G and so on catalyzed a multitude of questions in my mind as it pointed to the corridor at the bottom floor of the column. What did this word mean? I needed to find out. Finally, as time advanced and experiences were accumulated, our team figured out the conundrum— Ausgang means exit.
The Residenz is the former royal palace of Bavaria and encapsulates beauty in each and every detail whether it be in its architecture or its arts. Also, It’s HUGE. Upon walking into the Residenz, I had no idea what to expect. They put great effort into helping the toursists, like ourselves, navigate this monstrosity of a home with signs that display a nice, big red arrow pointing which direction to go next. Easy enough! Yet as we got deeper in the Residenz, the signs began contradicting one another leading us on what seemed to be a wild goose chase. What do you do when two arrows point to one another!? So, deep in the grand Residenz of Munich, delusional from the Renaissance and Baroque overload, lost and confused, Olivia sat. And as she sat and took a minute to release the laughter, our journey was saved by the reminder that there’s no problem in being lost because you can always exit.
Ausgang has been our escape through it all. Lost in a museum for two hours? Ausgang! Attention span diminishing? Ausgang! Awkward moment? Ausgang! And now, as we approach our grand Ausgang out of Munich, I hope to bring our 17th member along with me in all the cities to come. It stands as the reminder to appreciate the journey and don’t fixate on the destination. Team Hohenschwangau has made rad memories making every moment an adventure; and if we ever get lost, luckily, we have Ausgang to help us out.