Schoolboy Sweet on Germany; Alps, Snow, History and Lollies Were {Lsquo}brilliant'

Article excerpt

Byline: TONI SOMES

LOLLIES might lure local schoolboy Ben Spinetti back to Germany, but century-old architecture, Bavarian forests and the gentle nature of the people would keep him there.

The 17-year-old School of Total Education student returned recently from a six-week exchange to the country and confessed the experience had left him hungry for more.

"It was a brilliant experience, a little daunting, but well worth it," Ben said.

He returned home with a wealth of travel stories, a greater appreciation of history and an addiction to German sweets which is proving hard to shake.

"These lollies are made from all natural ingredients; I bought some home for my family and we're all hooked."

Ben left Australia with 60 other secondary school students on November 22 as part of the Society for Australian German Student Exchange program.

He spent five weeks living with a German family in the Gross-zimmern district, 45km south of Frankfurt, and a week touring with other students through the Bavarian region and into Austria.

Despite five years studying German at school, the teenager struggled initially to overcome the communication barrier.

"Like us, they use slang and words that aren't typically taught in the classroom so it was a bit hard for the first two weeks," he said.

"But it improved and it was great to see more than the typical tourist spots; the family took me to obscure castles and other special places."

Yet the highlight of his trip was strangely enough also one of the saddest: "Our group tour was brilliant. For me one of the most significant places we went to was the concentration camp at Dachau. …