Written by Holly Wilkens ’18 while on her Study Away trip to Germany in the Fall 3-Week with Professors Dawn Sonntag and Megan Altman.
Happy Saint Nicholas Day! Today we started very early. We took a train to Freiburg from Heidelberg and we were delayed due to there being a fire on the tracks! We then took a bus from the station to Todtnau the view was amazing as we went up the mountains. We reached our stop, and started to walk upward. The destination that we were heading to was Heidegger’s hut. Heidegger was a German philosopher and a professor at Freiburg. He built this hut to be in solitude for thinking. His family still owns the hut and will go to it as a vacation home.
Our professors told us that it would be very cold and possibly snowing. In preparation for the weather I wore four layers of shirts, two layers of pants, and two layers of socks. As it turned out it was not snowing or as cold as it was predicted. I got so warm that I took the three top layers off! I was not the only one either there were two others that did so also. Some of the locals saw and laughed a little. I did not mind that much as long as I was comfortable. We got to the top where there was a parking lot for those that had cars. We were disappointed that the bus wouldn’t go up that far. It was good exercise anyway. We did not know which way to go and were trying to figure it out for ten minutes after going in the wrong direction; we were on our way to the hut.
The hut was located by the Black Forest. Most of the trees were pine so the landscape was beautiful with the sun out. We found the path that was the route that Heidegger would walk when he was there. Signs were located along the way that had some information about Heidegger and the hut itself. We found a fork in the road and went the wrong way again, but found a large scaled lifeguard like chair. Some of the others in the class climbed it and had a wonderful view of the town. After going back the right way we got to the hut! It looked like it was meant to be in Hobbit town, with its green shutters. Later we learned it was designed to blend with the landscape.
After taking a group picture some of the students and I went up the side of a hill that led to where we first started. The others did not follow suit, because it was steep. It was a struggle climbing up, but it was worth it. We waited for the group and were able to sit there and think. The rest of the group caught up and Dr. Altman decided that we should sit up there for 20 minutes to just think.
During this time I was able to clear my mind and just absorb the landscape and nature. It was gorgeous. The town was below with the mountains in the back as protection from the rest of the world. I was able to understand why Heidegger would pick a place like this to just think. I didn’t think much about anything. I wanted to let my mind wander and absorb. We had a discussion about what we were thinking, and then we left to go back to the hostel. We had to wait over an hour for the same bus to return. Brandi Howard ’17 and I waited by the bus stop and a cat came by and was very friendly. It did not have a collar on though, so we assumed that it was the neighborhood cat. We left the bus stop and came back with the group and the cat returned and had fun with the rest of the group.