IT HAS been an eye-opening trip for two young women from Nordlingen in Germany, who travelled almost 16,000 kilometres to visit their sister city in Wagga.
Lilly Ziegler and Hannah Bettinger, who are both 19-years old, had been staying in Wagga for the past five nights, where they experienced their first Aussie barbecue and took in the sights.
But the memory that will stay with them forever was the chance to see the devastating effects of the Dunns Road bushfire.
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"It was sad and tragic and it feels like you are in a war zone because nobody was there and everything is black and burnt down," Miss Bettinger said.
The pair were escorted by a police officer through the fire affected communities, including Batlow and Talbingo.
Miss Bettinger said it was the first time she had been "so close to a bushfire".
She said they spent New Year's Eve in a small pub with some of the evacuated residents, drinking Batlow Cider with them.