I was sitting in Henry’s Coffee waiting for my dinner to arrive so I could silence my gurgling stomach when I came to a realization. As I looked around me and listened, I discovered that the moment I was experiencing was special. A crowd of people had gathered in the city square and a man was singing and playing the guitar on a bench near a group of restaurants. The waiters and waitresses inside the cafe were singing along and the church bells added their melody as the sun began to set. As I observed the celebration, I realized that no where in the United States could I experience such a phenomenon. It was a small moment and soon the workers were back to taking orders and the church bells stopped tolling, but it made me smile. When you travel abroad you expect to remember the big tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower or the Alps, but it dawned on me that it is the simple things, like the moment at the restaurant, that stick with me the most.
Earlier that day we had visited SGL Group, a carbon fiber manufacturer that provides material for a wide range of industries. The products and information sessions were very interesting and concise, however carbon fiber is only a material and without any of the fireworks of the Hirschvogel plant I found the factory tour to be slightly mundane. The buildings and factory sites were very modern, and I was surprised to learn graphite had so many unique properties. After the SGL Group tour, we were given a presentation by a BMW employee about their plan for autonomous driving. Personally, I have little to no concerns about autonomous driving, however many people seem to be concerned about safety. Although I do enjoy driving, I look forward to a safer and autonomous future. We are almost done with the company visits along with our first week in Augsburg. So far I have had a fantastic trip and I look forward to the many excursions to come.