Today was the most exciting day of the trip so far. The places we experienced today ensured that this day will be one that I will remember for the rest of my life.
We started out with another early morning at Hirschvogel after hotel breakfast. A private bus this time took us out past the city limits into the countryside, where the Hirschvogel plant was located. The entire building was very modern and high-tech; the entire lobby and hallways were decorated with automotive parts and equipement. The company visit started with a presentation from a high-up employee, who gave an in-depth analysis of the history of the company, its finances and business history, as well as a description of the engineering involved with producing parts. We then proceeded to move onto to the tour of the plant, which was a lot more interesting than the presentation. The entire factory was probably the largest we’ve visited so far, with a multitude of production lines to watch. At each production line, the tour guide would explain to us what the machines were doing and the task of each technician at the station. Some of the warehouses seemed to go on forever; everywhere you turned you could see another building-sized hydraulic press spewing out hot metal parts. One thing that amazed me at Hirschvogel was the amount of steel they consumed on a weekly basis. The tour guide took us outside to their field of raw steel they would use, and in an area about the size of a football field, steel rods covered the ground. It must have been several tons of steel that the tour guide informed us they would go through in a week. It amazed me that they take that much raw steel and produce it into usable car parts so quickly. At the end of the Hirschvogel visit, we got a nice bag of lunch, complimentary.
The Hirschvogel visit was cool, but the next part of the day was even cooler. Our bus took us to a town even further south of Augsburg called Oberammergau. It was a German town that was unaffected by the war, so all of the buildings were original. There was a lot of things to do here, like walk around and buy gelato and souvenirs. Someone ended up buying a sword! We had about an hour to spend in this wonderful little town, and then we headed up the mountain. In the same town, they had a lift that would carry about seven people at a time to the top of a snow-capped mountain, ski-style. Once we got to the top, we had the most spectacular 360 degree view of the Swiss Alps, a small part of Austria, and the towns of Germany that were north of us. We only got to spend about an hour and a half up here, but I could’ve spent the entire day. There was also a restaraunt on top of the mountain that overlooked the Alps, so you could get a cup of coffee or snack while you enjoyed the breathtaking view. After what seemed like hundreds of group photos and exploring the peak, we headed back down the lift and took the bus back to Augsburg. In all of my life, Oberammergau must be the most amazing place I’ve ever visited.