A week removed from Germany, I feel that I can finally reflect and report on my experiences. I learned a lot — like the straightforward nature of German engineering I’ll be modeling my blog titles after. I hope to share my broader insights later on, but for now, the specifics:
After a brief stint in Pittsburgh that included a dinner and movie date (very romantic), our group woke from an unfortunately short slumber in Tower C and traveled by bus to the scenic Pittsburgh airport for our short flight to Newark. As a direct result of our subsequent nine hour layover in the Newark International Airport, I can confirm that of their ten song playlist, six songs are by Bruce Springsteen. Thankfully, just as New Jersey started to feel normal, reality struck and we boarded our flight bound for Munich.
From some combination of anticipation, anxiety, and the large older gentleman passed out on top of me, I just couldn’t seem to fall asleep on the flight. Not a problem, as we arrived in Munich just past….. 7am on May 7th.
Our day began with a bus ride to our hotel in Augsburg. Our group seemed to quickly realize that the view the entire way was nearly identical to that of a Pennsylvania highway, and collectively decided a nap was in order. Upon arrival at the B&B Hotel, we had a short time to get a lay of the land, then a meeting that included a snack of pretzels and sandwiches.
From our meeting, we took the tram to Koenigsplatz, the connection point for Augsburg. There, we met with some German students and were led by Pittsburgh’s own Dr. Feick on a quick walking tour of the town. Of note, the tram was on time, the streets were clean, and no car could be found on the cobblestone. We were not in Oakland anymore.
Dr. Feick led us to Augsburg’s cathedral, its town square, the town hall, and to an area of walled houses called the Fuggerei. At the Fuggerei, a tour guide accompanied by a stray cat explained the origin of the structure, an early (though still functioning) example of public housing created by the rich Jakob Fugger.
Directly from the Fuggerei, we went to a Bavarian restaurant for dinner. There, we came into our first contact with Germany’s (bottled and carbonated) water. As an entrée we had a heavily debated mystery meat with spätzle. A German student heard our beef vs. chicken argument and informed us that the dish was in fact turkey.
Upon our arrival back at the B&B, I promptly passed out.