Usually, going to sleep at 11pm will result in a long (or at least sufficient) amount of sleep. However, going to sleep at 11pm the day before leaving for Germany was little more than a long nap. But in this case, I was completely happy with waking up at two in the morning; I would be across the world the next day, a feeling of excitement I hadn’t felt since visiting Spain in 2015.
My memories of the ride to the airport and the flight from Pittsburgh to Newark are blurred as I slept through both of these, but the nine hour layover remains fresh in my mind. I tried to sleep in the airport, but after failing to do so for a few hours, I decided to spend the time getting to know some of the people with which I’d be spending the next two weeks. We roamed the airport searching for food, and later, we each went separate ways to work on the presentations we would be giving the next day. Before I knew it, we were boarding the plane and on our way to Munich.
Whether it was due to excitement or simply being uncomfortable, I wasn’t able to sleep much on the eight hour flight, but it somehow went by relatively quickly. We arrived in Munich, and after getting on the bus to our hotel, I was finally able to sleep. When I woke up, we were just arriving to the hotel. Again, I was able to sleep (this time in a bed).
After waking up from my fifth nap in the past day, we descended to the hotel lobby where we had our first pretzels in Germany and then took a short ride on the streetcar to Augsburg. We had a tour of the city, which was highlighted by the city’s town square and city hall (which itself was highlighted by a completely golden room on the third floor), the Dom (the city’s cathedral, which contains the country’s oldest stained-glass windows), and the community set up hundreds of years ago by the Fugger family.
To finish the day, we went to dinner at an authentic German restaurant. We learned here that, if you ask for water in Germany, you will get a liter of extremely carbonated water. We also learned that none of us can tell the difference between chicken and pork. In fact, after arguing the whole meal about which we were eating, we found out that we had been eating turkey. Maybe it was time to finally get more than an hour of sleep. We went back to the hotel and I immediately fell asleep. As happy as I was to be in bed, I was even more excited to continue my journey in Germany the next day.