Day 12: Stairway to Heaven

I can’t believe it’s already our second last day in Germany! Today was a very long, exhausting day, and I got the best workout I’ve gotten so far on the trip.

Another early morning, we caught a tram to the train station and got on a train to Ulm, an Augsburg-sized city close to Munich. Ulm’s claim to fame is the Ulm Münster, a gothic church standing a whopping 530 feet tall. This church broke the record for highest building in the world from 1890 to 1901. Our goal: climb all 768 stairs to the top of the steeple.

We were reccomended that those who thought they could finish the climb start at the front of the line. This was survival of the fittest. After about 15 minutes of non-stop sprial staircases, I finally made it to the top coming in 3rd place, which was pretty good after last night’s meal. As I watched more of my colleagues walk up behind me, there was sweat and tears, but the view was worth it. From the top of the steeple, we could see the entire city below our feet, as well as other small towns and cities in the distance. We could even see the Swiss Alps on this sunny day, making a gorgeous backdrop for this view. 

The tiny tip of the steeple was too claustrophobic to hold 20+ people, so we only stayed up there for about 5 minutes before heading back down, which was even worse in the dizzy, spiraling staircases. 

After what seemed like forever, we made it down the Münster and gathered in front for a short tour of Ulm. Our tour guide was very knowledgable about the history and little details of the small city. She brought us to the astronomical clock and, my favorite, the crooked hotel. You can see it below in the picture, this is the most crooked hotel in the world, and you can still rent a room for about €180 a night. 

After the city tour, we went to Pfannkuchenhaus for lunch, which roughly translates to “pancake house.” Pancakes in Germany are basically what we would call crepes in the United States. The crepes at this restaraunt were bigger than my torso and we all had way too much food. 

Then after lunch we had some free time to walk around Ulm for about an hour and walk off our meals. Me and a few friends walked down the river and dipped our feet in the freezing water. We met the group back in front of the Münster and hit the road back to Augsburg.

Tonight was the goodbye dinner with the entire program including the German students. We ate at Ratskeller, a fancy restaraunt behind city hall in Augsburg. It was sad saying formal goodbyes to some of our German friends, even though we knew we would probably see most of them Friday night. We got to give our German hosts the small presents we had gotten for them back at Pitt, and it was really funny seeing all of them in their cheap Pitt tee shirts, contrary to their usual nice clothing. 

After dinner, we ended up hanging out with most of the German students anyways. Tomorrow is our last day, and ten of us will be heading into Munich for some free time.

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