When I said yesterday that the rest of the trip would be stress-free, I was both right and wrong. Sure, I wouldn’t have to worry about doing any work, but I forgot that just one day later, I would be climbing 768 steps to the top of a tower of Ulm Minster, the tallest Christian building in the world. While no one was as excited as I was, I was also secretly dreading the climbing.
We woke up early today to catch a train. It happened to be delayed, but when we boarded, like last time, I immediately fell asleep. I woke up at a perfect time, minutes before arriving to Ulm.
We got off the train and walked towards the one building that you could see from basically anywhere in the city. I watched as the others stretched before we entered. I have always enjoyed physical activity. I ran cross country for my high school for three years and I try my best to walk a few miles every day. I didn’t need to stretch, I’d be at the top in a couple minutes. I was the fourth person to from our group to enter, and the way I was feeling, I’d be the first, maybe second one to the top. Well, about 200 steps up, I started to get tired. Not to the point where I needed to stop, but I was feeling a little short of breath. Another 300 steps passed and my legs started to tighten. Maybe I should have stretched. Another 150 steps. I had to stop. I couldn’t see how much further I had to go (these numbers are approximates in hindsight) but I felt that I was almost done. I kept pushing myself, and finally, I saw the light. I heard the voices of the three people ahead of me. We made it. Maybe it wasn’t such a big feat (or maybe it was), but I felt a great sense of accomplishment after reaching the top. I couldn’t stand upright without leaning on a wall or railing, but it was worth it, especially after looking over the edge and seeing miles away. It kind of inspires me to climb the Cathedral of Learning when I go to back to Pitt, but I’ll think about that later.
After a descent that was just as hard as the ascension, we had a tour of Ulm, and later we had lunch at a place that specializes in pancakes. A couple of us debated on whether to order the sweet pancakes or the hearty pancakes, but I decided to try one of the hearty ones. I can eat sweet pancakes whenever I want but I would never again be able to order a pancake with creamed spinach and a fried egg on top. My decision was a good one, as the pancake was one of the best I have ever had.
Not much happened before the train ride back to the hotel. After we returned to the hotel, I took a nap to help me recover from the physical toll my body went through and then woke up in order to get on a streetcar and meet the German students with whom we had been working. At this dinner, I had the exact same meal that I had on the first day, before we had even met the German students. Afterwards, we walked around Augsburg with a few of the German students and then went back to the hotel, where I remained for the rest of the night. Tomorrow will be my last full day in Germany, but after the past few weeks, I feel that I have done everything that I wanted to do here. Tomorrow will be a relaxing day.