My Legs Hurt

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.

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