Well we made it! After what seemed like days we finally arrived in Munich and made it to our hotel in Augsburg. I was immediately taken back by how clean, quiet, and open Germany seemed to be. The cars and people are much quieter in Germany than in America, and the “city” of Augsburg is unlike any city I’ve ever been to. There are large open cobblestone squares with umbrellaed tables surrounding large fountains of Roman and Greek Gods; winding alleyways that guide you to an entire new area of the city with shops, restaurants, and bars; and street cars and buses that, in my opinion, far exceed the level of public transportation any U.S. city I have ever been to has to offer.
We started our city tour by going to the Augsburg Town Hall (pictured below), which was completely refurbished following World War II where only an empty three walls with blown out windows remained standing following the bombings in Augsburg. Inside the Town Hall was a breathtaking room with a 50-foot high ceiling complete with hand painted Roman-depictions and richly adorned with gold accents (also pictured below). Following the tour of the Town Hall we went to a few other historical sites including the Augsburg Cathedral which posses the oldest stained-glass windows throughout all of Germany (pictured below). We also visited the Fuggerei which is the world’s oldest social housing complex still in use. The conditions on which you can be admitted into the Fuggerei have remained the same since it was created: you must be poor, you must be Catholic, you must have a good reputation, and you must be a citizen of Augsburg. Once you are admitted you are required to pray three prayers a day and pay the original cost of a year’s rent:
an astonishing 88 cents.
We then met the German students whom we will be working with over the duration of our trip and visited a few more sites. Then we all sat down to a huge German dinner of jaegarschnitzel and apple strudel. It was an incredible first day and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the trip has in store for us.