At about 7:30 this morning, we left to go catch a train at Augsburg Hbf (the train station). Our train was delayed by about 25 minutes, but that just meant I got to observe the passing trains for longer. I was very excited to find out that we would be riding an ICE train today, because the ICE is the fastest train in Germany. On the way from Augsburg to Ulm, we hit about 160 km/h (96 mph), which was really exciting. It may also be the fastest speed that I’ve ever traveled on a ground-based vehicle (excluding roller coasters). When we got to Ulm, we visited the Münster church, which currently houses the world’s tallest steeple. There was a 768-step climb to the top of the 530-foot tall church. The view at the top was well worth the climb, and it was exciting to get a 360o view of the city of Ulm. The little platform at the top was not meant for this many people though, and things got pretty crowded up there.
After our descent, the group went on a brief tour of Ulm, which would have been longer if our train had been on time. We learned that Ulm was the birthplace of Albert Einstein, hence the reason that the patio in front of the church was littered with 30-inch-tall Einstein figurines. We also learned that Ulm was once a free city, like Regensburg. The city was important because it marked the first section of the Danube capable of supporting ships. As a result, its people got rich from trading. During the war, about 80% of the city was bombed, but the church remained standing, which was very fortunate since it is such an important historical landmark. Ulm also holds the world record for most crooked hotel thanks to its swampy soil. We had lunch at a local crepe restaurant, and as is customary in southern Germany, the portion size was enormous.
After the train ride back to Augsburg, we went to the university for the BMW talk. I met with my group beforehand, and we came up with a lot of questions for the man presenting. The talk itself was mostly focused on the future of cars and autonomous driving. It was a very interesting presentation, and many questions arose at the end. My group asked several questions, and others around the room added their input. Eventually, we were cut off for the sake of time, but I am sure that we collected enough information from the talk to make a good presentation for next week.
After that, we had free time for the rest of the day. I went to dinner with a lot of the other students, but I wasn’t very hungry, so I just finished the meals that everyone else didn’t want. I played cards with Kayla and Grant again tonight, and I wasn’t feeling 100%, so I hope that fact will change for tomorrow.