Day 4: Tall Towers


Today started a little bit later than usual, which means I got to sleep in and, hypothetically, should have been well rested.  However, I still managed to nap on the bus ride.  I enjoy that we have been using buses to go to the different locations because it means I can bring my backpack containing a change of clothes and shoes with but leave it on the bus and not have to lug it around all day.


The first thing on the agenda for the day was a visit to Continental, which most people recognize as a tire company but does much more.  The location near Augsburg focuses on manufacturing computer chips that can be used in cars.  Upon arrival to the presentation room, we were greeted with goodie bags and various beverages.  The water bottles were sealed with a bottle cap, which meant none of us were able to open them.  I attempted to use a pen to remove the cap but was unsuccessful.  Luckily, one of the German students had a bottle opener on his keychain.


The presentation mainly focused on the business aspects of the company, which, although I found interesting, I was unable to fully understand what he was talking about.  After the initial presentation, we had a break to get lunch in the cafeteria on the Continental campus.  While getting my food in the cafeteria line, someone started talking to me in German.  Presumably because of the confused look on my face, she asked me if I spoke English and then proceeded to tell me about the food I just put on my plate- a fried mashed potato dumpling.  This shocked me as I was not expecting a stranger to try to start a conversation with me.  That situation rarely happens to me in America.


After lunch we returned for another presentation about innovation at Continental.  The presenter talked about self-driving cars and Industry 4.0, further proving the idea that Continental works with more than tires.  Afterwards, we walked over to the factory building for the tour.  We got to wear lab coats during the tour which made me feel more like a scientist working in the factory rather than just an observer.


Throughout the tour I saw several autonomous delivery robots that would transport supplies throughout the factory.  This reminded me of when I toured a company in Pittsburgh that creates autonomous delivery robots for applications in hospitals.  I thought it was interesting to see this type of robot in several different applications and in 2 countries.


We finished the tour and then changed out of our business clothes to be ready to explore Regensburg.  I was stunned by how scenic the city was, even during the ride into town.



We split into 2 groups to tour the city.  Our tour guide was phenomenal; he focused on the aspects of the city that he thought we would find interesting.  For example, one of the first things he showed us was 3 bars on the wall and asked us what we thought they might have been used for- a system of standardizing measurements for trade.


He explained that merchants would come to Regensburg to trade because the proximity to a river made traveling easier.  This also explained the Italian influence in the architecture of the city.


Map of where the river in Regensburg comes from


While he was explaining this to us, we casually met the mayor of Regensburg, as she was walking past us to the town hall.  Out tour guide continued to ask us questions to keep us engaged, which I enjoyed because I liked to test my knowledge of other places that I learned about in high school.  According to the tour guide, it was a common practice for the wealthy to build a tower with only windows and no livable space with the sole purpose of displaying their wealth.  Each time we would pass another tower, our tour guide would point them out.  I thought this was funny, especially because he would make up a story about each.  For example, one house had 2 towers, so he said the owner was probably trying to anger the neighbors.


This was a typical tower on a building that was a boundary for the town center


2 towers
Extra tall tower

The tour guide told us about an art movement that was happening all around Europe- gold bricks were being added in front of buildings where someone was uprooted because of the Holocaust.  The purpose of this was to illustrate how many people were affected by the Holocaust.


The tour ended at the biergarten where we were having dinner.  The menus were in German, so I ordered something random.  Thankfully, I ended up ordering a breaded meat with potatoes.



Tired and full, we walked back to the bus after dinner.  On the long ride to Augsburg, we talked about palindromes and shared our favorite ones.  A palindrome is a word or phrase that is the same forwards and in reverse, such as wow, racecar, or “a man, a plan, a canal, Panama.”  Whenever someone would share a new one, you could see everyone else thinking about it to check its validity.





Dog Counter: I saw 17 dogs today, many more that yesterday!


Low of the Day:

While we were touring Regensburg, church bells started to ring, and they never stopped.  The tour guide was trying to tell us about the church, but it was difficult to fully hear him talk.  It wasn’t until halfway through dinner that we realized the bells had stopped ringing.



High of the Day:

Throughout the morning, Anna and Bob were playing the city game where one person says a city and the other has to say a city that starts with the last letter of that city without help.  This inspired me to show them the hat game where players must figure out the pattern on how to play the game.  This inspired someone else to show all of us the number game, a similar pattern game where displaying certain numbers with one’s hands signifies another number based on an algorithm.  This created a ripple effect of sharing of fun, challenging pattern games, such as the picnic game, the cosmic game, the green glass door, and more.

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