Get the title? Do you? Ulm is the birthplace of Albert Einstein, who came up with the famous formula E = mc2. Another one of my prouder moments on the trip.
Today was the day I had heard so much about. Today was the day the panel of German students from last year warned us about. Today was the day I decided to start working out again.
We were scheduled to go to Ulm, a city west of Augsburg, where the Ulmer Münster is located, a church with the tallest steeple in the world. 768 steps, to be precise.
Our day began by taking the train to Ulm. I was astonished when I got on the train and saw Dr. Feick still on the platform, waving goodbye to us. This was the day he was most excited for – and he wasn’t even going! I thought it had to be some elaborate prank, that Dr. Feick would be at the top of steeple waiting for us by the time we arrived or something. Nope, he actually just had work to do at the university, unfortunately.
The train ride was quite different from Amtrak; the train in Germany appeared roomier and pleasant to ride, rather than feeling stuffy and bumpy. Once we arrived in Ulm, we made way for the Münster, where hundreds of gray and purple miniature statues of Albert Einstein were standing around. No one had any real explanation for the statues for us, initially. Maybe Dr. Feick was hiding in one of these statues? From the outside, the climb to the top of the Münster does not seem too bad. I should have knocked on wood when I said that.
I started out ambitious. I was naïve. I felt like I could tackle anything. Until I got to around step one hundred. My legs slowly started to feel the burn. The narrow, spiral staircase made my head spin. I made sure to fall to the end of the line, so I could go at my own pace without having to worry about who was behind me. I have never felt true pain before this moment. Oddly enough, I made it to the top. Let me say, the view was absolutely worth the climb. I looked out the openings at the top of the steeple to see the Danube river coursing through the town, along with red-topped roofs and bountiful fields of green. I even saw a man making a circle of the miniature Einstein statues in front of the Münster as he stood in the middle of it. Looking down below me, I realized just how high off the ground I was and how far I had come. I began my descent down, only to get lost from the group that was at the top with me. I truly felt afraid, because I could not hear anyone ahead or behind me, and I took a path that I was not quite sure was the right one. I was afraid I would be lost forever in the narrow staircase of the Münster. I reached the bottom in a dizzy haze and wound up in a gift shop. Again, I could not see anybody, so I ran to the exit and back around the church to where the Einstein figurines were located. Finally, I saw Megan who informed me that most people were waiting inside the main entrance.
While my legs trembled, and I suffered short-term PTSD from stairs, we began our tour of Ulm with our tour guide, David. He showed us significant landmarks around the town, such as where Einstein’s grandparents lived and the most crooked hotel according to the Guinness World Records. We concluded our day in Ulm at a restaurant where we had our choice of sweet or savory crêpes. I opted for sweet, so I ordered a crêpe with Nutella and fried bananas. Once again, the food reminded me of what my mother would make for me back home.
On the train ride back to Augsburg, my group and I began to prep questions for the BMW presenter. Our questions, however, were in vain because most of the presentation was spent talking about autonomous vehicles and BMW’s plans for the future, which most of my questions were not geared for. It was still an interesting presentation and I learned so much about the future of the automobile industry – I hope one day I’ll have a BMW that will drive me around as I get to watch movies in the car!
After the presentation, as the group was preparing to leave the university, we were informed we had to stay in the room, to our confusion. It wasn’t long until Simon, Jan, and Marius came in carrying birthday cakes! Arman, Lexi, and Jeremy each had birthdays while on the trip, and Arielle decided to celebrate it with delicious, German strawberry cake and candles. If only the trip was in the middle of November!
Bis ich dich wieder sehe!