Day 6: The Never Ending Climb in Ulm

Today we left our hotel and walked to the train station where we took the regional train to Ulm.  The train was delayed and we waited a long time time before it arrived.  Once it pulled into the station, we boarded and I instantly fell asleep.  I was woken up just as we arrived at the train station in Ulm’s city center.  We then walked a for a few minutes through streets filled with shops and restaurants on our way to the Ulm Minster.  We arrived in the square where the church tower stood.  The sheer size was unbelievable, as I learned later that it is currently the tallest church tower in the world.  At the base of the church, the square was filled with nearly 100 figures of Albert Einstein, both gray and blue, each about 3 feet tall.  Nobody knew why they were there, but the tour guide suggested that they were there for a film project and to draw more attention to the fact that Einstein was born in Ulm.  Once we received our tickets, we all entered the church and prepared ourselves for the climb.  As soon as we entered the spiral stairway, I knew it was going to be an interesting experience.  768 stairs, 161 m all the way to the top.  The stairway was extremely narrow and was a tight spiral all the way up counter-clockwise.  I always tried to look out of the windows on my way up to prevent myself from getting too dizzy.  The first point that provided a a nice break from the constant turning was a long balcony about one third of the way up.  I continued the climb up, refusing to take any breaks before I reached another open area.  I finally reached another area before the final spire that had great views of the city.  I took another small break and back into the spiral stairs I went to finish the ascent.  Finally, I reached the top.  The view was spectacular and provided an amazing panorama of the entire city.  Heading down was much quicker, especially as we had to hurry to reach our guided tour on time.

The tour was long but was interesting as Ulm has a very long history.  We learned that much of the city had been destroyed during the war and got to see the birthplace of Albert Einstein.  The tour ended once we reached the Pfannkuchenhaus for lunch.  I was starving and it definitely hit the spot.  Both AJ and Bob ordered the super pancake which was too big for either of them to finish.  After lunch, we took the train back to Augsburg where once again I slept the whole way.  We then took the tram to the University for a presentation from BMW.  Once we got back to the hotel, it was close to dinner time so a group of us went out looking for something quick.  We found a small Chinese restaurant that was quick, cheap, and surprisingly very good.

That night, we went with some of the German students to a beach bar located on top of a parking garage.  The top floor was covered in sand, with cabanas and beach chairs, it was a very relaxing evening.

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