After what seemed like nearly a day flying around the world (because it literally was), we finally arrived in Augsburg, Germany. I was quite astonished before we even entered the city. My impression was that Germany would be very industrialized with large high rises and metropolitan areas all around. Within the first 10 minutes of riding the bus to Augsburg, I realized this assumption was completely incorrect. There were large fields and farms filled with luscious greenery along with many yellow flowers. I thought this scenery would change once we were in the city. This prediction was again incorrect.
Once we arrived in Augsburg, I was amazed how different the city was compared to any U.S. city I’ve ever been to. There were no skyscrapers, no square blocks, and lots of greenery. Augsburg carried a completely different vibe than I was expecting. In large cities in the U.S, all the chaos can make you feel so small and forgettable. Augsburg by comparison made me feel very welcomed, almost as if I were right at home. All the long, connected buildings put me in a new environment, and it was difficult to take in all the beautiful bright colors and historic architecture. After a while, I began to embrace all the discrepancies from home, and afterword, I truly began to feel like I fit right in here.
Our day consisted of touring the city and learning about various historic landmarks. We visited multiple churches, walked around winding roads, toured the town hall, and even explored many historic areas such as the Fuggerei. This last visit was especially intriguing to me, as the whole area was so historic, but is still in use today. Even most impressive, the rent is only .88 euro!
After touring the city for most of the day, I came to a few conclusions about Augsburg. 1) The city is very historical, and it shows through most of the architecture and art. The city is covered with a variety of different cultures beginning all the back with the Romans, continuing up to WWII and the modern era. A few examples of this are the various fountains depicting Roman mythology, the numerous churches and other religious objects remaining from the protestant reformation, and the inclusion of modern technologies such as the tram system into older works such as the cobblestone streets. 2) Public transportation is very efficient. The public transportation here is much more efficient and usable than any that I’ve experienced in the US. Trams and buses are constantly running to nearly all ends of Augsburg, which puts great initiative in citizens to use these technologies. As a result, there are a lot of people out and about, and there are significantly less automobiles driving in the streets. 3) Augsburg has a heavy focus on the environment. There is nature all around Augsburg. From trees to large areas of grass, Augsburg really differentiates itself from US cities in that there is constantly nature around you. Further, as a whole, there seems to be much less litter than in the US. This may be attributed to littering laws, but also, returning glass bottles to stores is rewarded with refunding some of your purchase. This incentivizes people to waste less and recycle more.
Overall, my first day in Germany, despite being very tiring, was amazing. I am truly excited to see what the rest of the trip has to offer.