Today, we got to visit my favorite city thus far: Ulm. Ulm is a small town located in southern Germany, with the tallest church in the world. The church, Ulm Minster, is a 530 foot tall Gothic cathedral. I know from experience now that it is pretty darned tall, because we spent our morning climbing it, all 700something steps. It was a bit claustrophobic, to be honest. The stairs were stone and wound up, up and up seemingly forever. It was quite the leg and cardio workout! We made it up to the extremely tight and narrow balcony that wrapped around the tip of the spire after about 20 minutes of hiking up there, and the view was beautiful. Unfortunately, I could not take as much time to appreciate it as I wanted to, because we were a bit late for our tour. The tour guide was a tastefully-dressed and extremely learned guy who had read plenty about Ulm and loved it dearly. He showed us some of the family shields inside of the church. These families were the ones who actually funded the church being built, and some of them had their own altars built in the church and would hire priests to pray for them all day long! He then showed us a miniature of the entire city of Ulm and took us on a tour overlooking the beautiful river beside the city. Einstein was actually born there, and the city had about a hundred two-foot-tall blue plastic figurines of him, oddly enough. His original house was destroyed in the bombing of the city during World War II. The bombing desecrated most of the city, but not the church, which some see as a miracle. The city seemed fairly modern because most of it had been destroyed, but the city prides itself in its heritage: namely its old church and bridge along the river. The town also has the building that leans the most. It was a small hotel on the water that looked like it might topple over. It was unlike any American city I had ever seen for sure. We don’t have many cities with architecture that old or majestic. While we do have breathtaking skyscrapers and sprawling cities, there’s absolutely something to be said for quaint towns with a cathedral and a stone bridge on the river. I think I could live in a place like Ulm.
We wrapped up our afternoon in Ulm and went back to the University and got to actually meet someone from BMW. He was high up in the company. I was very impressed by the quality and expertise of the presenters so far. He spoke mostly about the future of self-driving technology and BMW’s approach to the new tech. He talked about their more conservative approach to releasing new technology. As far as I am aware, they have not yet released any self-driving tech but have plenty of working prototypes. They want to absolutely make sure their product is ready for market. The recent Uber accident has really tainted the reputation of the company and BMW wants to avoid such a disaster and will lose out on early profits to play it safe. He was invested in us and the questions we had. It is always encouraging to see a business professional take interest in me and other students.
That evening, we all went out to celebrate Jeremy’s birthday. It was a good end to a pretty busy day. I’ve found that it’s easier to enjoy one another’s company after a day seeing new and interesting things as a group. I’m definitely enjoying Germany more and more.