We landed in Germany around 6:00 AM. The airplane landed at a separate building from the rest of the airport, so we had to take a bus to get to customs. Even though I had only slept a couple hours on the flight, I did not feel tired. After claiming our bags, we found out that the bus was still in Augsburg, so we went to exchange currency while we were waiting. After getting some euros, I bought an apfelschorle, which is carbonated apple juice. My high school German teacher had mentioned it several times, but this was my first time trying it. Finally, the bus arrived. When we went outside, I noticed that all of the taxis were BMWs and Mercedes, which came as a shock to me. I was not expecting the taxis to be such high-end cars. Another surprise was the bus had a second entrance in the middle.
During the drive to Augsburg, I struggled to stay awake. For whatever reason, I always fall asleep on long drives/train rides. Despite my lack of rest over the past few days, I managed to stay conscious. The German Countryside looked very much like farmland you would see in the Midwest. However, the architecture looked different from anything I had seen in the U.S. I also saw several American fast food franchises, which came as a surprise.
After arriving in Augsburg, we went into the hotel. It was too early to check in, so we moved our bags into the conference room. I set my bag down, and the next thing I remember is Liam shaking me awake, telling me that we were going somewhere. Somewhere turned out to be a quick tour of the city before the University of Augsburg staff arrived. We made it to the Koenigsplatz, the center of the tram system, before Dr. Feick told us it was time to go back. When we got back to the hotel, we went to the room we left our luggage in. That was when we met Sonja and Simon, the supervisors from the University of Augsburg. They gave us bags with several pamphlets, maps, and 120 euros for food.
Then we left the hotel for a more in-depth tour of the city. First, we stopped at Ihle, a bakery. I got a sandwich on a pretzel, which I had not seen before. Next, we went to the Rathaus (town hall) and town square. We went into the Rathaus and went to the top floor, which was one large room that was entirely gilded. Apparently, that was where the mayor of Augsburg met other officials and statesmen. We also visited St. Anna’s Church, a gothic church near the town hall. The interior was absolutely breathtaking. It was the type of historical European architecture that has no comparison in America.
After visiting the church, we got to return to the hotel for a few hours. I took what was probably the best shower and nap of my life. After my nap, we went to take a tour of the Fuggerei, the first social housing. Built by Jakob Fugger, the Fuggerei were a place for impoverished citizens of Augsburg to live. We also met Benedikt, a German student. After touring the Fuggerei, we went to the welcome dinner. I got the schnitzel with spatzle, which was very good. However, I could not keep my eyes open the entire meal. After we finished dinner, we went straight to the hotel. I was out cold within minutes of getting to my room.