May 7th: Views for Miles and Miles

Hirschvogel Factory Entrance

Today was my favorite day so far! After indulging in more fried bacon from the hotel to start my day, we headed for Hirschvogel, our first company visit. Upon arrival we were instantly welcomed to the company and given a very insightful presentation by the Vice President and Head of Engineering Innovation, Dr. Raedt. This presentation was great but what I truly enjoyed was the factory tour; seeing the actual manufacturing process was so interesting. We got the opportunity to see red-hot metals being forged into hundreds of different automotive pieces. The factory complex was massive; it had so many different buildings each doing different things. There were certain areas for hot forging, warm forging, cold forging, and even some buildings that had multiple going on at the same time. After the tour we were able to eat lunch at the complex’s dining facility and once again the food was wonderful. I had some type of pork with a pasta noodle. (One thing I am realizing is that I often don’t know what I am eating but at least it tastes good! Guess I am doing a good job trying new things)

Cuckoo Clock from Oberammergau

After lunch, we left Hirschvogel and headed to the small town of Oberammergau. We spent some time walking around and exploring the town which I loved. It was filled with gift shops that sold your typical souvenir magnets and t-shirts but also unique items such as Bavarian steins and wooden cuckoo-clocks. I was tempted to buy so many things but I did not. I’m hoping to get many souvenirs when we go to Munich on Saturday.

Afterwards we headed for the Laber mountain, hoping to see an incredible view. Taking the cable cars to the top was an amazing experience; at some points along the way we were a hundred meters above the ground! Good thing I am not afraid of heights! Once arriving at the top we were greeted with a picturesque scene with land as far as the eye could see. To the North we could see Oberammergau and miles and miles of land. One map could even point out Augsburg far in the distance. To the South we could see the Alps stretch the whole way across the landscape. We were so lucky that the weather was nice today; I saw photos from when last year’s group went to the top of the Laber and all that could be seen was fog.

View of the Alps from the Laber Mountain

After arriving back in Augsburg, we were left to find dinner on our own so a group of students decided to go to Vapiano, an Italian restaurant recommended by Arielle. The ordering system was so unique there. Upon arrival you are given a card and you walk around to get your food and, when you do, you scan your card at each location and it adds the amount of money onto your card. After you are done eating you go to the front desk and you scan your card and then you pay the total amount. I have never seen a system like this before but I thought it was a great idea and I will surely be back to Vapiano before we leave the city. Also, they apparently it has locations in New York and Washington D.C. so I will surely be back in America.

Once arriving back at the hotel, a group of us decided to sit down in the lobby and blog as a group. On the TV in the lobby, the Champions League Semifinal game between Liverpool and Barcelona was playing and a crowd of people were gathered watching. I loved this experience because first, in America, a lot of the European professional soccer games are shown on TV around 1 or 2 pm because of the time difference, but while in Europe these games are shown at prime time around 7, 8, or 9 pm. Also, these games aren’t a big deal in America. It would be very rare to see a large group of people crowded around a public TV to watch European soccer. And to make the experience even better, Liverpool (my favorite club) won and has advanced to the Champions League Final.

Overall it was an amazing day with so many highs and not to many lows so I’m hoping this trend continues!

Highlight of the Day: The view from the top of the Laber Mountain.  

Low of the Day: Not getting a souvenir from Oberammergau.  

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