Wow, what a day this has been! We just traveled for about sixteen hours, and fortunately, I was able to sleep for much of the overnight portion. But after exploring Augsburg today, I can confirm it was definitely worth the trek. While our flights to both Chicago and Munich went smoothly, my excitement for this adventure made the travel seem longer as I just could not wait to start my two week experience.
Upon arriving at the Munich airport, I was amazed to see all of the signage in German. It confirmed to me that we made it. First stop- the ATM machine. This was when I was able to spot my first difference between back home and here. The Euro is so much sleeker than our dollar as each bill is a different color and the overall look is much cleaner. I also learned later that there is a fifty cent, dollar, and two dollar coins and the larger the coin the more valuable it is worth. After boarding the bus, I got my first glance at the German landscape. It is vast with more grass lands than I had ever seen. Besides from the beautiful landscape, I noticed the cars. Most of the automobiles were Audis-and they were driving fast! The cars in the left lane seemed to be going at speeds I had never seen before.
After getting settled at the Ibis hotel, our group met in the lounge. At this time, we each received our pocket guides along with travel passes for the tram and 120 euros. As soon as we were handed the guide, I immediately analyzed what we were going to be doing each day and I was very happy to find out that we would be doing so many amazing trips. The day that I was most excited about was the first Friday which was the day we would go to Munich. My sister has many German friends and they have talked about Munich along with Berlin when they have visited us.
After reviewing logistics, Dr. Feick gave us his own personal tour of Augsburg. His tour was neat because as he was explaining history and details of the city, I could hear the excitement and enthusiasm in his voice. While on the tour, I noticed how clean the streets were which is a nice contrast to the sometimes very dirty city of Philadelphia.
After finishing Dr. Feick’s tour, we then had another tour of the Fuggerei. The Fuggerei was established by Jakob Fugger who was one of the richest men at the time and he created a place where the poor could live. He was incredibly generous and forward thinking. An amazing fact about the Fuggerei is that it is still being used today! The cost of living there today is only 88 euro cents for the whole year. This is unbelievable. During the tour we went inside one of the houses and I noticed that there was a little book to write notes. I could not help myself but leave a little “HTP” note inside the book.
At the end of our day, we dined at a traditional German restaurant. We finally met the German students that we will be working with on our project. My first reactions to talking to these students were how outgoing and welcoming they were. They spoke English incredibly well and we were able to connect on topics we both enjoyed. Sports and television shows were hot topics. The dinner was also really good and this was a relief to me as I am a very picky eater and was worried I would not like any of the German food.
This day surpassed all my expectations! And if this Day One is any indicator on how the rest of the trip will go, it just may be the best two weeks of my life!