The second day of the trip was just as (if not more) amazing than the first. I started off the day by getting a great roll from the hotel for breakfast. After that our group took a streetcar to meet the German students at Augsburg University. When we got there, I was surprised to see how similar the campus felt to American schools. There were several small differences though, for example there were no water fountains (which don’t exist in Germany at all). In addition, their university store was only two small display cabinets with a few t shirts. This was pretty surprising to see because it is so different at Pitt.
Working with the German students was really fun. I was impressed with how easily we got along and were able to cooperate to get our initial presentation accomplished. We struggled with PowerPoint because it was in German and the German student’s laptop had a German keyboard which was slightly different that our US ones. I also continued to be impressed with how well the German students spoke English. For the most part, younger Germans know English pretty well, while the older generations don’t know it at all. I’ve been able to get by with my very limited knowledge of German everywhere though, but it is incredibly helpful to have someone around who can speak German.
After our brief company presentations, we had lunch in the Augsburg University cafeteria which was a lot nicer than our cafeteria at Pitt. The food was delicious for a start, and it was also so well organized and clean. I had the Spätzle, which is a really good German dish with noodles. One of the German students told me it was very easy to make at home, and I think I will after I get back. At lunch, I also realized how much I liked the sparkling water. I think it will be really hard to go back once I return to the US.
After lunch we had a scavenger hunt with the German graduate students who will be studying at Pitt this fall. This was another opportunity for us to get to know Augsburg and the German way of life. The scavenger hunt ended at the Basilica of St. Ulrich and Afra which was another astonishing building named after the patron saints of Augsburg. By far the coolest part of this cathedral was the crypt where the tomb of St. Ulrich was. It was just really cool to see and reminded me of something out of Lord of the Rings.
After the scavenger hunt, we went to a Reigele restaurant where we got German beer without the alcohol. I tried all three kinds offered: the traditional beer, the wheat beer, and an IPA. I liked them all, but especially the IPA because of its fruitier flavor. I was kind of surprised by how much I liked the beer they had here. To top off the fun afternoon, the bathroom had a tree urinal which was very funny and cool.
We then met back up with the group at an Italian place called the Dragone. I took Dr. Feick’s recommendation and ordered the Rusticana which was a pizza with ham, Parmesan cheese, and a lot of arugula on top. It was delicious. Some of my friends ordered a “pepperoni pizza”. In Germany, pepperoni are actually yellow peppers, so they got a pizza covered in these huge yellow peppers. It was hilarious. Throughout the trip I’ve been so impressed with the quality of the food and ingredients. I’ve also become hooked on the sparkling water they serve over here and I know I’m going to have a hard time switching back once I return to the US.