Day 3: Throwing Snowballs off the Alps

Today was the first company tour. Going into the day, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the tours. Once we got to Hirschvogel, I was absolutely blown away. We talked to the Vice President of the company who was an engineer about the manufacturing processes that go into making all of the small car parts that Hirschovgel produces. 

The Hirschvogel Group Outside of the Company Headquarters

After that introduction to the company, we took a tour in small groups around the facility. I wish I was able to take a video or pictures showing what I saw, but I was not allowed to in order to keep the company’s processes secret. I was so impressed with what I saw. Massive forges with insanely large presses were mass producing all kinds of parts from rods of steel. There were three of these forges a hot, warm, and cold forge referencing the temperature at which the metal was shaped at. I got to know the engineer who lead the tour and she gave me a lot of great information about the processes the company used. I am probably going to apply for an internship at their location in Ohio.  For lunch I had some beef dish with a Spezi soda. I was really happy to see the soda bottles were recycled and that Hirschvogel would continue to recycle their glass cans. In general, I feel like everyone in Germany is very environmentally conscious.

After the awesome tour, we went to Oberammagau which was a small Bavarian village near the Alps. I got a really good coffee there and walked around the village for an hour or so. It was definitely a tourist destination but it was still cool to see the very traditional Bavarian clothing and merchandise. I was tempted to buy myself a new wallet (which I desperately need) but I remembered that they were designed for Euros not American money.  The Euros are slightly taller and less wide than American money. The amount on the bill also determines the size of the currency, with the 50 Euro being larger than the 5 Euro. Its a very organized and well thought out system because its so easy to tell the amount of the money at a glance.

A scenic lake we drove over on the way to Oberammagau

After touring Oberammagau, we took a gondola ride up to the top of the Alps. I think it is the most scenic view I have ever seen, even passing the Great Canyon in the US. The pictures I took hardly do it justice because it is very hard to capture the size and scale of the mountains with just an iPhone. We stayed up there and took a lot of cool pictures, which will now become my LinkedIn profile pictures. Looking back towards Germany was incredible as well because you could see for several miles into the German countryside. It was a beautiful view.  My friends and I made some snowballs and tried to see who could throw them the farthest off the mountain. It was a lot of fun.

Here we go Steelers!
The view looking back over Oberammagau

After the Alps we returned to Augsburg around dinner time, so my friends and I went to get food. My friends and I got Döner, which is a Turkish food similar to a gyro. It was very good and pretty cheap. In general, it feels like most things in Germany are a lot cheaper compared to the US. Also, I realized here that the tax was included in the price of the food, which was so convenient and makes a lot more sense than how we do it in the US. After the Döner, we got some gelato which was also very good and cheap. In general, I feel as though the food is a lot less processed in Germany and it tastes a lot more natural, which I think is a really good thing.  I’ve noticed that I feel better here and I think that is because of the quality of the food and their ingredients. For example, the Germans have a beer purity law that stipulates that the beer made here can only contain the four essential ingredients.

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