What a day this was! It started at the Pittsburgh Airport, where we arrived after breakfast. After a few hours of meeting each other and saying goodbye to the other Plus 3 groups, it was off to our first stop – O’Hare Airport in Chicago. After a brief lapse of judgement followed by about 10 minutes of panic when I left my phone on the plane, I was excited to have a real chance to get to know my fellow Plus 3 Germany participants. I had made it my goal to know everyone’s name by the time we departed O’Hare, and between the games and talking during our layover I achieved it. After a long, nearly sleepless flight, we arrived in Munich Airport around 10am with a full day ahead of us. The airport was nice and very clean, just like the bus we took to Augsburg. I was very tired on the bus but kept my eyes open to see the German countryside, which had beautiful green fields and red-roofed houses.
After a short check-in at the hotel, during which my roommate, Jess, and I browsed German television channels, we took a walking tour of Augsburg, led by Dr. Feick himself. We saw the beautiful city hall and the room of the gold-plated ceiling, which was amazing and looked like it belonged in an art museum. We walked through the commercial, pedestrian streets that were mostly empty because it was Sunday. I loved the cobblestone streets made for pedestrians and how none of the buildings were too tall. It gives the city a more personal and relaxing feel.
Next we saw the Fuggerei, an enclosed neighborhood developed by Jakob Fugger, a wealthy man of Augsburg, in the time of Martin Luther. The neighborhood was designed to accommodate poorer residents of the city. Despite this, the houses were nice and decently large and the neighborhood was equipped with many small gardens. I was surprised and delighted to learn that although the neighborhood is very important, the rent is still very low and the original purpose from the neighborhood is still upheld. I really felt as if were walking through a historical place.
Lastly, we went to dinner with the German students that we’re working with. Even thought I was exhausted at this point, I did my best to make conversation with them. They were very friendly! I was delighted to learn that the girl sitting across from me is in my group for the project. I ate some delicious spinach meatballs and apple strudel, which helped keep me awake and talkative throughout the dinner. I so much enjoyed talking to the German students about our different cultures and languages.
Even though this was a long and tiring day, it was still an amazing welcome to Germany and start off the next two weeks.