So of course, like most days to come, I started with breakfast at the hotel. I treated myself to a 13 out of 10 waffle with Nutella again. We then headed to Regensburg, but we first had to cross a bridge from where the bus was, to get there.
The first thing I noticed was how this bridge was so clean. This has been a recurring observation, that many of streets in Germany have been well kept and clean, with very little litter. Once we got there, we split into two groups in order to take a tour of the city.
Something that I noticed about the city was that it was filled with homes for patricians and wealthy families.
This made me think that Regensburg was a city for the wealthier. On our tour, we got a chance to visit the Dom of St. Peters Cathedral.
This was filled with intricate the artwork and sculptures on the outside of the building. Inside, it was filled with absolutely stunning stained glass.
Throughout the trip so far, I have been stunned by the complexity and the beauty of the architecture here. It is so interesting to be able to visit the old cathedrals, churches, and other sites as they are not as old in the United States. The day we came back to Pittsburgh for Plus3, a friend and I visited the Heinz Chapel at Pitt and had a chance to see the stained glass in the building and although it was beautiful, there was no comparison to the stained glass we had a chance to see in the cathedral. We continued our tour ending with a fortress made by a patrician. By the end of the tour, I found that there was a lot of Roman architecture in the city and that it was very Catholic much like Augsburg and the rest of Bavaria. We then headed to Continental, where we started with a welcome presentation, where they explained the basics of what they make, what divisions they have, and their size and locations.
We then headed to their canteen, which they share with the company, Siemens. It was really cool to find out they work with Siemens, as my mom worked there and when she talked about their headquarters it always seemed so far away, but now that we were here, it was really cool to know they work with Continental and I was able to see their site. At the canteen, I had a lunch of mixed vegetables, pasta, and coffee -like pudding.
This was a pretty similar lunch to something you could find in the United States. This cafeteria had a very similar setup to the Mensa, where you get your food first and then find a place to sit. Something I have been observing over the past couple of days is that at meals, Germans do not waste any food, they finish everything on their plate. This has definitely influenced me, making me more watchful of how much food I take so that I can try to finish it completely.
After lunch, we received a presentation about innovation management at Continental and it was really interesting to see how they think through their ideas and where their innovation comes from and what challenges they look at. We then got to go on our factory tour, and I was already excited when I saw that we would be wearing funny coats and shoe covers, that would keep the static and electrostatic charge of our bodies from damaging any of the equipment. Once we got into the manufacturing part of the factory, I was shocked (pun: because I wouldn’t have been shocked as we were grounded, no electrostatic charge, by the fun shoe covers) by how much of it was automated. They had machines soldering parts to circuit boards, scooters finding delivering parts from areas that store thousands of parts, and robot arms building other items. Continental’s factory was completely different from Hirschvogel’s as it was cleaner, as there was no forging going on, and there was more automated inside the factory at Continental. I have been quite impressed by these company visits and the large scale they are able to innovate and manufacture on.
After finishing our company visit, we headed back to the main part of Regensburg and explored for an hour. We visited various shops and got to see what seemed like a German version of a CVS, it was called dm. While there, I got to see my first plastic bottle of water in Germany, all the water before then had been in glass bottles. We then went to Weltenburger, I ordered a type of salad that almost looked like a taco salad. But it also came with bread, fried cheese, and preiselbeere jelly, which I later found out is lingonberry jelly but we don’t have this fruit in the United States so when I asked for help translating, it was hard because even as an American I wouldn’t have known lingonberries exist. I absolutely LOVED the jelly, it was so good, and I couldn’t stop eating it. I liked it so much I think I’m going to look for a bottle of it at a grocery store so that I can take it home. One of the German students, Freddie, sat our table for dinner, along with a lot of us from Pittsburgh. We were able to talk to him about differences in cultures even within Germany, what his university is like, among other topics which was really cool to learn about. So far on this trip, I have been learning so much from the German students and have enjoyed getting to talk to them all so much. They are all so nice and open to talking to us.
On the way back home to Augsburg, there were so many farms that were growing hops which I wasn’t expecting. You couldn’t go five minutes without seeing another place that was growing hops. I didn’t expect to see as many of those farms as I did. This trip has been going swimmingly so far, although too fast. So far, I have learned so much and gotten to experience so many new things, and I am absolutely loving it.