The long awaited trip to Germany has finally arrived! After a night in Pittsburgh, a layover in Chicago O’Hare, and the 9 hour flight we made it to our destination, Munich Airport. I was so excited to get off of the plane and start exploring this country. We gathered after baggage claim and waited for our bus to arrive. My first experience hearing German was at the Starbucks in the Airport. Although the coffee tasted exactly the same, I started to understand the difference in language when my name was spelled “Loren” instead of Lauren on my cup.
Finally we were on the bus and after roughly 10 minutes I fell asleep. I was slightly disappointed that I missed some of the scenic views on the ride to Augsburg, although it was necessary after the lack of sleep that occurred on the plane. Luckily when we got back to the hotel there was coffee waiting for us and my room was ready on time. Quickly I got changed and I was ready to start our first day in the city. The orientation with Sonya and Marius was exactly as expected. Everything was organized and we got the infamous pocket books. I was excited to see a more detailed schedule for the two weeks and finally let it set in that the trip had begun.
The tour around Augsburg was led by our very own Dr. Fieck. It was strange walking around on a Sunday because it felt like the whole city was empty. I loved seeing all the pictures we had been looking at for weeks in real life. We got our first look at the Rathausplatz and Maximilianstrabe. The next stop on the tour was the Dom. It was so interesting seeing the layout and design of a Cathedral in Germany compared to the ones in the U.S. and what I have seen on my trip to Ireland last spring. We passed the Town Hall on the way to the Dom, but was able to go inside this time. It was incredible comparing the picture of this historical location post bombing to how it was rebuilt. Once we got inside we bought our ticket to see the Golden Hall. We quickly learned that everything was not made of pure gold, but coated with a thin layer of gold. The tour of the Fuggeri House was something I didn’t know we were going to do. It was fascinating getting to walk throughout the houses and seeing how nice and updated everything was kept. These social houses are still used today and the rent per year is significantly cheaper then anything else in Augsburg. Towards the end of the tour it set in that the last meal I ate was a croissant on the plane at 7:30. Luckily we soon left to meet the German students at Koing von Flandern.
I had no idea what to expect when meeting the other students. I was curious to see how they would dress, what they would know about the US, how much English they would speak and about their lives in Germany. I sat at a table with Noami and Laura along with Jess, Alex and Steph. We soon started comparing our universities, talking about Lady Gaga in the Star is Born (what most people watched on the plane), and trying to understand what the menu translated to in English. We finally had our first German meal which is similar to what I was expecting. The meat and dumplings were very good, but I was not a fan of the red cabbage that was served on the side. We also learned that Germans often have denser wheat bread then what we are used to in America. After a long day it was finally time to go back to the hotel and get settled in for the rest of our trip!
Highlight of the Day: Visiting the Golden Hall