I woke up at 7:30 am, got breakfast and headed for the bus. The name on the bus was “Storz” which made me think of the Martz bus company back home in Dallas, PA. One thing I noticed was that both this area of Germany and Pittsburgh have similar traffic in the morning. As we were driving, it became apparent that the speed limits are different depending on which lane a vehicle is in. The Germans are very respectful drivers. They immediately go into the right lane as soon as they pass another vehicle. Afterwards, I confirmed that fact with the German students. I was also amazed at how green the landscape and surroundings areas were.
That makes sense because Germans are more environmentally conscious than Americans. I also noticed that the traffic signs operated differently than in the USA. Before turning green, both the read and yellow lights are on to alert the drivers. The roads are clean and well kept as well. I’m surprised that for a culture that is so environmentally friendly, that they don’t worry as much about their health. Germans smoke…A LOT.
We got to Hirshvogel Automotive Group and were given a presentation by one the Vice Presidents. After the lecture, we toured the facility where we saw all the machines operate completely without human intervention. The manual machines were actually my favorite. They were typically machines that applied thousand of pounds of force unto hot metal. I found myself thinking about the intense training people would need in run that machinery. As we were walking through the facility I saw that no one wore hard hats, and once again, everyone was smoking. I didn’t understand why they would do this because Germans are very efficient, safe, and ridged to a certain extent. To not wear any form of a helmet seemed very dangerous.
As we walked through the facility, I observed that the emergency exit signs were quite different from those found in the US. In America, the emergency exits are noted with a red sign marked with the word “Exit” in white letters. In Germany, exit signs are green with both a picture of a running man and an arrow indicating the route in white. The US seems to relate the color red with emergency, while Germany uses green for safety.
We were then off to the Alps, but before going up the mountains we enjoyed the village of Oberammergau. It was a very old style village, with catholic figurines in every store.
I saw a Texas hat which was strange to see in a foreign country, but I started thinking about it. In the US we have international items for sale, so it only makes sense for other places too. After an hour or so of shopping, we headed back to the bus and went to the gondola to climb up the mountain. The mountain elevation wasn’t too extreme, but it was still an incredible view. We started throwing snow balls off the side of the mountain and trying to see who can throw the furthest. The German students didn’t think the mountain was that special, but everyone else was in awe.
We came down the mountain and got back on the bus only to realize that the bus we were riding on was a Mercedes , and its tires were from Continental, which is the next company we’re visiting. With cars being so prominent in Germany, it makes sense that the companies would interact together. Knowing that Mercedes is known for luxury vehicles and sports cars, I was surprised to know they manufactured buses and coaches as well.
We returned to Augsburg and went out to get döner for dinner. Justin, who can speak German, came out with us and boy did it help. I never realized how disconnected I was until I relied on one person to literally answer all my questions by asking a waiter or a random civilian. We then went to get gelato. I thought It was good, but American ice cream is better. Then we came back to the hotel. Thank you!!