I started off today excited for Ulm, as we would be able to see the view from the top of the tallest church in the world, the Münster. To get to Ulm, we took one of the faster trains that you can take in Europe, the ICE. We departed right from Munich, and it was both fascinating and nauseating to see the world passing by that quickly. After about a forty-five-minute ride, we arrived in Ulm.
I was immediately taken off guard by the sheer amount of construction going on around us. There were construction sites, cranes, and other machinery throughout the walk from the station. What was weird to see was all of them actually working at the time, as in the United States, usually if I see a construction site it is completely still.
We continued to make our way through the city, and all of a sudden, we turned a corner and there it was- the Münster. The Münster is the tallest church in the world at a height of 530 feet, which is 5 feet shorter than the Cathedral of Learning. The footprint of the Münster is massive too, and according to the paths I laid out on Google Earth, it covers an area larger than a football field. It’s impossible to appreciate its scale in photos as it is still looks like a traditional church from the outside. When standing next to it, you realize just how massive it is.
At this point, I was still excited to climb the Munster, and we all started right away. To the top, it is 768 steps, and we the height we finish at is 17 meters from the point of the spire. About halfway up the church was when it really got interesting for me, because as it turns out I can get pretty afraid of heights. I have only ever been this afraid of heights once before in my life, and that was on the Eiffel Tower. The combination of the open windows on the spiral staircase letting you see how high up you were, wondering how the church could possibly be standing and be structurally sound, with the wind that was rushing around us, just made me absolutely freak out.
After conquering each one of those 768 excruciating steps, and with the help of some of my peers (Michelle on the way up), I made it to the top. Once I gathered the courage to stop looking a the floor I was standing on, the view was breathtaking. We were there on a cold but sunny and clear day, and you were able to see for miles. I managed to get some pictures, but I couldn’t pull myself together enough to get a panorama.
One thing that kinda sucks about climbing up 768 steps and being extremely afraid of each step is that you also must climb down those 768 steps. I personally thought the trip down was much worse because when you looked out the windows on the walls of the staircase, you were looking directly downward. Eventually, and again with the help of my peers (Eamann on the way down) I made it to the bottom. Now, not only can I say I climbed the Munster, but I never have to ever again.
After that experience, we waited at the bottom for our tour guide to take us around the city. He was extremely knowledgeable about the city of Ulm, and he was a fantastic guide. On the tour we saw many interesting parts of Ulm, including one of the few full-functioning astronomical clocks on the planet, the inside of the Munster, and the Danube.
Something I found really interesting that I learned on the tour was that nearly 80% of Ulm was destroyed during a 3-hour bombing of the city that took place in 1944, and that nearly everything we were seeing was rebuilt, except for the Munster. It remained untouched during the bombings. The reasoning behind that is because the church, already being built at the highest point of the town, was also extremely tall, and acted as a landmark for pilots and enabled them to see where they were in relation to it. I think that it was probably a combination of this and the Allies recognizing the Munster’s importance.
Another thing on the tour that I thought was cool were the small rivers/creeks running right through the village of Old Ulm. I have always loved things like this, with the sound of the water running as you walk over, and looking down and seeing the curve of the stream.
We finished the tour directly in front of the restaurant we would be eating at for lunch, a Crepe place called Pfannakuckenhaus. There, I had veal with a mushroom sauce that was amazing. After lunch, we made our way back to the train station and rode the ICE back to Augsburg
That night, my presentation group and I worked on our company presentations for the next day. We were back from Ulm around 4:00pm, and worked late into the night to finish up everything that needed to be done.
Takeaway of the day: World War II is unavoidable today.
Everywhere we have been so far has been touched in one way or another by WWII. Many of the places we have been were bombed severely during the war, even where we are staying in Augsburg. The Town Hall with the golden ceiling in the Golden Hall was rebuilt completely after the war. It was difficult for me to resonate with this destruction for two reasons. The first was that there was no such destruction in the United States for me to relate to. The US was never subjected to anywhere near the level of destruction in Europe.
The other reason is how nice everything looks today in the cities that were once in ruins. You can see in the 1945 picture of Ulm the destruction that took place, and it is hard to believe that the second picture is of the same city. Going online after visiting and seeing some pictures of the destruction and comparing them to what we were able to see in person was incredibly moving, and helped me to see the settings of the cities we have visited in a different perspective.
Car of the Day: Mercedes-AMG G63
This is now the old model of the G63, having been just recently replaced by the 2018 model. This model has a 5.4 liter twin-turbo V8 producing 563 horsepower, which is more than the giant 4×4 squared that won Car of the Day in Munich. This truck can get from 0-60 mph in just 5.2 seconds.
Motorcycle of the day: Moto Guzzi V7 II
Today was a slow day for cars because we weren’t really on any streets in Ulm, and we didn’t travel much once we were back. That being said, we did see this Moto Guzzi motorcycle that I thought looked really cool with a matte yellow gas tank. These modern but classic styled motorcycles have always been my favorites, and it’s not too often that you see them instead of the more sport-oriented motorcycles.