May 14th: With approximately 660 steps (1,320 if you count going down) to start our day, we finished off one of the last city tours in Ulm, which was the most tiring day, to say the least.
Today we would be visiting the city of Ulm, which was actually not in Bavaria, the state where we have been spending all of our time in Germany. At the center of Ulm is the Ulmer Münster, which is the tallest church in the world. In comparison to the gothic style of the church, surrounding the church are more “modern” buildings, since the town was bombed and most of the buildings except the church were destroyed.
Before we even started to dive into the city tour, we immediately went to the church to climb the stairs all the way to the top. With only small spiral staircases fit for one person to the top, it seems truly deadly. Albiet, I am not in excellent shape to be doing this in the first place, but I’m honestly not sure how tourists always do this trek and are fine after. Ryan and I took a photo about 1/3 of the way up, completely worn out, which I added below. The view was pretty once we were at the top, but, in my opinion, it definitely did not compare to the other views we have seen on the trip so far.
One of the interesting things I did learn about the church was that it took over 500 years to build. This is just mind-boggling to think that someone drew up the plans for the church and it then took generations and generations to build; the great-great-grandchildren of the first people who designed the plans wouldn’t have even been able to see its completion. Due to this, as we learned, there are several different architectural styles that can be observed in the church, since it took on many different time periods while it was being built.
After our tiring walk up the church, we immediately proceeded to another historic tour of the city. The weather in Germany was again not on our side, as many of us were underdressed for strong winds and slight rain. The history tour as a whole was okay, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the others. I think the lack of sleep, bad weather, and long city tours caught up to everyone today because no one was interested in our day in Ulm and we all wanted to be home. Today was the first day I felt like I would be content going home and I hate that I was feeling this with 3 more days to go in Germany.
Besides this, there were still some cool things on the tour that I enjoyed. The first thing we saw was the city hall which had large renaissance style paintings and fake architecture on the exterior. The best thing about the city hall was the astronomical clock, which not only told the time, but also the positions of the sun, moon, and zodiac constellations. They said it even knows when an eclipse will occur, which I can’t even imagine is possible with how old it was.
We continued onto our city tour which felt incredibly longer than usual. The weather definitely dampened the mood, since most of us were ready to go home away from the cold. The city seemed very cute and something I would have loved to explore more of, but with the poor conditions and lack of energy, it was hard to pay attention and appreciate it.
After the tour, we went to dinner at Allgaüer Dof, which was a crepe restaurant in Ulm. The food I ate was actually the most similar to anything I could imagine at home, which was a savory crepe that was almost like a sloppy Joe. At dinner, I got to talk to Fiona more and it started to settle in how much I would miss all the German students. We talked about different things from where she has and is looking to travel, American prom, and how she is studying in Canada next fall and is planning to visit Pitt. Since it was still kinda Eammon’s birthday, we ended dinner with a birthday cake that was handmade by the owner.
When we finished up our day in Ulm we went back to the university to put in more hours into the presentation for Faurecia. Today we actually heard from one of our group members Alicia that she is unable to make it due to an injury requiring her to be in the hospital. Although we had our presentation essentially complete, we had to devote another 4 consecutive hours with the group until we felt very good about our standing. Tomorrow will be our presentation day, so we had to put in a lot of work for research to make sure we fully understood the company since there were still a lot of holes after the company visit. Once our group finished up the four American students of Faurecia rode over to Murdock’s burgers to meet up with a majority of the other students.
Overall, different factors in the day made it the least enjoyable of the days so far. Looking back on the day, I wish I could have opted out of the church climb and instead walked around the city to see more. The city tour took us all over the city, but we didn’t really enjoy it, rather walked with a guide through it. It was really nice to sit at the restaurant and talk to Fiona more since there is only so much time to have real conversations and learn more about the other students. I’m really looking forward to when hopefully some of them do decide to visit Pitt and we can all meet up again.