Day 9: Magnificent, Monstrous in Size, the Ulm Munster (May 16)

Another day where we had to take the train, the group traversed through early morning rain to the Augsburg train station. As soon as we arrived, we realized that our train had been canceled, meaning we had to wait another half an hour. In the end it was fine because only a few minutes after the group set foot in Ulm, we were able to witness the beauty of the Munster. Just looking at the tallest cathedral in the world on the outside was enough to decide it was the peak of architecture I have seen so far on the trip.

We then started a guided tour of the church and other important aspects of the city. Immediately, the tour guide took us into the ground floor of the cathedral, which matched the gorgeous architecture on the outside. The first thing to stand out was the stain glass lining the walls of the church. Some of the art was created in the 14th and 15th century, when the cathedral production was initiated.

Stained Glass Showing Importance of Science

The most notable stained glass window is the one above, where a link between religion and science is shown clearly. Surprisingly, there is the depiction of the big bang in the center of the window, and there are the names of scientists like Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, who was actually born in Ulm. Important scientific equations and findings can also be seen along the sides of the glass. Ultimately, the message portrayed is that religion and science can coexist together without conflict.

The next important part of the church I saw was the choir or preaching area. There are these wonderful organs that hang near the roof, and it only adds to the grand, beautiful nature of the cathedral. While we are all intaking the breath-taking sites in front of us, our wonderful tour guide is presenting us with a great amount of information about the history of the Munster and the city’s history as a whole.

Grandiose Organs

We then walked through the rest of the main city, seeing the town hall and other important buildings in the area. Another unique part of Ulm was the fact that there are streams running throughout the city streets, eventually diverting to the Danube River. This is actually similar to Ulm, and both are very cool things to see that one would not expect. Right beside this little river sat a famous hotel. The hotel is actually famous for having the most tilted floor in the world, and the furniture inside has its leg length adjusted so they are leveled.

Stream flowing through the city
Tilted Hotel

We also learned about the town’s obsession with sparrows, with multiple statues placed around the city. There is also one on top of one of the roofs of the Munster, which is the sparrow that started the long lasting affection for the bird. Some of the statues do look a tad questionable because the artist used more human-like eyes for the sparrow.

Sparrow Statue

After seeing the most important parts of Ulm, the group returned to the Munster to ascend part of its 768 steps to the top. We could not go to the very top due to construction, roughly 400 steep steps still made for a decent workout. The view from the upper balconies were absolutely worth it, giving me the opportunity to see a great landscape of the city with the hills in the background.

View from atop the Cathedral

As we made way for the descent, some of the boys sang some tunes to motivate us down the steps. Pitbull and Katy Perry consisted on the artists we made renditions of, and even Korbinian joined in for a few verses. It was definitely a great way to end the tour of the city of Ulm.

We then ate lunch at a nice Italian restaurant with massive sized pizza. It was another excellent meal and served everyone well for the train ride back to Augsburg. Once we did arrive back home, the rest of the day was spent working on the group presentations that are due in two days. Overall, it was an eventful, productive day that I am very lucky to have experienced.

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