Where to start. Luckily, our first flight was not until a little after noon so we left Pitt around 9 am. I was a little worried about overpacking and being over the 50 pound weight limit on my checked bag. We were instructed to pack for all season as it could be 70 and sunny or snowing, so I found it hard to not overpack. Our first flight to Charlotte was very smooth. I think I dozed off a little since the fight felt like 30ish minutes when it was around 1 hour and 15 minutes. Luckily, we had a little over an hour in the Charlotte airport before our flight to Munich, so we all grabbed some food. Our flight to Munich was massive. My seat number was J so I was expected a window seat. I was in the middle aisle seat so I was definitely wrong. I wanted to see over the ocean but did not get a good view. I was mentally preparing for sitting in the same seat for 7+ hours when about an hour in we got an alert that we needed to land since there was a malfunction with the radar further out into the ocean. Although we were already over the ocean, we had to turn around and land at JFK Airport in New York City. Once we landed, we stayed in our seats for about 30 minutes before being told to deplane, we were getting a new airplane. We traveled to a new gate and waited to reboard a new airplane. These kinds of issues do not usually happen as I was told. We were waiting for about 3 hours before we were able to reboard and finally take off. At that point, I was more emotionally and mentally tired than I was physically. We got complimentary beverages followed by food. This was my first experience with hot airplane food. It was subpar but edible so we made it work. For the majority of the flight, I tried to sleep and slept for like 2 hours total. I listened to music, played games, and tried to sleep, keyword tried, for most of the flight.
Once we arrived, we used a set of stairs to exit the plane. This was my first experience not just walking straight into the airport. We arrived behind schedule but I was okay with it. We arrived around 11 am which to me was more reasonable than the planned 7:00 am. I was expecting a long line at customs. Surprisingly, a lot of my fellow passengers lived in countries part of the EU. All they had to do was scan their passport and get their photo taken before they went on their way. We then got our baggage and proceeded to the coach bus that was waiting for us. We promptly left the airport and traveled from Munich to our hotel in Augsburg. The ride was mostly rural and was only about 1 hour.
Once we got to our hotel, we set our stuff down and got food. We went down into the main square where all the trains meet and tried to grab food at one of the bakeries. We arrived on a Sunday and everything is closed or closes very early on Sundays in Germany. What do we do as Americans? Go to McDonald’s. It was definitely interesting to see what they have and what we don’t. One thing I was not a fan of was the light Coca-Cola. They lightened it with lemon and it tasted watered it down. Overall the food was not bad and we continued to get settled in.
Our next meal was with the Augsburg students. They spread out at different tables so a few Pitt students could sit at each table. At first, it was awkward. Especially since my table was mostly grad students who ranged in age from 22-25. After a little while, we warmed up to each other and talked about everything under the sun. It was a fun experience and a great relationship builder.
Without being here in Germany for more than 24 hours, I was ready to just get into bed. More energy and adventures to come.