Why are we stopping in midair? – Day 3

Phoebe Katz – May 10

This morning we woke up early for our first company visit of the trip. There were some baby croissants at breakfast, which I very much enjoyed. Our company visit was at Hoerbiger. First stop was their valve and actuator production facility, where we got to see how their office space was organized and got an introduction to some of the production. One of their production laboratories required special shoes and lab coats to enter, which was an exciting costume change. I was surprised that they did not make us put our hair up because they said hair could mess up the product. Then we went to the Hoerbinger automotive plant, where they make collars for vehicle transmission systems. Within the automotive industry, Hoerbiger holds a very unique position because they make such a specialized product. They are supplied by companies that process raw materials and sell to companies that build engine and transmission systems for cars. They have a large market share but are in a precarious position due to the decline of the internal combustion engine. It was a little hard to hear the tour guide, but otherwise it was very cool. Just walking around and seeing all the machines moving about, doing their business was very cool. I did notice that there were very few women working there, which was not entirely surprising but reflects American culture more than I expected. 

The company provided us with a lunch of sandwiches. We finished up the visit with a brief discussion about the future of the company, given the emerging electric vehicle market. Our bus then took us to the Alps, where we rode a gondola to the peak of the mountain. The ride was beautiful and reminded me of Colorado. The view today had a lot more greenery though, as I visited Colorado during the winter. It was weird that the gondola did not have seats, as every gondola I’ve ever been in this States has little booth things. I did not like that the lift stopped in the middle, it was very disconcerting and the way it swayed while no longer in motion made it feel like we were slipping down the mountain. 

We took lots of pictures from the top of the mountain and we got to see people hang gliding. It looked very fun and now I really wanna go hang gliding at some point in the near future. I wish that we had time to hike up the mountain, as it would have felt great to feel a sense of accomplishment along with the view. When we got back to the valley, we had some free time to eat dinner. I had pork roast and a big bread ball (matzoh ball but with normal bread and also it was huge). Then I got a chocolate ice cream cone. Right before we got back on the bus, I did a nice roll down the hill next to the parking lot and got a little dirty but it was super worth it. I took a nice nap on the way back to Augsburg. 

The trees on the mountain featuring Sydney

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