Phoebe Katz, May 16
I got a great night of sleep last night so I woke up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. I had two egg sandwiches for breakfast instead of my usual one because I was feeling hungry after my lack of dinner last night. Then we walked to the train station but it was raining and our train was canceled. I walked back to the hotel because I forgot a sweater and then we boarded the train 30 minutes later. It was packed, because it had two trains full of people on it. I listened to a This American Life episode about NFTs and cryptocurrency and soon enough, we were in Ulm. Almost immediately after leaving the station, we could see the giant cathedral. It was beautiful, but unfortunately, there was a lot of construction around it, so only one side was visible. It was a little jarring to see the juxtaposition of the old Gothic style with the modern shopping street that led to it. That does feel like an accurate representation of many European cities, though.
We split into groups for the tour and then walked around for about an hour and a half. It was not particularly interesting, although the tour guide did speak very clearly. I enjoyed actually seeing much of the city, though. The church reminded me of every old church I’ve ever seen but the canals and plants and leaning buildings scattered around the main part of the city were beautiful. One of the old buildings had a bunch of mysterious strings attached to it that connected the city wall (unclear if this was actually a city wall, but it was a wall at the lower edge of the city so that’s what I’m going with). That building was leaning, so I thought at first that it was being held up by the strings. It was not. From the city wall on, most of what we saw was beautiful stone bridges with overgrown ivy and canals rushing with water, surrounded by drooping trees and filled with moss. I loved the way nature interacted with the city in these areas.
Immediately after the tour, we climbed up the church. Thankfully, only the halfway point was available for tours and so we only walked up part of the building. The number of steps was less of a problem than the intense spiral they sat in along with the complete utter lack of breaks in between sections of steps. By the end, we were all pretty out of breath. I recovered quickly, though, and got to take a few pictures before we headed back down. My group sang some wonderful Pitbull songs on the way down and then we headed to dinner. We had Italian once again. It was pretty good, I got a giant margherita pizza. Then we hopped back on the train to Augsburg. I spent the hours before dinner working on my Webasto presentation at the University. We were pretty productive, but we hit a rainstorm on our way to the business building, so we were all sitting in soaking clothing for a while.