Sunday, July 11, 2010

Luxury Cars and Vineyards

11/07 Zweibrucken Day 2

We got up this morning and had a multicultural experience at the local protestant church. The church was beautiful with rustic stained glass. The crowd was almost all older people. The funny part was that the music was done by the Ghana Presbyterian choir. The Germans weren’t in their typical reverent moods. The offeratory procession was dancing down the aisles to a typical south African hymn. We were lucky to figure out what was going on before they passed.

10/07 Stuttgart Day 3 to Zweibrucken

We left the hostel for the train station around 10 am. We were finally able to walk around the city of Stuttgart. It was a really cool town. They’re known for their wine and also have a pretty awesome mountain bike culture. The city is full of engineers as well. It’s definitely a city I could enjoy living in.

We took the 1:30 train to Manheim. It was a really nice train with electricity and A/C.

In Manheim, we got on an S-Bahn that was more or less an above ground subway. It was super hot.

We arrived in a small station just outside Zweibrucken where we met Dr. Brill’s family and colleagues who drove us to our dorm.

The dorm itself is a very large, old house. We were told it was over 200 years old and one of the few buildings in Zweibrucken to survive allied bombing in World War II. Zweibrucken was an important railway hub into France during the war and was nearly taken to rubble.
We are directly across the street from an old brewery and 100 yards from the cities main shopping district.

Its a really is a good location. We also have a house mother that does our laundry, cooks, and cleans for us. It’s a pretty good deal. There are some students from Ghana here now. Some French students should be here next week too.

In the evening, we walked to the public viewing of the Germany vs Uraguay match for 3rd place. I tried a couple more different kinds of sausage. Its all becoming a little redundant.
Germany won the match, and we celebrated by eating more sausage. Afterwards, we had a tour of the city at night.

09/07 Stuttgart Day 2

We spent the morning at Mercedes Benz getting a tour of their 3D capabilities. Mercedes was a lot bigger and in a lot more countries than I expected. I really enjoyed learning about their truck and bus industries. They do in fact make more products than just luxury cars. We were given 3D face tracking glasses and controls to take apart a three-dimensional truck motor to check for collisions.

In the afternoon, we had an English speaking tour of the Mercedes museum. We saw some amazing old and new Mercedes. The concept cars were the pretty awesome.
The coolest part of the tour was not the cars but the building itself. The building was three stories and centered around a large, open, circular area. On the top floor, in the middle of the circle was a large turbine. All along the walls were air jets angled in specific directions. The purpose of the design is if there is ever fire or smoke in the museum, the turbines will create a controlled tornado to extinguish the flames and remove the smoke. It was incredible German engineering.

We went back to the hostel for the evening and grilled steaks for dinner. We also had several different types of sausage that were incredible. I needed an easy evening as I was very tired.

08/07 Munich Day 4 to Stuttgart

We started off the morning with a tour of Feynsinn. There, they do stereographic (3D) VR and augmented reality. The coolest part was an augmented reality they used for marketing in which they held a brochure of a car under a webcam and a 3D model appeared. The model of the car could be exploded into parts, cycled through colors and options, or even driven around the page. It definitely gave some marketing ideas for second semester of senior design.

We then took the afternoon train to Stuttgart. Unfortunately, the air conditioning was out and it made a 3 hour trip feel like 6. When we finally arrived in Stuttgart, we took the subway to our hostel and then had to hike up a large hill to our hostel.

Stuttgart is a very hilly region of germany. Its known for engineering and wine making. There is also a large mountain bike culture. It would definitely be a fun city to live in.

The hostel itself was pretty nice. The rooms felt like dorm rooms as we were split two to a room.

In the evening we went to a smaller beer garden. It was actually more enjoyable without the huge crowds. I had jagerschnitzel with fries and a local beer. It was the best meal I’ve had in Germany- possibly in Europe.
After dinner, we took a walk in the park near the garden. There was a huge group of german hippies hanging out there. It was truly a sight to see.

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