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Sun, 6 Apr 2003
Germany - A weekend in Ulm - Sunday
On Sunday, the four of us met in the late morning. The sky was blue with puffy clouds, so we decided to climb to the top of the Münster. For those who do not know, the Münster is a big church in the center of Ulm. Big is an understatement, because it happens to be the tallest church in the world. Just before we went to the church, we stopped at a nearby cafe because Allyn and I hadn't eaten yet. The two girls behind the counter spoke English and were friendly. We ate our food outside in front of the cafe. Apparently the girls were laughing at us as we were eating our food. After eating, we headed into the Münster. First we walked around the inside. It's basically your old European cathedral inside, except that it seems especially huge. The walls are maybe 40 feet tall on the sides, and the center is probably 20 feet taller. There were pews all over, and statues and things on the walls. The stained glass windows were nice. I took many pictures.

After walking through the church, we paid 3 euros to climb the stairs to the top. I was not surprised by the sight of the stairs, but I was impressed nonetheless. The stairs were in a tight spiral completely enclosed by stone. The steps were only wide enough for one person, although a second person could squeeze by if they really wanted to. I am not claustrophic, but I was feeling a little weird after going up 30 feet or so with solid stone walls. Was it going to be like this for all 768 steps to the top?? Fortunately, there started to be a window every 10 feet up. We passed by the bells at one point. While climbing up the stairs, I was reminded that I don't really have that much physical stamina.... I was getting tired. My legs weren't too bad, but my heartrate was pretty high. I ended up sitting and resting at various points on the way up. When we were 70 meters up, we reached the point where the top used to be, back in the 15-19 centuries. There was a platform at this level, where there were pictures of other big cathedrals and you could take pictures of the surrounding area. After looking around, we climbed the last 73 meters up. The view from the top was great! We could see the Fachhochschule, across the river, nearby forests, a nuclear power plant, and all sorts of things. I took plenty of pictures... I didn't really aim for things; just took picture after picture. The top wasn't exactly spacious, and that makes sense because they didn't build the church so people could climb it. There is only one staircase for the last 41 meters, so if there are people going opposite directions, one of them has to hug the wall while the other hugs the center. Then at the top, there is a walkway all the way around. However, it is only wide enough for one person at a time. We didn't notice either direction being the proper direction, so we had to squeeze by other people at one point. I had my rücksack on, which made this particularly unenjoyable... some of the Germans made strange noises as I squeezed past them. I said entschuldigen to them. The others raced down some of the stairs.... I lost.

The other big thing we did on Sunday was go to the Ulmer Museum. This is conveniently located next to the Rathaus, where we catch the bus. It was interesting, but the signs were unfortunately all in English. We did a decent job of understanding the Christian paintings, but we were completely confused by the pagan paintings. They had archaeological displays that made some sense. There was at least one floor of modern art, and, honestly, that doesn't make sense to anyone. It seems that Allyn and I are slower at going through museums that the others, because they were done when we still had lots of exhibits left. Fortunately, nobody was too annoyed at anyone else. We had dinner at the Enchilada, which was (intuitively) a Mexican restaurant. The menu was interesting; it had a combination of Spanish, English, and German. The food was good, but it was overpriced. We need to be careful to not spend too much money on food. The most rediculous thing at resturants are the drink prices.... I generally pay around 2 euros for just 0.4 ml of cola.... sometimes it is just 0.2 ml!!
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