Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Goodbye German Food

It's my last day in Germany. Hard to believe a whole summer has somehow passed by. Now I'm writing last minute (literally) post cards and baking... sugar cookies. Because that's what the ingredients we had left over were the closest to combining to make. (don't ask)
What a trusty workstation- we went through it all together
When inspiration was lacking, the view was nice at least
Surprisingly devoid of students at the moment
Subway conveniently located centrally to the campus
Pedestrian bridge to keep students from playing in the traffic
The meeting tree. Many a minute was spent awaiting people here.
The subway: magic portal to the rest of the world
Can't forget the library; clearly the most important building around
The cookies needed caramel too. That and we had to get rid of some ice cream
We got creative with the shapes. Or tried to. Results varied.
I think I've probably been in denial this whole week that I was actually leaving. I'm definitely not ready at all. I've had an absolute blast learning more about German culture (and language) and it's been an amazing experience. Vielen Dank und Bis Später!
One last look at campus
Flying far, far away
A final German meal: breakfast sandwich
and a buttered pretzel. Now I'm back to American foods

Schokolade: The Obligatory Mention

I would be remiss if I went through an entire summer in Germany and didn't mention chocolate at least once. To make sure I've got my bases covered, I made a trip down to the Ritter Sport factory. And got lots and lots of chocolate to bring home. I hope it doesn't put by luggage over the weight limit.
Look at all that chocolate. Yummy!

Charging ... Charging ...

For our final institute tour at the University of Stuttgart, we visited the institute of Electrical Energy Conversion. Walking through all the EE labs, it definitely reminded me of all the projects I have sitting in various states of completion on my desk at home. Except my projects are significantly less entertaining.

Using inductive charging they had a proof of concept demo for wireless electric car charging stations. (Although we've all seen the idea of induced current a bunch of times, it was still amazing to see the light bulb light up when the second set of coils was moved over the driven wires. Yay science!)

Along with new projects, they also had quite a collection of old instruments and equipment including a machine that could mechanically take the Fourier transform of a signal. What?!? Pretty crazy.

Taking the Project To the Next Dimension

I finally got to see the Hexapod! I've been working on programming a computer model all summer, and today I finally went out to Metzingen to see the actual structure.
The hexapod!
It's really awesome. Instead of working on programming it's movement, today I helped connect cables to get the whole contraption set up. Turns out the hexapod I was working wiht is only a part of the larger picture. You take the independent hexapod and mount it to the end of a three axis crane system and then run a small tube of concrete through it. Think large scale 3D concrete printer.
One tiny section of the cables that needed connecting
Despite getting the system closer to fully set up, I'll have to leave before it makes it's fist test run. Clearly, this means I"ll have to come back and visit to see it fully operational.
Eventually the hexapod will be mounted to this crane

That School Thing Still Exists... Go Figure

Today I started to notice how close I've grown to the other program participants over the summer. As we sat down for lunch, our group of now only five (soon to be further reduced to three) was much quieter than the energetic crazy group of seven to ten exchange students that we used to be. It's hard to believe that this summer is already drawing to a close, but my email inbox full of notes from classes I've registered for tells me that the start of the fall semester is closer than I'd like to believe.

Problematically Probalby Punctual

What's better than Monday morning final presentations? (scheduled at 10am. Who even DOES that?) Final presentations on Monday morning when that morning is the same morning you're returning from Venice on an over night train in which who booked a seat, and therefore basically didn't sleep at all. And the train arrives only and hour before the presentation. This train is also 75 minutes late.


So yea, I'm having super great luck with the train system this weekend. Luckily, the presentation wasn't all that formal so they pushed it back until 3 pm giving us enough time to get back on campus and catch our breath. (Though not quite enough time to nap.. three guesses as to what I'll be doing today after I finish presenting...)

Lost and Found

The tour of Italy continues, today in Venice! I love Venice. Probably the most romanticized city in literature. (besides London, perhaps) I can't help but get excited to see for myself where some of my favorite stories took place.

Waking up reasonably early (for those on vacation at least) we started out the day by attending a church service at St. Mark's Basilica. The inside of the church was gorgeous, and of course the music from the choir was amazing.
Walking along the shore front you could see a good ways out
We thought about gondola rides, but they're expensive
After refreshing our spiritual selves, we heeded the calls of our physical bodies and looked for a good place to eat lunch. As Venice is practically swimming in fresh seafood, we didn't have to look long before finding a restaurant offering us all the best tastes of Italy. I normally try not to talk about food- but the spaghetti I got with muscles and shrimp was AMAZING. Everything was so fresh!
Doesn't that look tasty?
Through the afternoon we wandered along the waterfront simply enjoying being near the ocean. When the sun finally proved too oppressive we turned inwards towards the city choosing alleyways to wander down on whims, only getting seriously lost once (so fine maybe not all the alleyways end up connecting, but a lot of them do)
Hiding from the sun by crouching near stair railings proved to be ineffective
More artistic laundry I believe can not be found
We ended up here... Now if only we knew how to get back
To finish off the tour of Italy we stopped at a Pizzeria for dinner. (It's like a requirement, right, to get pizza while in Italy?) Although people always say how pizza in Italy is so different from American pizza, I personally didn't find that many differences. Maybe the crush was a bit thinner, but really the only difference I saw was that people all got their own pizzas instead of getting one larger pizza to share.
We're not lost, I promise...
Wonder what time it is.. A bit difficult to read
If we had visited the top first we likely wouldn't have gotten lost
What was really different, however, were the cannoli. After wracking our brains trying to come up with a suitably Italian dessert, we landed on cannoli. But the ones I've had in America were much lighter (from the crust to the filling) than the ones we found in Venice. Either cannolis get changed drastically by their journey across the Atlantic or we were in the wrong part of Italy for cannoli. Luckily, their lemon gelato tastes wonderful. I think I may be addicted.
Eating dessert as the sun sets. Can't get much better.
I stand corrected. This is better. ;)