Sep 13, 2008
The bus ended after a short stop at the local grocery store and some fancy maneuvering through a tight parking lot full of construction equipment in front of our new school.
Arriving in Hamburg was pretty cool. The city looked really neat coming in from above and there were a lot of nice looking plots of land. Everybody's luggage arrived in an acceptable form and in a reasonable time. After everyone gathered their stuff we made our way out of the baggage claim area and tried to find the people from the FHL. I think they found us first. We've had plenty of opportunities to witness the poor organization of the trip from the MSOE side, but this was our first indication that the FHL wasn't much better. Our two advisers and a handful of German students met us in one of the large hallways of the airport. After a few short introductions and a head count to make sure that everyone got off the plane and so on we proceeded outside. We just made our way through the parking structure and out the other side to a pick-up, drop-off spot where our bus was waiting for us. I don't think they planned this part out very well...we were roughly 45 American students, two advisors, their wives, and a half dozen German students trying to pack onto a coach bus along with our 100 pounds of luggage each. This did not work out as well as we would have liked. The old bus driver definitely didn't know what he was getting himself into when we woke up that morning. After trying fruitlessly to pack all of our gear into the under carriage compartments he finally figured out that we would have to transport some of the bags in the passenger compartment. This made the mostly full bus into an overcrowded bus. But it wasn't all that bad, once we got moving most people fell asleep or just stared out the window. The country side was pretty cool and it was really strange how varied the countryside was. We went from developed airport territory to a large park, to farm fields, to city again. We even ended up going through some really small towns where the main road was lined with A-Frame houses each with a picot fence and a cobblestone drive (We discovered that this was the norm in Germany soon after this trip).