Date: April 28th 2015
Written by: Mike Carew and Jason Lede
The first full day in Germany started with an early hotel breakfast and the bus was loaded at 7:30 with students or various levels of jet-lag induced incoherence. Those lucky enough to have sampled the delicious hotel coffee were much less likely to have a conversation with a parking meter.
Our first stop was the city of Salzburg, where we unloaded and immediately found a café serving espresso. Unbeknownst to us, the espresso would provide the necessary fuel for the hike ahead. Overlooking Salzburg is a castle/fort (Fort Hohensalzburg) built on top of a sizeable hill. The hike up to the highest point in the castle took a painful 30 minutes of inclines, stairs, and looming castle walls. Sweaty and panting, it is easy to see why the fort had never fallen to enemy forces. Upon reaching the habitable portion of the castle, we found a museum which displayed a number of era swords, cannons, and firearms which had been used in the fort over the years. The most interesting exhibit was an exhibit of torture devices including a spiked chair and a horrifying spiked undergarment that sent shivers through the male students. The torture devices seemed cruel and inhumane but little did we know we would be victims to a far worse form of torture on the bus ride home. The inescapable Karaoke singing of the Backstreet Boys “As long as you love me” is a torture that no human should ever have to endure.
Our second stop of the day was Eggenburg Brewery in Vorchdorf, Austria. This historical brewery focuses on creating the highest quality beer they can following the Bavarian purity law, which stats that only 4 ingredients can be used to brew beer (Water, hops, barley, and yeast). Our host was a personable family member who was Eggenburg’s international distribution company. Interestingly, Eggenburg as a family business took a new approach to succession with our hosts father, who split the company into 4 separate entities which he passed down to his children. This was a new strategy for us to see, as a means of limiting family conflict in succession. We were able to sample wort, which was a hot liquid in the stage of beer making, before fermentation. The wort was surprisingly sweet, although depressingly non-alcoholic. At Eggenberg brewery the tour climaxed with a tasting of all of the beers we had spent the afternoon learning about. This was a special treat for many on the trip, as it would appear to have been their first beer, evidenced by the gregarious and boisterous bus ride home.