Monday, June 4th: Day 17

After a wonderful supper in Dr. Maier’s home town, we headed back to the hotel to begin packing, 4:30am would be here before we knew it! After a few hours of sleep, the vans were loaded and we were on our way to the Zurich airport. With the rain and traffic congestion, the drive was a little over 2 hours, but we all made it safely. First stop, Delta pre-security, then ticketing, security, customs and we were at the gate, with time to spare! The wheels on the plane were up at 9:35am.

And almost 10 hours later we were back in America!! Hello Atlanta!! A short wait in the customs line and baggage claim and re-check and we had a little over 4 hours until the start of the final leg of the trip. Priorities while waiting included finding Mountain Dew and Diet Dr. Pepper!! After a little bit of a delay and a gate change we were off to Kansas City!!

This is definitely one trip for the books and I’m pretty sure everyone had a blast!!20120604-214707.jpg


Saturday, June 2nd and Sunday, June 3rd: Day 15 and 16

Day 15

After shopping around the farmer’s market and the Villingen city center, a few of us ventured off to the local fair taking place. This was not your typical Kansas County fair, most of what we saw was related to commercial and at home use products. There was also a large section on energy saving items for your home, including solar panels and wood burning stoves. They also had a variety of lawn mowers and tractors. We even saw a large round bale wrapper and unwrapper!! So cool! Model homes of builders in the area were also on display. Refreshments and food were available around every corner as well!

Bale wrapping machine.

Roof mountable solar panels for homes.

Day 16

Today’s journey started off soggy, first up, Triberg, to see the world’s largest cuckoo clock. The souvenir shop was closed so we ventured off for more Black Forest sightseeing. We made a quick pit-stop at the glass blowing museum. Sarah G was so adventurous that she blew her own vase! Next up was the Vogtsbauernhof open-air museum. Here we saw a variety of buildings typical of the 15th and 16th century. We saw the typical fully furnished Black Forest farm house, as well as outbuildings used as storehouses, bakery, mills, saw-mills, hemp presses. It was very interesting. We also had the chance to do some shopping at the souvenir shops. After the museum we headed over to the luge next door and it was AWESOME!! Thankfully the rain let up and it was a very refreshing ride down the side of the mountain. Most of us made two trips down! After fulfilling our need for speed we headed for some Black Forest Cake, coffee and a quick hike up to see the waterfalls. The cake was excellent! And of course P. Kitty had to have a Kebap. After a little shopping in the area we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner at Hirsch Restaurant in Moenchweiler.

Largest cuckoo clock in the world (yep check the Guiness book of world records)


Friday, June 1st: Day 14

Yesterday we visited Buhler headquarters in Switzerland. The visit started off with an overview of the company as a whole, showing us that they provide equipment for many different industries. Globally, 65% of wheat is run through Buhler equipment. After this presentation we took a tour of the assembly and manufacturing buildings.This processing facility was wonderfully clean and the assembly process was fascinating. We then took a quick visit to the Innovation Center and R&D Labs and were immediately sworn to secrecy. After this, we all got a crash course on milling on their 1 T/hr mill. This was a great experience all around and something great we can put on our resume. By the end of the day Dr. Maier had earned his honorary Buhler 150th anniversary flour slick/milling spatula.  (No pictures were allowed inside the manufacturing area (so let your imagination go wild) but we were able to take pictures of the teaching mill.)

Tobias giving an explanation of milling basics.

A special thanks to Buhler and all their representatives that visited with us this week! The hospitality was phenomenal.

Thursday, May 31st: Day 13

Sorry to all of our followers for the late post. We stayed in a St. Gallen youth hostel where there was no internet connection.

Our hosts from Buhler, Tobias and Johannes, treated us very well during our two day stay in Switzerland and were with us for nearly all of our activities. Due to the weather forecast we switched our Thursday and Friday activities. Thursday, Tobias took us to Meyerhans, the latest state of the art flour mill in Switzerland. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures at the mill location.

After a sweet mill tour, we went to Mt. Saentis. We climbed over treacherous boulders and ice sheets, through the clouds and over 8,000 feet! Okay, well most of us just took the cable car to the top…

After a quick 20 minute cable car ride we arrived on the peak and Tobias treated us to some traditional Swiss cuisine. Salad, the favorite local beer, schnitzel, and some awesome creme brulee.

Next we went on a tour of the picturesque Swiss town of Appenzell, which is where Tobias is from. After this Tobias asked us to meet him at the youth hostel and told us a ‘short cut’ we could take that actually took us on a very scenic route through the hills overlooking St. Gallen. It was quite a lovely unexpected drive. I just wish Dirk wasn’t making such a big deal out of getting lost!

After we finally arrived at the youth hostel and barely caught the train to the city center Buhler hosted us for a great dinner in the city.

Wednesday, May 30th: Day 12

After our very accommodating 4 day stay in Freising the gang headed off towards the Swiss Milling School in the city of St. Gallen, Switzerland. The drive took a little over 4 hours mostly due to avoiding the infamous toll roads in Austria (2 days earlier the group headed to the Eagle’s Nest was fined 120 Euro per van because we were unaware of the toll pass needed to travel Austria’s autobahn!). The group was able to see in the infamous Lake Constance, which is bordered by three different countries: Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Upon arrival to the Swiss Milling School we were greeted by Michael Weber and Tobias Nanni who provided a well needed snack and Nespresso! We then toured the quaint but state-of-the-art milling school welcoming students from all over the world including three past students from K-State. The school focuses not only on milling technology but includes studies on dough rheology and baking. This is an important aspect for millers to understand since quality flour is needed for quality bread. Additionally, milling students receive hands-on training by traveling to nearby Uzwil where a full scale Buhler mill is located. For lunch we smashed on different specialty pizzas prepared by Matias in the in-house baking lab. The group then split up, 4 students headed towards Zurich for a visit to the Paul Scherrer Institute while the others traveled to Goldach to tour the Bruggmuehle flour mill.

Aerial view of PSI. The donut shaped structure is the synchrotron.

The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is a federal research center for the natural and engineering sciences focusing mainly on the fields of Matter and Materials, Human Health, and Energy and the Environment. PSI is the largest research institute in Switzerland housing large-scale facilities such as the Swiss Light Source synchrotron which is a large electron accelerator used to produce x-rays utilized by various research groups for determining the structures of materials down to nanometers in size and a Spallation Neutron Source used for further imaging materials not penetrable by x-rays such as lead and other heavy metals. The students went on a guided tour learning about the various research areas within renewable energy such as fuel cell technology and solar energy harvesting. The tour showed a large-scale solar concentrator able to produce the necessary energy needed for producing lime (calcium hydroxide). The solar concentrator looks similar to a large conical mirror that works by focusing sunlight into a small focal point, similar in principal to using a magnifying glass to start a fire on a sunny day. This large-scale concentrator was able to focus enough solar energy to generate temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Celsius! From this heat, researchers were able to demonstrate the ability of the sun to not only produce lime but also melt concrete blocks.

Solar concentrator

The group reconvened back in St. Gallen for a wonderful dinner hosted by the Swiss Milling School. Many members of the group were able to try a traditional dish from Switzerland called rösti which consisting of hash browns topped with cheese, meats and other delicacies. The group crashed back at the Youth Hostel, a first experience for many that included rooms filled with multiple bunk beds and community showers on each floor.

Interesting artistic creation in downtown St. Gallen.

Tuesday, May 29th: Day 11

After our relaxing weekend in Munich, we got right back to learning with a visit to the Technical Institute of Munich. This is one of the top schools in Germany for food science related departments. We were treated to lectures on the starch research and analytical testing done at the University. In addition to our lectures, there were several tours, which were another great insight into analytical testing. We had tours of their Department of Food Science and Brewery Science facilities. There was even a miniature baking line! They even provided a lunch for us–it was very delicious and thirst quenching. And, they had Bretzel (pretzels–also spelled Brezen) for us–but you had to be quick because everyone seemed to enjoy these pretzels that were dipped in NaOH (sodium hydroxide, also called lye). But don’t worry, even though NaOH is caustic, it will evaporate off and you will live after consuming this lecker (delicious) Bretzel. The function of the NaOH is to give the characteristic brown color, thin, crunchy, and slightly chewy crust. Sadly, not all pretzel manufacturers in the United States go through this process, thus one on the reasons why Sarah G. will not eat pretzels in the USA.

Learning the steps of brewing from our friends at the Department of Brewery Science brewery.

Once we had soaked in all we could at the Institute, we departed to see Kampffmeyer’s Rosenmuhle flour and rye mill in Ergolding, Germany. This was the second time we were able to tour a Kampffmeyer mill and it was equally as intriguing as the first. On our guided tour, we were able to see the unique processing steps that sets this mill apart as one of Bavaria’s finest. One of the tour highlights was the automatic truck loading station. This piece of equipment moved an incoming truck into position for cleaning and filling with the utmost of precision. (Those German engineers! They are always so creative and innovative.) Many of the GRSC students could stand and watch the packaging section of the process flow for hours–it is so interesting how all of the machines move at once and how they are organized. (I thought it was fun seeing Rosenmehl flour at a grocery store in southern Germany and being able to say that I saw first-hand how they produce this flour!) All and all, it was another great tour and insight into the global milling industry.

K-S-U in front of the Rosenmuhle mill!

The day ended with dinner at the restaurant adjacent to the world’s oldest brewery. Sadly, due to time constraints, we were unable to tour the Weihenstephan brewery, but dinner was fantastic!

Sign says: “Technische Universitaet Muenchen: Hoersaal 13,” which means Technology University of Munich: Lecture Hall #13. Yes, lecture hall! This was the sign into the Weihenstephan Restaurant…don’t you also wish you could take a class in the brewery restaurant where you most likely get to do, let’s call it, Sensory Taste Testing of the liquid bread (aka: beer)? One of the many perks of being in a food/grain science field…or knowing someone in this field.

Sarah G. is allowed one mistake in German, right? Sarah G. is sorry that she took Sarah M.’s dinner. But it was soon all cleared up and Sarah G. is now inspired to make both German dishes at home. (Sarah G. got picked on for the rest of the trip because of this mistake, haha.)

Monday, May 28th: Day 10

Not only was today Memorial Day in the US, it was also a holiday in Germany (Pentecost). We decided to play the tourist card once again and traveled 2 hours in opposite directions to see some of the sights in Bavaria (the state that Munich is in). A group of 9 traveled southwest from Munich to Neuschwanstein (New Swan Stone) Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle.

The picture isn’t exactly how you normally see it because of the shrouds and scaffolding on the portion to the right. Even though the larger castle is only about 130 years old, some of the blocks have begun to crumble and are in need of repair. All of the walls, including ceilings, were covered in beautiful murals and the common rooms were decorated with large gold, silver, and jeweled presents given to Ludwig II. Unfortunately, he only lived in it about 170 days before he was overthrown in 1886. Because of this, around two-thirds of the rooms in the castle remain unfinished and are not open to the public.

The other castle was the home to Ludwig’s parents and has several rooms on the king and queen’s floors open for touring. Again, the walls were covered in extremely detailed murals and the halls were adorned with lavish jewels and accessories.

After the tours of the castles, we hit up several of the souvenir shops for some much needed shopping time!! Next we headed out of town and into Austria to drive around the back of the mountains that we saw on the drive in and to see the back side of German’s tallest mountain: Zugspitze elevation – 2,962 meters (9,700 ft).

We stopped for dinner in Oberammergau where there is a giant presentation of the Passion Play every 10 years. We didn’t see the stage, but we saw many stores with many different renditions of the Nativity, angels, and various other Christmas characters.

We did a little more driving around to find the ski jump stadium for the 1936 Winter Olympics, the Allianz Arena (where most of the Munich futbol teams play their matches), and the 1972 Summer Olympics Stadium and Village. We even saw the world HQ for BMW and Mercedes!

-Jenn & Josh

A view of the Eagles Nest from above.

The other group headed to the Eagle’s Nest (also known as Kehlsteinhaus) in Obersalzberg. This infamous historical site served as a retreat for Adolf Hitler and a place to entertain visiting dignitaries. Located on the Kehlstein mountain (over 6,000 feet high), the group began the journey by hopping on a bus that took us to the base of the Eagles Nest. Next the group took an elevator bored straight through the mountain to the inside of the Eagles Nest. Upon reached the top those brave enough climbed to the highest peak of the mountain (well worth it for those with ice in their veins) the view was unbelievable! I might add that if you took a wrong step in certain places, you would not fair off well (there were not any guard rails to protect you from falling to your death!) After taking some great photos, scaling rocks and doing some spelunking under the snow, we headed back down the mountain to grab some schnitzel.

Doing the KSU on top of the Eagles Nest!