At our last day in London we wanted to visit the tower bridge. Unfortunately, the traffic situations near this attraction is not that easy, especially when you are driving a 39-person bus. Our bus driver did all he could to drop us off near the site, but he could not find a suitable parking spot. We ended up in a dead end with a giant truck blocked almost the full road. The mirrors of the bus and truck were on the same height, so we could not pass it. Luckily, the bus had an extra option: lifting the tires a bit by adjusting the spring tension of the tires. After doing so, we could exactly pass the truck. After receiving the applause, the bus driver finally dropped us off.
The tower bridge was beautiful in the sunlight, but the entrance fee was very expensive. Therefore, most students just walked around taking pictures, enjoying some traditional English courses and the even more traditional English Starbucks coffee.
Afterwards, we left for optical component producer Oclaro. Again we could not find the location, for this company is situated in the middle of the countryside of Northampthon. In the end, Thomas navigated the bus with google maps to the right location. Fortunately, the company visit was really worth the effort. We had a great lunch, an interesting talk from professor Mike Wale and visited the fab lab and the testing lab of the company. Especially the fab lab made a big impression. We had to wear special suits, covering our entire bodies except the eyes, so we looked like bee keepers or astronauts. To complete the post-apocalyptic atmosphere, we had to take a shower with cleaned air within a futuristic machine before entering. I could recommend one of those to everyone, because it feels a lot like riding a rollercoaster. Inside the lab, the engineers showed us the production process and told enthusiastically about it. It was interesting and we enjoyed our stay there.
The test lab was a bit less futuristic, but just as impressive. This lab tests the wafers produced and is used to design new processes and to test old ones. Again the engineers told everything about their job in the same enthusiastic way. The entire company visit took 45 minutes longer then expexted because of this. Nobody minded, because we saw some awesome things and learned a lot.
When we left for Cambridge, our bus driver confessed that he got addicted to The Big Bang theory, a series that we had been watching during the bus trips. He had to wait very long because our visit to Oclaro took so long and decided to watch that series. I guess we are having a bad influence on our environment after all ;).
The evening was not that exciting. We arrived at Cambridge, had a dinner at a pub and chatted a bitin the common room of the hostel. Tomorrow, we are going to visit the university of Cambridge in the morning and go cycling in the afternoon.