Travel blogging

Some of you seem to have noticed, that I write considerably more when traveling. There are two main reasons for that:
– My travels are more interesting than my everyday life
– I actually travel quite a bit, although not as often as during my PhD
– Breakfast at a hotel is the best time for blogging for me
Indeed, most of the post I write while traveling are written over breakfast. I like reviewing the last day and planning the coming day over breakfast, so it’s perfect.


After a few work trips to Heidelberg, I finally managed to do a sight – seeing only trip. I was supposed to attend a workshop, but it got cancelled on short notice.
The train trip from Berlin to Heidelberg had all the ingredients that make train travel in Germany fun: A missing carriage, carriages in the wrong order (you won’t encounter this issue in France), a weird route, stops every 20 km between Bielefeld and Cologne,  and of course a one hour stop due to “people on the tracks”.
Heidelberg was very nice. I met with my parents and we did a few strolls in the city, took the cable car up to the old palace and Königsstuhl, passed through the Odenwald with a stop at Felsenmeer and visited my cousin and his family.
The trip back to France was less good. Swiss trains are usually very reliable, but in Biel, we were informed that our train would not be able to go to Geneva, and we should go via Bern. I arrived in Geneva an hour late and of course missed my connection. On the  right side, I met two researchers from the UK, who also had attended the conference in Berlin last week, so at least I had good company on the last leg of my journey.

Sans souci

Yesterday, I went to Potsdam and and visited Sanssouci, the New Palais, their surrounding gardens and one of the pump houses. Sanssouci was absolutely crowded. You need to get a ticket in advance for a fixed entry time. The sheer amount of artistic detail is amazing, as is the variety between the rooms. The New Palais is much bigger and seems to attract less visitors. Still, fixed entry times, but typically shortly after you arrive. The Palais has a few newer additions, such as an hydraulic elevator and electrical bells. It was, after all, used until 1918.The gardens feature a lot classicistic elements, including a Roman bathhouse, whose “bath” is a modern tub. The pump house is built in the style of a mosque both on the outside and the inside. It is absolutely gorgeous and still functional! Although, instead of steam power they use electricity nowadays.
For diner, I went to a Israeli restaurant in Mitte, beef kebab on eggplant and hummus, with a side of sweet potatoes chips. Delicous!

Post conference

So, the conference is over. As it was the 50th anniversary of the meeting, the organisers had arranged a talk on the history of our techinque. The speaker was an emeritus who has witnessed quite a bit of it himself. The talk was very interesting, not only because of some horrid photos from the early 90s. And the conference dinner was really nice. A improvisation  theater group was performing between the main course and desert. It was amazing how they could enact funny sketches from our rather strange prompts. Or can you imaging a mini – opera on leaking reactors?
The next meeting will be in 2018 near Chicago. I hope I will be able to attend and meet all the nice people I met here again!

Berlin, Day IV

So far, the conference has been great. There were many interesting talks and posters and I got to meet some people working on closely related subjects. In the morning, I did not even know which session to attend as all three of them had interesting talks. It was even hard to decide between the two lunch sessions. At least we are getting lunch boxes, so I did not have to choose between lunch and science! We also had a missing chair person in the afternoon, so the speakers just stepped in and chaired for each other.

Berlin, Day III

I finally found the time to get some work done. I made a few small changes to my presentation and a manuscript… When heading out for lunch I ran into an acquaintance form France who was just checking in, so we decided to go to have Taiwanese together. I had a delicious noodle soup and an even better pancake sanck with duck. In the evening I went to the welcome reception of the conference, caught up with a few acquaintances and met new people. Afterwards, I ended up going to a pub with a few Australians and Hamburg people for a pint.

Berlin, Day II

Yesterday, I used visited my former baby sitter and her family. I last met her at her wedding which is now quite a while ago, but we stayed in contact all these years. It was great to see her again, and I met her kids for the first time. The older kid ignored me for most of the day, until I wanted to leave, when he insisted that I absolutely had to have dinner with them ;)
I also got to see some leftovers of the Berlin Wall which are still standing close to her house. I consider myself lucky that I cannot even imagine living under conditions such that I would be willing to risk my life to escape them. I think it is important that some parts of the wall remain as they are as a reminder how different things used to be in Germany even in my life time.


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