Friday, May 19, 2006

Business Trip

I began questioning the sense of my 3-day business trip when, by 11am on Monday morning, I had already been on a subway, train, plane, bus and in an automobile! But despite a crazy beginning, I had a very productive and fun journey! After landing in Bonn, I went straight to a meeting at the German academic exchange service(DAAD.) Then it was back to the train station and off to Heidelberg. I have been to Heidelberg twice before, but enjoyed the picturesque town and scenic Philosopher's Walk (Philosophen Weg) just as much as last time. Here are some pictures from my walk on the Weg:

Alison and Kevin (another fellow and her husband) were kind enough to let me spend the night at their place, and then I was off to Stuttgart on Tuesday morning. I had two brilliant meetings at the Institute for Foreign Cultural Affairs (IFA) and then it was on to Ulm.

As I have mentioned before, I was an exchange student in Ulm during high school-the trip which really started my Germany adventure. As I strolled around the cathedral, along the Danube and through the Fishermen's Quarter, I was quickly reminded of how marvellously quaint yet liveable the town is. What surprised me though, was proportion of the city that I really don't think I had ever seen before. During high school, I must not have strayed more than 2 streets in any direction from the center of town. 2 streets got me to a Müller, an ice cream shop, a cool jewlery store and a Pizza Hut. For my first trip abroad I think that I was about all I needed or could handle. Matthias had recommended a wonderful restaurant for dinner. Tuesday was "innards" night (no joke) at the Drei Kannen historical brew house, but I stuck with cheese spätzle (surprise surprise.) I would rank the spätzle in the top 5 that I have ever had, though the best still comes from the kitchens of Unterweiler and Wedding.

Wednesday morning is market day at the cathedral, so I strolled through the aisles and enjoyed the sights and smells of ripe strawberries, blossoming flowers, freshly baked bread and smoked meat (yes, even the meat smelled good in the moment:-)) The sun was out, the old people chatted, children ran around working on a school project and the church bells tolled--life was good!

Wednesday afternoon, I had another couple meetings, this time at the Goethe Institute in Munich. Then, by 5pm, I was back on a train and steaming towards Berlin. The German countryside really is spectacular. Green hills and plains that stretch as far as the eye can see are dotted at the moment by fields of intensely yellow flowers. Throw in the occasional town with red-roofed houses and a church with a giant steeple and you've got a scene worthy of a postcard.


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