For the rest of the week, I was in Bensheim on a training course - where I did not have time to explore the area (course ran more or less from 8am to 10pm every day). But, I don't think I missed much.
My initial plan was to go straight to Heidelburg, but all the hotels were booked out, and so I decided to base myself in Frankfurt. Despite it being an old town on the banks of a massive river, I have always found Frankfurt to be a bit dull - but the city lights did present an opportunity to take some interesting pictures.
- I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).
20 October 2008
South of Frankfurt, Darmstadt is very much a technology town, featuring a Fraunhofer Institute (for Security), a well regarded university, and one of the big centres for Deutsche Telekom - research labs, offices etc. Like many other towns, the old town centre is quite well preserved and features a number of palaces, statues and old buildings. Unfortunately, I did not have much time in the town - I arrived as sun was setting and then left the following day after my work engagements.
19 October 2008
Poznan is supposedly the birthplace of the Polish nation - and the explanation given by the tourist information is fairly simple. In the 900's, the king of the area was baptised (to what would later become the Poznan Cathedral) and thus began Poland. It is quite clear that religion plays an active role in Poznan - there are many churches, and almost all of them are busy. Even on Saturday, when I was walking around Poznan, I could not really go and explore inside the churches becuase there was Mass or some other activity going on.
Classical music is also a big cultral event in Poland; and there are many concerts and events for classical music, especially featuring Chopin. The conference dinner featured a short performance by a string quartet (from a highly rated local music school) and I also went to a performance in Poznan. The latter however was slightly disappointing in the sense that it featured a German Bass Band and not Polish performers. But what was amazing was that people crammed into the theatre (of the Poznan University of Music), stood in the aisles and sides and was also crammed with kids. There was a very busy buzz of activity from people of all ages - and was not a snotty affair of well dressed people sipping champagne.
Poznan was also meant to be the easternmost residence of the last German Kaiser Wilhelm II, and he even built his castle/palace in the turn of the 20th century for that reason. It is very close to the centre of Poznan, and was opposite the venue of the conference.
A fort on a small hill near my hotel, also features a small military musuem. I did not have time to explore the museum, but they had a lot of WW2 era tanks, aeroplanes and other vehicles.
Amongst the beuaty of the old buildings and the striking new glass buildings are the dreary soviet buildings. My hotel was one of them ... certainly not one of the most comfortable or value for money hotels in my opinion.