Choosing Berlin over CeBIT

Today marks the beginning of the most exciting week in Hannover. CeBIT is an internationally famous technology fair that meets at the Hannover Messe (convention center). It’s one of those things you are simply aware of if you read computer magazines or follow tech blogs, like the similar CES in Las Vegas. Learning that I would be living just down the road from this tech fair thrilled me. Although I had never given it much of a thought to attend, it seemed so possible all of the sudden and I started looking forward to this week.

But I’m not going. Mandi and I are on a train to spend a week in Berlin. We are going to attend her work conference with all of the other Fulbright recipients in Europe – hard to turn down a free trip. So we’re in the Hauptbahnhof and it’s super busy; there are three or four train routes operating where normally one suffices; the city has a new tram line for this week only; as visitors pour into the city, residents flee (hence the stuffed overhead stowage on the train which is usually empty).

Oh well. It can be just as well not to be there during the chaos. Our roommate spent the morning with her mom and sister cleaning up the apartment for some unknown visitors to stay for the week – probably best to avoid these guests. The streets at night which are usually so quiet and serene will likely be filled with strangers shouting out their drunkenness while finding their escort(s) of choice. We’ll be relaxing in our hotel or strolling through the Tiergarten.

Kölnischen Abentuer

Mandi arrived safely in Cologne, Germany, on Sunday morning after a long day of travel. Things went smoothly until the very end, when the power was out at the train station and she had to schlep her luggage up and down all the stairs without the aid of an escalator or an elevator (she’s really strong!). She is now busy at work with about a hundred and fifty other Fulbrighters in training and will continue to do so for the rest of the week.

After Mandi left, I drove down to stay with my brother and his wife, Laura, and daughter, Erin. It has been fun visiting and hanging out with them, and I have also been able to tour Madison Chemical, which is where my brother works.

Check out the tour of the chemical plant on our Flickr album!

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