Friday, May 02, 2008

East Germany

Unfortunately I left my camera cable at home, so I can't show you the Ossie-charm of my hotel room in Leipzig. The high point is the lonely cupboard with one (1) coffee cup and one (1) schnapps-glass. The view outside is also puzzling. Completely renovated jugend buildings alternate with derelict and abandoned ones. And then there are sprinklings of GDR-concrete here and there. And amidst the buildings, trees with budding leaves. The spring is about a month ahead of Finland.

So, Leipzig. Never been here before, didn't really know what to expect but it seems to be all here. And the hotel room is actually nice. The bathroom's been completely refurbed, along with most of the room and all the furniture, but there's some "gloom" under all this, sounds of past.

Our workshop and symposium starts tomorrow morning. The last two-three weeks have been riddled with technical difficulties and all sorts of obstacles, and so I needed to change my presentation plan. So, after promising so many times "never again", here I am again, still writing my presentation when the meeting is already about to start. Never again.

P.S. Oh, Deutsche Bahn is amazing. The new Berlin Hauptbahnhof is one of the most stunning buildings I've ever seen. No, absolutely the most stunning building I've seen. Inside, trains go criss cross in three levels, it's full of shops and restaurants and escalators and elevators and steel and glass... Stunning. I took the ICE, which was very comfortable. We briefly hit 200 km/h but most of the time we were rolling along at a leisurely 180 km/h across fields with forests of windmills. It takes an hour and 10 minutes to get from Berlin to Leipzig. I've also tried Berlin buses and Leipzig trams, along with Finnish trains and buses, so the day has been a public transport extravaganza. Oh, almost forgot, there was also the flight from Hki to Berlin. Rather not mention that, trains are much cooler.

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