March 2005 Trip to Germany

From March 12-18, 2005, I traveled to Germany for IEEE VR 2005. I was in Bonn (Beethoven's birthplace) most of the time, but ventured into Cologone one evening, and spent an afternoon and night in Mainz on the way home (via Frankfurt).

Here are some quick links to my photos and iPhoto slide-show movies. (You will need Apple's QuickTime for the movies.)

The same links are included in the brief commentary below.

I had not been to Germany for maybe 20 years. (I last went with my father when I was maybe 17 years old.) I really loved Bonn, Mainz, and Cologne. I'm ready to go back some day.

March 11-12, 2005

At 1:00 PM on Friday, March 11, I left my house to catch an 3:00 PM flight from the Raleigh-Durham airport to Atlanta (GA), and then on to the Frankfurt Airport. I was traveling with Mary Whitton.

Mary and I arrived in Frankfurt at around 9:00 AM (3:00 AM Eastern time in the U.S.) on Saturday, March 12. We then took the "slow train" (two hours, scenic route right along the Rhein River) to Bonn, where we checked in to the small but lovely Rheinland Hotel. We rested a little, then went to the conference hall (Beethoven Hall), registered for the conference, and saw the last session. On a recommendation from Martin Göbel we dinner at the most excellent Em Hottche restaurant. They say "It has been said that Beethoven once stopped into this traditional pub." In any case it was great and we ate there several times during our stay.

March 13, 2005

Sunday was the day of our Emerging Display Technologies workshop (co-chaired by Andreas Simon, me, and Mark Bolas). The workshop was a huge success, with almost 100 participants who mostly stayed to the very end. We were very pleased with the presentations, and especially the panel which ended up going until around 6:00 PM. Afterwards we attended the conference Reception of the City of Bonn at the Bonn Old Town Hall, then several of us had dinner at the Em Hottche restaurant again.

March 14-15, 2005

On Monday and Tuesday I was "free"---our workshop was over. So I just attended the conference, etc. Here are some pictures and the slide-show movie from Monday and Tuesday, including my hotel and the opening session of the conference, with Fred Brooks' keynote address, and awards for Bowen Loftin (IEEE Meritorious Service Award), Ben Watson (IEEE Certificate of Appreciation), Mel Slater (2005 Virtual Reality Career Award), and Mark Bolas (2005 Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award). Monday night was Lab Night at ceaser, and Tuesday night was the conference banquet at Bonn's Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Art and exhibition hall of the Federal Republic of Germany) where we were given private tours of their Tutankhamen exhibit.

March 16, 2005

On Wednesday I took a little time during and after lunch and walked around beautiful Bonn. Here are some pictures and the slide-show movie that include the area around our hotel (the Rheinland Hotel), the central area of Bonn, and the train station (Hauptbahnhof).

After the conference was over, several of us took the train to Cologne to see the 1000 year old Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) and have supper. It was covered by scaffolding, like most of the great cathedrals of Europe theses days (so I'm told and observed in Germany), but it was really beautiful. We had dinner in a nice outdoor cafe, spent quite a bit of time drinking Kolsch beer (brewed in Cologne) and laughing at our "Lonely Planet" German phrase book. ("From the dating section: "Before we go any further, I must tell you that I am an accountant.")

Here are some pictures and the slide-show movie from that side trip. It was very hard to get good photos in the cathedral because it was so dark. (Long exposures require a tripod, which I did not have.) But you can see here some nice sidewalk art out front, the shrine that is supposed to house (?) some of the remains of the three wise men (gold, very hard to see because I could not get close), and the oldest item in the church: a 1000+ year old cross (covered because it is Lent). Oh yes, in one of the open marketplaces a street quintet comprised of a tuba, a violin, and three accordions was playing classical music. Surprisingly very nice.

March 17, 2005

On Thursday Mary and I walked around Bonn some more before leaving for Mainz. Here are some pictures and the slide-show movie from that day. Some of the pictures I intend to use to construct a panorama. I will do and post that when I can. In there you can see the Bonn Town Hall, our favorite restaurant (the Em Hottche), the town hall marketplace, etc. I would have to say that I really loved Bonn, and look forward to returning some day.

Around noon Mary and I hopped a train to Mainz to spend the afternoon and night. We actually flew in and out of Frankfurt, but had trouble finding a hotel there. Just as well it turns out---Mainz is just outside of Frankfurt, and perhaps a much nicer place to visit. We stayed at the Hotel Austria (see matchbook cover). I really liked Mainz. We walked around a lot, visiting both the Gutenberg Museum (see the ticket here) and the beautiful Mainz Cathedral. In the photos and slide-show movie for that side trip you can see the city in general, the Rhein river, a fascinating monument made from wood, metal, and thousands of nails (see here), the beautiful cloister area of the cathedral, and the nice little "pub" Flehlappe where we had dinner (again, see matchbook cover). Like Bonn, I really fell in love with Mainz, and forward to returning some day.

Here is a large version of the panorama to the left.
I also made larger (wider) QuickTime VR versions—both spherical and cylinderical.

March 18, 2005

On Friday morning I walked to the Mainz Hauptbahnhof (main station), took a train to the Frankfurt Flughafen (airport), flew to Atlanta, then to Raleigh-Durham, then took a limo home. The last air leg was delayed so I was not home until almost 9:00 PM, but not too bad. I returned with chocolates of course, bunnies for the boys and a variety for Linda (and me).