60 Hours in Berlin

I just got back from Berlin this week, there for a gathering of researchers studying and making signing avatars; good stuff. It was my first time in Germany though I don’t think it was long enough to give a great opinion on the place. Here’s a list of pros and cons just the same:

Pros:

  • Airport access via bus and U-bahn: TXL to the city center in 30 mins.
  • All the Germans I spoke to had rather good English.
  • The French and American embassies are new, beautiful, and open (unlike the US embassy in Paris, with its makeshift barriers and guards outside, which makes a citizen feel wholly unwelcome).

Cons:

  • Dirt and trash everywhere. Berlin did just get some snow, but it seemed much worse than I’d have expected.
  • A rather soviet feeling, even in the old Ally sections: the architecture of the city needs an overhaul.
  • There was some shopping, but nothing like Paris.

Guess I’ll have to get back some time and be a real tourist. Maybe in springtime.

Here’s a few pictures from around town: Berlin Jan 2011

Snow blocks thousands in Vannes!

Image

Snowy Vannes

Ah, yes it’s that time again, when snow falls and nobody is prepared. Take Vannes for example: we’ve had an impressive inch-and-a-half of snow since Sunday and streets and sidewalks are still covered. I even got a cancellation email today because someone is “blocked” by the snow. Seriously?

All this because someone forgot that you put salt down before it snows, rather than gravel down after it snows. Oh well!