Tuesday, November 29, 2016

T + 102 Days

Goodbye little apartment at Auf der Papenburg, Bochum

Goodbye autobahn

Glug glug glug

Goodbye Ruhr Gebiet and hello Frankfurt
Goodbye Serena ...
... you've guided us through many miles and many adventures
Goodbye little Clio. 

And we now say good night and bring the German Junket -- and this blog -- to an end.  I wish I could hug you all.  See you in Canada!!!

Judith and Richard signing off.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Farewell to the RUB--and its Stalwart Astronomers

This is one dimension of the RUB--Ruehr Universitaet Bochum . One can hardly avoid Shakespeare
`Alas there-s the rub'. It is vast. This is a view from the bridge we crossed everyday--usually streaming along with hundreds of students and staff.

This is the view from the same bridge but along the other side. The new buildings are in front of a line that is just as formidable as on the right. We had to walk nearly a kilometre directly across the bridge to reach our row of science buildings. The University is built into the side of a valley in such a multilevel fashion that it almost is the valley side.

The Bridge--on a sunday

The Rühr gebiet is synonymous with industrial muscle, whether it be coal and steel or the University.

This is `the group' who welcomed us into their world. Ralf-Juergen at left front, dominique Bowmans
front--students and other staff at rear. This was the large seminar room.

Perhaps a better view of the rear guard--actually some of these people are very astute.

It wasn't all work---Pizza Party!

In the small seminar room--they also have a library that is their own! Bjorn--the dark haired guy at right is the tallest person we have ever seen off a basketball court--well over two metres

A nice picture--Judith organized and paid for several of these as part of her VIP duties.

Helmut  --at right---is ignoring retirement like me.

happy contemplation when the food is gone

Should I take the last piece?

This is Katharina. It was her birthday and coincided with the Pizza party. Birthday people here bake their own cakes. She welcomes us to the mittag essen group dynamics. They love groups. You have to gather one to go to lunch in the MENSA. The long-haired girl to the left --Noelia is a spanish student.

The calm before the storm

Another side of the RUB--as we leave

To the left of the bridge

And of course we must say farewell to the Laerhoeltz

The city workers came and cleared all the leaves away--you can't have leaves on the forest paths--too disorganized

There were some streets that we visited again and again in our walking commutes. So here it is
auf wiederspazierten

We entered the wood--laerhoeltz along this street. I hesitate to translate

Our suburb or `stadtteil' was Querenburg. We were Querenburgers--Querenburger and Querenburgerin. `Quer' seems to mean roughly odd or different or dare I say queer. So it fits.

And of course the comforting sign of home

We lived at number 14 auf der  papenburg apt 10--underneath a family with a super energetic little girl--who ran across our  ceiling without end.

And so we come to the very end--But this last picture was always welcome when we saw it. It marked the road leading to our garage. After many adventures and challenges on German roads we always breathed a sigh of relief at this point. Unfortunately our faithful navigator -Serena-could never quite get the hang of this geography and always abandoned us roughly at this corner--still she was good to us and I hope the next owner of our car will treat her well----

So we always reach an end--home soon after Frankfurt--cheers!

Last Kick at the Can

It is our last weekend in Bochum.     *Wow*

First 'stop' was a last ride on the bikes yesterday and transferring them back to Ralf-Juergen and Marliese, then we went out to a nice restaurant.  But since we were a bit early, we rode the bikes to the top of the hill behind the restaurant.  See if you can pick out the physics building from the 'other' side of the valley - a view which we haven't seen before.

You can just make out two observatory domes on the distant building.

Goodbye bikes -- thank you R & M!
Bochum is at 51 degrees north latitude.  It is dark when we get up and dark early in the evening. A heavy fog greeted us this morning -- our last Sunday in Bochum.
View from the apartment's little balcony

But there was time today to make a final excursion -- not too far or ambitious though.  A clue is given by this radio:
A radio

Now you might wonder why such a mundane picture (the radio, not Richard).  It is because this little radio has kept us company for 3 months.  Most of the songs are in English with a few in German.  There is something comforting and normal about having a radio going, hearing lots of songs and the occasional ad.  Also the weather (das wetter) and  how many kilometres of traffic jams (stau) and blockages (stockung) that are on the roads.  Our favourite station comes from Dortmund ("Das wetter in Dortmund") which is just 25 km away.  

So our final Sunday excursion today was to head to Dortmund.  The Christmas market stalls were closed (it being Sunday and all), but a treat was the giant Christmas tree which you can see peaking out from behind in these pictures.

We had heard of the giant tree which is apparently the largest in Europe.  I had doubts at the beginning since, after all, Winnipeg has a pretty big one at the city hall each year.  But doubts were put to rest.

Of course 'the' tree was many trees all put together. Here are some statistics

A few more scenes of Dortmund.

A cell phone is called a 'handy'
No end of crowds -- Richard loves waiting amongst them

So I pass the torch to Richard now, as he will do another blog today -- a Sunday double-header!  Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bernd das Brot goes On-line

The station Kika, goes off the air at 9:15 p.m. at which time it plays a clip (approx 5 min) over and over and over ..... and over again until 6 in the morning.  For 2 months, straight, the clip was all about Bernd being a 'nerd' (see previous post, 'Wo bin ich?').  But suddenly it changed to a new clip.  They don't seem to have names, but this has a different theme as you'll discover below.  Let's say hello to Berd again, and I'll let Richard describe his misadventures, as best as we can understand them.

Poor Bernd--He has the habit of being placed in strange situations--but in fact in one sense we are all
subject to his problems. In this episode of the further adventures of Bernd das Brot he is forced into the on line world---Mist! He says ---which is not fog but rather crap!

Either I am dead or all alone in a completely white world----The narrator says do you want a friend Bernd? Do which he says Nein.

However he is told he can have thousands of friends on the world-wide web--suddenly a machine inspects him and makes him ready for this world---


They want his preferences---vorlieben--why should I tell you that---the machine grabs him and tortures him--He says only that my name is Bernd das Brot--then Ich bin sehr gern allein --which `they' take to mean he is happy to be '  on line'

He's on the world wide web

with thousands of friends
you should post something Brot--
He says something rude--if I post something I'll be 
a water delivery man for fools----?

his 'friends' persist

He says I am not on line
But this is Ich bin nicht on line sein
which the machine hears as ich bin nicht allein

and this continues

you are not alone Bernd--you have 3698 freund
They say we love you--I love you
to which our dyspeptic friend replies Ich hasse euch 
I hate you ...
well now this sets off a storm of abuse

he tries to dodge by crouching and hopping

they threaten him with being taken to the funny farm 
where he would do something nonsensical for ever
Ich will gar nichts funnies --but he is asked for a credit card to get out

never! he says

so they torture him with images from his past life

finally he gives in and puts into the console his credit card info

was denn? 

web cam roulette

very dull

they show either his mother or something embarrassing from his past

Stop! What do I have to do to get you to stop this 
You must find the master control switch and turn it off

That's what I'll do
You can try Brot
He gets digitized

Now they come for him in a web based car
abandon all hope 
he says something like the worst is when there is no hope to be broken

and they take our hero away---