Saturday, June 09, 2012

Part one, Europe, of my global BHL tour done, off to Africa

2012.06.04 BHL EuropeHad a very good series of meeting in Berlin (3-9 June 2012):

We had a group of seven US members of the BHL attend the Global meeting and five attend the BHL Europe events. From the global BHL membership, Europe, Brasil, Egypt, and Australia were all represented. Our colleagues from China were unable to attend.

June 2-3

I flew out of Dulles Airport, travelling with Grace and Nancy, and had a nice flight on British Airways 216 to Heathrow. London was amazingly rainy, so you couldn't see anything when landing. Hung out at LHR (after an amazingly long transfer) and had some flat white and porridge. Boarded another BA flight (982) to Berlin. Joined in London by our Missouri colleagues (Mike and William) A packed flight but not unpleasant. Split off from Mike and William and the rest of us took a cab (after finding one big enough for three of us and lots of luggage!).

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June 3
I had a few moments of free time. On the first day (Sunday, which was quite rainy), we checked into our hotel, the Relexa Hotel Stuttgarter. It was still clear when we arrived, so I did a quick walk around the neighborhood to get a feel for the lay of the land. After a bit of a rest back at the hotel, we had a chance to zip down to the Brandenburg Gate and have a drink with colleagues at the Adlon Hotel and for dinner, ate at a restaurant on Unter der Linden.

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June 4
Monday started our meetings at the Jerusalem Church, but I got up earlier for a quick walk around, back to the Brandenburg Gate and the Spee River. Following the meeting, we had a fabulous reception at the Museum fur Naturkunde in the hall of dinosaurs (and I got to see the "Berlin specimen" of the Archaeopteryx and a tour of the wet collections (in the dark).

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June 5
Tuesday, I was up early again and took a walk around, highlights included the Topography of Terror (including a large section of the Berlin Wall) and some neat music posterss. Then, another full day of meetings. I gave my presentation on Global BHL and also displayed a poster. That night, the whole group did a dinner cruise "Bridge Tour" of Berlin. The three hour cruise went on the Spee River and the miles and miles of canals of Berlin (I was told Berlin has more miles of canals than Venice).

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June 6
Wednesday, for my morning walk, I headed down via Potsdamer Platz to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. The main part of the afternoon was taken up with the BHL Europe review meeting. Since we did end a bit early, I headed out for a little bit of sight seeing. Hung around Checkpoint Charlie for a while, then walked over to Museum Island, but it was too late to go into any of the museums. Hopped on the U6 to meet up with Team BHL US and then we all got back on the U6 to the Brachvogel Beer Garden for dinner with about 20 or so BHL Europe folk. Since it's spargel (asparagus) season, that was the main course. And, since there was a minigolf course, how could I miss that? It was an odd course, no "grass" just concrete, and pretty challenging obstacles. Played mostly a practice round and called the match on account of darkness.

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June 7
Thursday I slept in late and just grabbed a quick breakfast in the hotel before catching the U6 back up to the Museum fur Naturkunde for the Global BHL meeting. After the meeting, since the Pergamon Museum was open late, a group of us went there. Filled with amazing things in a great setting. The Ishtar Gate was by far my favorite. After a stop and the hotel and a pick up of some more of the BHL-ers, we headed to Potsdamer Platz for dinner. Found a nice German restaurant. Long day, so back to the hotel.

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June 8
Friday was the last full day in Germany and another day of meetings. Slept in late again and grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel. Off to a very full day of meetings and farewells to many of the group. Of course a group photo was taken. We also had a chance to take a quick walk through the Museum fur Naturkunde one last time and I found the dodo collection. After a stop back at the hotel, off to meet most of those remaining at a new restaurant in another part of town that involves both the U2 and the U9. A very good dinner and company, and then a quick cab ride through the Tiergarten and back to the hotel.

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June 9
A short German day. Started out with a walk that ended up having a Berlin Wall focus; then, back to the hotel for a quick change and then a walk around for some last minute shopping. Returned for a final freshening up and finishing of packing before heading to the airport. Got a cab and threw in our luggage and before you knew it we were at Schonefeld (SXF). Ran into a collegue checking in for her flight home to Egpyt, whereas we were just stopping off in Cairo before heading to South Africa. Had a small snack at an "Irish" pub (consisting of a "big sausage" and beer). Checked out the duty free shops and then boarded Egypt Air Flight 732 to Cairo.

Farewell Berlin!

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