After two fantastic weeks in Germany, it was time for the next part of the Europe adventure.
After staying the night in Frankfurt, I caught a train to Paris. Having been all over Germany on IC, EC, and DB Regio trains – all of which leave NZ/AU trains looking very old and slow – the ICE train was another level of speed (and comfort). The trip from Frankfurt to the French border went through small town after small town, in very thick heavy fog. We then went into a deep valley between mountains and came out in France. Once into the French countryside we blasted along the tracks at 300kmh+.
Boarding the ICE in Frankfurt
Foggy German Farmland
Passing through the last German Village before entering France
The final portion of my travels in Germany was visiting friends in Munich.
By pure coincidence I arrived in Munich for the start of Oktoberfest. The biggest fair in the world begins with a massive street parade where each brewery brings its beer into the city. This was a rather interesting parade to watch, where marching bands that I would normally expect to see at a Santa Parade played between each brewery’s float.
The main purpose of my trip to Germany was to present some of my doctoral research at the German Multiagent Systems Technologies Conference. This year the conference was co-located with the Germany Artificial Intelligence conference and a number of smaller conferences as part of the Informatik which was held in Koblenz.
I spent my first weekend in Germany in the area around Heidelberg and Mannheim.
After spending the day walking around Frankfurt with random friends, I caught the train from Frankfurt to Heidelberg. After checking into my hotel, I went for a walk around the city while waiting for my friends to arrive from Munich.
The town of Heidelberg is incredibly pedestrian friendly. The core area is one long narrow street that runs from the centre of town through to the base of the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle. Once my friends arrived, we had dinner at a local pub.
In September I went to Europe primarily to present some of my doctoral research at a conference in Germany. The next few blog posts are compiled from notes I wrote while away and will feature highlights of the trip.
On Sunday, I went to the V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama. Despite living in Sydney for nearly four years and being a crazy V8 Supercars nut, until this year, I had yet to make my way to the mountain for the great race. To just go for the Sunday race, a special train leaves Sydney just after 5am and returns just before 11pm, making for a very long day. Continue reading →
I’ve been out all day walking around Sydney Harbour taking checking out the Sydney International Fleet Review. The morning wasn’t as exciting as expected, but the afternoon air displays and then fireworks were incredibly impressive. Below are some of the shots from the day.
Yesterday I went with a mate up to Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast. We did two short hikes, Box Point and Gerrin Point Circuit. The road out to Box Point is unsealed, however, we weren’t expecting a full 4wd track, and proceeded to take a small 2wd car down it – fun! The track out to Box Point itself, despite being short, was quite rugged and combined with lots of smoke from the nearby hazard reduction burns was an interesting walk. The Gerrin Point Circuit on the other-hand was much easier than expected, with the exception of the final climb up from Putty Beach to The Scenic Road which took us up an unmarked track.
In a few weeks time I’m going to be doing a bit of traveling for work and then a small holiday. As I will be hoping on and off planes and trains, I’m not really keen on taking my primary laptop as it is bulky and not really designed for travel.
After tossing up the pros and cons of tablets, netbooks, and ultrabooks I have bought a Acer C7 Google Chromebook and have managed to get Ubuntu 12.04 running inside a chroot environment. The whole process of getting Ubuntu installed has been much simpler than I was expecting.
For under $300 I now have basically a full lightweight system for travel on which I can watch videos, play music, edit documents, edit photos, and browse the web. While the basic Chrome OS operating system claims all these features, the reality is, it is extremely limited in what it is actually able to do. Continue reading →