Thursday, June 30, 2011

Post ITiCSE Day 1 Darmstadt to Wiesbaden (Biebrich) 15K


Leisurely breakfast at hotel Etap with Judy and then slow to check out. Took 10:15 train to Mainz. We easily found a bike rental place with great bikes. There was a big problem in that they wouldn’t be open on Sunday to return the bikes. Finally I asked the guy if we could return them to his house, His “boss” then volunteered to come into the shop at 3 pm on Sunday to get the bikes! I got his cell # just in case we got stuck and we were off after a few seat adjustments. We headed toward the city center and locked out bikes in a quaint square before setting off on foot. We found the Gutenberg Museum, checked its hours and headed off to the cathedral square for lunch. I had goulash soup – pieces of meat, carrots and potatoes in a spicy broth (Café Afterblatt).
Then I took off looking for an internet café to make my ACM call. The les-than-knowledgeable woman at the i sent me to a place that had been out of business for a couple of years. There was a church ruins and some good statues as well as friendly ladies in a tea shop who looked up a phone number for me. I first went to McDonald’s to use their internet but it was too hard so I just used my cell. It got too noisy, so I walked back near the Gutenberg Museum and sat amidst the flowers. The call lasted an hour and a half. During the call (I was on mute) Boots Cassel, her son David, daughter-in-law and granddaughters came by geocaching.

The second call was about 45 minutes.

Judy came back from her walk after viewing the Gutenburg museum and we looked for a cache (no luck) and had coffee in a fancier café on the same square.

We got on our bikes and headed for Wiesbaden across the Rhine bridge. We found our hotel (Am Schloss Biebrich) and checked in. It as a really nice old hotel – we locked out bikes out back and trekked to the 2nd (really 3rd) floor. The room overlooked the Rhine. Our hotel was near the gorgeous castle of the Schloss Bierbrich and its park. We went to a Mexican restaurant and I had guacamole and a tostado with white wine.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ITiCSE Day 3 Darmstadt

Click to see Slide Show
Posed poster pictureIMG_1564

The last day of the conference. Mark Guzdial was the keynote speaker and crammed a lot into a short time. He covered themes like media computation but also learning styles were proven not to exist and attitudes toward computing. After his talk I met with Mats Daniels and interviewed him for the oral history project. Quit an interesting story including the fact that his department gave him the entry fee for the 90K cross country race from Salarna to Morra as a PhD present!

After lunch I walked up to Margueritheholme which was an artist’s colony set up to include art deco homes for the artists, It rained lightly. Darmstadt was being transformed into a junky place as all kinds of carnival equipment was being moved in to prepare for an annual 5 day festival.

After the wrap up, I walked back to the hotel to get rid of my stuff which I had left with Judy Sheard while I had gone walking. We walked back to the hotel to change for the banquet, then back to the conference center to board busses for the banquet. I sat with Stefanie of the large suitcases – very intriguing person. Among other things she is a chiropractor!

The banquet was held in a castle ( ) between Darmstadt and Heidelberg. Along the way up to the castle there were many luxurious homes. The castle was above a small forest and we walked through a bit to get up to the castle. We were greeted by a trio of medieval musicians. The banquet hall had long tables where we were served bread with herb butter and jugs of water and wine. The first entertainment was a rather crude juggler who made fun of different nationalities, offending me and mostly other Americans by its insensitivity. We as we had come to expect were served lots of food beginning with cheese soup in bread, then turkey with fresh steamed veggies (good) and a bread pudding thing. Henry and I became the main entertainment as I was made queen of the realm and I knighted him, putting him in stocks and threatening to chop off his head, as scripted by the castle’s MC. To bed too late.

See Henry's pictures and script

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ITiCSE Day 2 Darmstadt

Day 2 Slideshow

Harder to get up. Still went to Starbucks for coffee and a croissant before the meeting. The first session was on introductory computing. I really enjoyed listening to Shriram Kristnamurti on his Scheme Web Bootstrap project for middle schoolers..

I went out looking for a geocache in a cool neighborhood that had a kiosk full of books for folks to donate, borrow and share on their own recognizance. It was an extraordinarily hot day. I went back to my room and caught up on a few things before coming back for the bus trip to Heidelberg.

In Heidelberg we were divided into groups. Our guide, Viktoria, was an ex-pat Brit and super. We walked through the old city and then took the funicular up to the castle. The building is being kept as a semi-ruin because according to the guide it is like the romanticists liked it.

Myles helped me identify a chaffinch singing from the top of a tree. Then Harriet and I broke off for a bit to find three geocaches.

Again the theme is that it was very hot. When she and I stopped for a drink the water I ordered came with ice. I was very excited!

Back in Darmstadt, I went to dinner at a potato restaurant?? where 14 of us caused the staff to haul tables outside. Judy Sheard and I shared a meal of schnitzel that was like a chicken cordon bleu. The restaurant gave us all potato liqueur afterwards but I gave mine away. Afterwards several accompanied me to look for a geocache near a church. I texted Harriet when I needed a clue, but found it before she wrote me back!

Monday, June 27, 2011

ITiCSE Day 1 Darmstadt, Germany

Greeted some friends eating breakfast in the hotel lobby and then I walked along the main street so that I could pick up a cup of Starbucks and a croissant.

Sat with Mark Guzdial at the opening session on a project to attract middle schoolers to IT at Aachen (Go4IT!). Mary handed out the scavenger hunt materials and we had our poster immediately after the talk.

Lunch was a stand up affair but with very good food. After lunch Harriet, Boots and I went to town for postcards and stamps and to help me find the Ludwig geocache. I went to the hotel for a while. On the way back to the conference I located the Liberale Synagogue cache. Once more I headed back to the hotel for a conference call with the SGB-EC which lasted almost an hour and a half!

I headed back to the old town where I joined the conference steering committee for dinner at the Hotel / Restaurant Bockshaut. There was an incredible amount of food and all excellent!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

ITiCSE getting there!

Saturday June 25

I left the house at 9:50 to head to Houston for my plane. I got there in 3 hours 20 minutes exactly like google maps had said! The parking lot was nearly full and I had the Fast Park bus following me around as I searched for a covered spot. Glad there was no one else in the bus while the driver was doing that!

The plane was very full but KLM so service was good. I sat among some folks going on a mission trip to Kenya. I watched one movie and slept some.

Sunday July 26 In the air – Amsterdam - Darmstadt
There was no one around my 8 hour lay over in Amsterdam. However, Schiphol Airport is a great place – I found a comfy lounge areas with a series of different little “rooms” and actually slept comfortably.

There were lots of interesting shops to stroll through and I had lunch in a coffee shop complete with Delft teacups as booths! My plane to Frankfurt was late due to the commissioning of a new control tower at Frankfurt which didn’t work right, reducing flow into the airport.

When I got there, I rushed through the airport to find the bus for Darmstadt. Although I was a couple of minutes late, the bus was still there because it was so full. I had to stand in the aisle next to the driver until a woman moved her child onto her lap and let me sit with them. I had met the guy across the aisle from me at a meeting in Portland and he took my bag so even more people squeezed onto the overcrowded bus! Finally we were off.

It was quite hot in Darmstadt but we lugged out suitcases to the Etap hotel where we checked in and then hurried off to the conference reception. I missed registration but did chat with old friends and have some yucky apple wine. Several of us headed off into the old city for beer and German food at an outside beer garden. Finally back to the hotel to unpack.