Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Jaunt into Germany

INRIA in concert with IRISA was kind enough to give me a 5 day weekend for Assumption (the mother of all, er, its a religious thing anyway), so I took the bit between the teeth and headed up to Germany. From Rennes on Friday morning I caught a train to Paris, and from Paris another, slower train to Mannheim. There I met Chris, and we pushed on up to Weinheim.

At Weinheim we caught up with Anjum, our host, in full flight with her work crowd at a bar singing eighties songs and, later, dancing on tables. A good time was had by all, in particular those strong enough to last the distance: Chris, myself, Anjum, Annette, Brendan and crazy Alex.

After a lazy Saturday morning, Chris, Anjum and I headed north to Frankfurt for a look around Europe's purported financial capital (pictured). We had a nice walk along the river, and through the middle of town, and grabbed some nice Thai food for dinner before heading back.

On Sunday it was south to Heidelberg (no pictures - dead battery) to see the Philosopher's perch (or some such), the very impressive castle including its even more impressive grounds, its slightly underwhelming yet undeniably enormous wine vat, and the many-jarred apothecary's museum, all rounded off by coffee and cake.
On getting home Chris and Anjum whipped a lovely goat's cheese pie with a nice salad.

On Monday, Anjum was back to wage-slavedom for the morning, so Chris and I headed west (like all young men should) to Speyer. For a small town, it has no claim on the 3 enormous churches it has. We also wandered down past the luxuriously wide main strip to the Rhine, from which Chris could look nostalgically upstream to Basel. On the way home we stopped past a cheese shop and grabbed some Langres, adding to our respective lists of smelly french cheeses experienced. Chris tried in vain to convince me that the chèvre we had was stronger than the Langres, which was, frankly, laughable. On the whole, Langres probably takes a back seat to Livarot and perhaps Munster for strength, of the AOCs I've tried.

On Tuesday it was back onto trains to Rennes, a dreary trip punctuated only by the bright spots of the muffins with which Anjum had so generously equipped me upon leaving.

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