Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cruising the Neckar River

Last night I went with the bulk of the conference attendees on a cruise down the Neckar River. It was great. The boat we were on had a flat top, and two floors beneath. They fed us finger foods (lots of them), which weren't the tastiest -- they were typical German fare with weird (to me) cheese and meats. Aside from the bread and the fruit, I didn't really go for it very much. They also had a lot of alcohol, so most of the people on the boat were well liquored up, but not obnoxiously so -- these are professionals with their peers, after all, right?

Anyway, the trip up the river was spectacular. We didn't go very far, but it still took us two hours to go up and back because we were moving so slowly. Heidelberg is at about 49.4 degrees north latitude, so even though the cruise left so late (we pulled away from the dock at 6:50), it was still light out when we returned two hours later due to the Earth's inclination at this season. It was amazing!

What I really loved about the trip was just taking it slow and watching the ever-so-green scenery scroll by. There were houses on the hills that looked European (um, cause, they, like, are) and I could envision knights and kings and forest battles with swords and axes. It was beautiful. A few pictures follow:

People sailboating and paddle-boating on the river.

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The "old bridge" that is just below the castle with the other of our tour boats in the foreground.

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A steeple of one of the local churches with a lift up the mountain behind it.

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The oh-so-smooth river.

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A picture of the moon.

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The castle on the hill, lit by the sinking sun.

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Funny thing, though -- I'd been noticing odd things throughout the day. Many people were very late for the conference. Some people kept sunglasses on all day, even inside. Others sat around look melancholy and not conversing very much. I finally figured it out that all these people had hangovers! For a "rocket scientist", it sometimes takes me a while to catch on. All I could do was laugh.

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