Our Visit to the University of Cologne and IGC
We stayed in Cologne, Germany for several days. While in Cologne, we stayed with Dr. Karl Schneider, his wonderful wife Karen and children. They are always such great hosts. Their son Karl said that he played football. I assumed he meant soccer because the people in the United States are the ones that call the game soccer. The rest of the world says football. But, I was wrong. He plays American football (in Germany). That is interesting. The younger Karl was an exchange student in the United States and played on the school’s football team. Or, I should say that he practiced. The rules in the state he lived in would not allow exchange students to play sports if they hadn’t played the sport in the home school. That is terrible to me.
The senior Karl is the Dean of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and he is a professor of Geography. Karl is quite modest of his accomplishments, but he is very well known and his research is top notch. He maintains his research program even when being dean which takes up a lot of his time. Karl studies remote sensing and he uses it to look at hydrology and water quality. One of his most recent studies is in India where he is working with colleagues to study runoff from the monsoon. One of his daughters went with him this past July. They are both very adventurous.
There are a couple things to note. Germany has been without a GLOBE country coordinator for a number of years now. Karl has been working to try to get Germany to more involved with GLOBE. Even without the government’s backing, some of the schools in Germany are the best schools in GLOBE, for example the Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium that I visited. I hope that Germany can get more involved and the Karl is successful.
I gave a talk on GLOBE at the International Geographical Congress that was being held at the University of Cologne.
My talk was attended by over 50 people. That is one of the biggest audiences that I have had in a while. The focus of my presentation was on projects. I want teachers to have their students do projects. Sometimes teachers are reluctant to have their students do projects. To some degree, it is hard for the teacher to come up with frameworks for projects such that the students learn what the teacher wants them to learn. But, if the teacher can do it, the students learn much more. I say, “Learn Science by Doing Science.” I related it to soccer (football outside of the US). Professionals play soccer and they are very good. I am a professional scientist. But, just like almost everyone had played soccer in their lives, everyone needs to do science. GLOBE, of course, is perfect for projects. I hope that GLOBE has the Student Science Symposium again at next summer’s GLOBE meeting. It is up to GLOBE Partners to make sure that students do projects and that they have the funds to go to the annual meeting.
Some things that I have noticed about Germany are that everything is very organized. The cities show little urban sprawl because where people can build houses is restricted. Also, Germany has many manufacturers. The people here complain that they purchase too many things from overseas. But, they still produce a lot of what they use.
Please take a look at my previous blog postings if you haven’t seen them already. Click on previous.
Getting from Switzerland to Cologne, Germany (by the way, I have posted below an English translation of the newspaper article to my visit to the school in Konstanz)
After our meeting with the teachers and student at the Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium in Konstanz, Germany, we made our way up to Cologne, Germany so I could attend and present at the International Geographical Congress (IGC) meeting. I’ve posted pictures of the trip and the cities we visited. I included a little about each city so you can get a sense of the countryside.
Tirol Region of Austria
We started by going to Reutte, Austria. I was a little nervous going to Austria because most of the people do not speak English and I speak about two words of German, danke…. okay maybe just one. The nice thing about Austria is that it was very inexpensive compared to Switzerland. In Switzerland, a soda was $4.50 while in Austria it was $1.50. Diesel fuel was much less expensive as well so we filled up. We heard about a folk dance festival and decided to go. It was a night of traditional Tirol dances. Tirol is the area of Austria we were in. It was nice because it was something that the local people do and not meant for tourists. I strangely felt at home and fit right in. The middle-aged men were about the same height and build as I, wore glasses and are going bald on top in the same place as me. Some middle school students came and sat by us because they could tell we didn’t know German. They were in some of the dancing. They were very nice and wanted to practice their English with us. They told us what was going on. But, then, one of the girls wanted me to go with her to dance on the stage. I was thinking, “This is a bad idea.” But, the students brought many people on stage to dance with them. Not to make too big of a scene, I danced with them in front of all of those people. One of the mom’s took video of me dancing. I hope the camera broke and no one will ever see me dance. I hope we are able to stay in contact with the family.
Kathleen and I found a great river along the road going into Germany that has a large bed of cobble stones. The water was cold and we had a nice time wading in the river. I’m guessing that the riverbed is devoid of vegetation because the floods in the spring must scour everything away. Kathleen took some pictures of the stones while I took the surface temperature of the stones and water. You may be able to see that I had a helper. We noticed that the water was completely clear and did not seem to have any plant or animal life in it.
We had to stop at Neuschwanstein Castle near Fussen, Germany. It is a huge tourist trap but it is still very beautiful to see. This castle was built by Mad Kind Ludwig of Bavaria. He only lived in it for something like 170 days. It wasn’t completely finished either. The story goes that when he was about 24, he was institutionalized for being crazy. A couple of days later, he drowned in a lake in Munich, Germany with his psychiatrist. This is the castle that Walt Disney patterned the Magic Kingdom after. We didn’t see Mickey here though.
Rural southern Germany
As we drove through southern Germany north, we took the side roads instead of taking the autobahn. We went through many small towns where the road goes down to one lane. The country-side was beautiful. Germany has quite a significant amount of agriculture. I felt right at home since northern Ohio and southern Michigan where we live have a lot of agriculture as well. You may be able to see from the pictures that the barns and houses are connected. That must help to keep the people and animals warm in the winter. We stopped and took surface temperature observations just outside one of the small towns. Do you notice something out of place in the pictures? There are solar panels on almost every roof. We found out that Germany had a significant incentive program for people to put solar panels on their roofs. It just looked so out of place. But, they are also trying to generate electricity from alternative sources. Since the nuclear disaster in Japan, Germany has shut down all of it nuclear generating plants.
Along the route, there were many castles and old looking buildings. Below are pictures of Burg Harburg. We got to the castle too late to take a tour but we were able to use their restroom. Interestingly, the highway goes through a tunnel under the castle. As you may guess, most castles are on hills. I was surprised to see the road go under it.
Dinkelsbühl- the walled city
Dinkelsbuhl is a nice old village that is a walled city from the Middle Ages. My understanding is that the wall helped keep the people in the city safe from people who may want to hurt them. Dinkelsbuhl is named after a wheat farmer. Wheat can be called dinkel. There are towers around the city and there is water (i.e. mote) just outside the wall to make it hard to attack. One of the coolest surfaces I found on our trip was in Dinkelsbuhl. It was the traditional paving stones with grass growing in between. From what I understand, none of Dinkelsbuhl was destroyed during the world wars so much of the buildings are over 500 years old.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Our next stop was the walled city of Rothenburg. It is on the Tauber River and since there are more than one Rothenburgs in Germany, you need to specify which one it is. Rothenburg is much larger than Dinkelsbuhl. The wall was added to three separate times as the city grew. There are many fountains in the city with water running all of the time. We learned that the fountains were built hundreds of years ago. Since Rothenburg is on a plateau, there is no natural source of water. The Tauber River is several hundred feet below. So, the ingenious people pipe water from nearby hills (mountains) Since the hills are higher in elevation than the city, the pressure pushes the water through the fountains. It is really cool. During the Middle Ages, the people of the city had to keep the source of their water secret so people couldn’t sabotage their drinking water source.
The last part of our trip to Cologne took us nearly twice and long as it should have. Traffic was horrible because people were heading off on vacation and there was an accident. Cologne is a beautiful city located on the Rhine River. The Rhine is famous for its castles and vineyards. The climate is perfect for growing grapes for wine. We stayed with our friends Karen and Karl Schneider. Herr Schneider as he is known here is the Dean of the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Cologne. I’ll write more about Cologne and the IGC meeting tomorrow.
Chris and Sebastian from the Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium had a
newspaper article published about my visit. That is really special.
Professor honours students of the Humboldt Gymnasium
The American Kevin Czajkowski visited the Humboldt Gymnasium and honours the student for their scientific work.
In the middle of the summer vacation the high school Alexander-von-Humboldt Gymnasium was visited by a professor from the US who appeared to be quite taken with the work of this school. Prof. Kevin Czajkowski and his wife visited the GLOBE study group (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment). In this study group lower grade students aged 11-14 analyze the water of the River Rhine and collect data on the weather daily. This data is subsequently uploaded to the GLOBE website (www.globe.gov). There the data is available to be used in research. With the help of the study group, students are not only introduced to experimental methods used in science but also learn that scientific work can only be successful if data are collected regularly over a longer period of time. In a press release it was said that since the GLOBE study group had been set up by teacher Christoph Goldstein in 2008 it had worked its way up to one of those schools which, within Germany, has uploaded the most data. Also on a worldwide scale Alexander-von-Humboldt Gymnasium is one of the most active schools concerning data collection. Worldwide there are over 25,000 schools within the GLOBE network.
During his visit Professor Kevin Czajkowski, who teaches meteorology at Toledo University, Ohio and is one of the GLOBE scientists, complimented the students of the GLOBE study group and the teachers Christoph Goldstein and Sebastian Haber on the excellent work that had been done for the GLOBE program. Nicolai Scherer, 7th grader and GLOBE student at Humboldt Gymnasium, demonstrated water analyses to the guests and welcomed suggestions for further analyses. As a present Professor, Kevin Czajkowski gave the GLOBE study group school an infrared thermometer, which can be used for further series of measurements. www.humboldt-konstanz.de http://www.humboldt-konstanz.de/schule/00025/00134/index.html?lang=de
August 20, 2012: Visit to Alexander von Humboldt school in Konstanz, Germany
On Monday I visited the Alexander von Humboldt Gymnasium in Konstanz, Germany. It is a small part of Germany that is south of Lake Constance. Lake Constance is a beautiful lake with quite clean water. What is unique about Konstanz is that it would seem that it should be part of Switzerland. But, it isn’t. I met with Chris Goldstein, Chris’ wife Marlene, Sebastian Haber (the new GLOBE teacher at the school) and Nikoli (a 7th grade student). This is a great GLOBE school. They are one of the most prolific at taking observations in all of the world. They take hydrology observations in Lake Constance that is just a few steps from the school. Nikoli showed us how he takes the measurements. He has taken measurements all during his summer break. He is very proficient for a 7th grader. Actually, he is very proficient for any grade. I wish my graduate students would be as thorough. I hope they don’t read this :). The students take GLOBE observations in the extra period which is recess. They also observe the clouds and the weather information from a weather station on the roof. As with many GLOBE schools, if they had it at ground level, it would get vandalized.
I showed them how to take surface temperature measurements and we went outside and took some. Their school is in the city so there is very little grass. In the pictures below, you can see Nikoli and myself taking the surface temperature readings on the stone play area. The paved playing area (1 on the image below) that the students play on was 38.2 C on average while the nearby grass (2) was 30.9 C. This is closer than the other measurements I have made. By the way, skies were clear except for 4 short-lived contrails for the grass site.
It was great meeting everyone at the school and I hope that we have a productive future working together through GLOBE.
Our travels have taken us into a star pattern. Over the next several days we are going to make our way up to Cologne, Germany for the International Geographical Union meeting there. I am also going to meet with Karl Schneider who is a professor at the University of Cologne and Anna Heyne-Mudrich who is a teacher.
These pictures are of the area around Lake Constance. This is a very agricultural area with large orchards of apple trees. I read that many of the apples from here are put into McDonalds Happy Meals (the ones with the apple slices). It is interesting that the trees are very short and are grown like grape vines in a way but about twice as tall. Also, the farmers put a netting over the trees. I’m guessing it is to either keep bugs or birds from eating the apples. In the middle picture, the netting is the black rows in the background. The first picture is of a community garden in eastern Switzerland. Every village seems to have one or more of these community gardens. There are lots of sheds in the gardens which you can see. My wife and I had a section in a community garden when we lived in an apartment in Greenbelt, Maryland just after we got married. It was a lot of fun and we got some nice vegetables from it. What’s interesting in Switzerland, is that the houses have very small plots of land around them. Then, to have a garden, the people have to go to a community garden. In many parts of the United States, our yards are big enough to have nice sized gardens.
More Glacier Pictures
Kathleen and I took a couple hundred pictures of the glacier. I thought I would share a few more. Take a look at all of the gray ice. That is the old glacier melting. The white snow is the snow that fell last winter. So, in general, the Mount Titlis glacier is melting back.
Here are some other things to note about how the attraction is unsustainable. There is a watch store at the top of the mountain. The urinals in the men’s room are flush toilets instead of the no-flush ones. They also made a cave under the glacier that wasn’t there. They dug it out. It was really neat to go into but is it necessary.
We took surface temperature measurements at the base of Mount Titlis, part way up and at the top. A research question that can be asked is “How does surface temperature change with elevation?” You could also then relate that to the air temperature. The rate at which the temperature changes from the surface to the typical height above the surface, i.e. 2 m, changes with elevation above sea level. This image shows the location of the different surface temperature observations that I took. I tried to take grass and pavement observations at each elevation. However, there was no grass at 3000 m.
Engelberg, 1060 m 1. asphalt 45.0 C 2. grass 29.1 C
Trubsee, 1800 m 3. gravel 40.2 4. grass 29.1 C
Mt. Titlis 3200 m 5. snow -0.5 6. gravel 2.4 C rocks 17.2 C 7. snow -0.2 C
All of the observations were taken we it was completely clear and quite hot. This was the hottest day in 100 years we were told by some Swiss people. As you can see, the grass temperature was the same at 1060 m and 1800 m while the gravel was cooler than the asphalt which may be expected. The gravel at 3200 m is a lot colder even though the air temperature was 14 C. Interestingly, the bare rocks that are not on top of snow were quite hot at 17.2 C. I can image that if the glacier melts, it exposes bare rock which can get quite hot in the sunshine. In the GLOBE database, there are many surface temperature observations at different elevations. Students could ask the question of how surface temperature changes with elevation while keeping other variables the same like latitude, surface cover and air temperature.
We went to a glacier in central Switzerland. It is a tourist attraction. It was the most unsustainable tourist place I have been to in my life. Usually, at tourist places, they try to have you do things that preserve the site. In the United States at the parks, you are not allowed to take anything away. Dunes are protected at the parks that have dunes along Lake Michigan, etc. But, here, there are thousands of tourists walking on the glacier, there is a cave that they carved out of the glacier, there is even a sledding area. The sledding area may not be too bad because it is on fresh snow that feel this winter. When you look at the pictures, the white snow fell last winter. If the ice is dark, that is the glacier. The day that we went, it was one of the hottest days in Switzerland history. We measured 37 C (99 F) on our car thermometer. On the glacier, it was 14 C (57 F). The sun was shining brightly and the snow and ice was melting rapidly. The people who work here are very concerned about the melting of the glacier. They said that there has been a lot of melt back in the last decades and that the glacier is getting smaller.
In the pictures, you will see white felt canvas laid over the ice and snow. It looks like they are trying to keep the ice from melting in strategic locations along the glacier. They also have a snow maker at the top of the glacier. I talked to two of the young workers on the glacier. One was from England and the other from Switzerland. You can see their picture below. They were putting up fence posts on the edge of the glacier. I’m guessing that did not want anyone to fall off. That looked like a dangerous job. If they went 2 meters back, they would fall 1000 meters down the mountain. They said that the people who run the mountain are trying to come up with ways to preserve the ice and snow. Making snow could be one of them but the hard part is getting water to the summit in the winter. I don’t know if there is some way to store the water up there.
Do you have any suggestions of what they can do to preserve the glacier? Please post them under comments.
August 18, 2012
Today Markus had a GLOBE teacher training. There were 8 teachers at the training and I could tell that they were all very engaged. His topic today was ice and snow associated with the Seasons and Biomes Project of GLOBE. Markus talked about GLOBE in general and the Student Climate Research Campaign. Then, I introduced the surface temperature field campaign that is going to run from December 1-31, 2012. Markus is planning on having his class participate in the surface temperature field campaign. I hope that some of the other teachers do as well.
I asked the teachers to break into groups of two and to develop a research question that they wanted to research using the infrared thermometers. The teachers really took change. They talked in their groups for about five minutes. I didn’t have to say anything and they got up and went outside to do their research. One group looked at the difference in temperature between leaves on a tree in the sun and some in the shade. Another group looked at the temperature of cars. They found that the white cars were 45 C while the black cars were 60 C. If you want a cooler car, choose a white one. Tanya and Mara took the temperature of the water pool and found it to be about 17 C. I thought that was cold but they did not.
Markus talked about how glaciers are receding in the Alps. It was all in German so I did not understand it all. I did my best though. He had the teachers do experiments with rocks on a chunk of ice that they melted with a heat lamp and they all set up their GLOBE frost tubes.
Take a look at the pictures to see if you see anything strange. Let me know if what you notice in the comments below.
Markus said that the teacher workshop was sponsored by his Canton, St. Gallen. There are 26 Cantons in Switzerland. I’ve heard that the government of Switzerland is based on the United States. I gather that the Cantons are the equivalent of states in the US. You may know that Switzerland has four official languages, German (Swiss German to be more precise), French, Italian and Romansh. The official language of the St. Gallen Canton is German. Most people here speak enough English for us to get along. The only problem we had on our trip was at the border from Germany. We did not know what a Zoll was. I figured a toll but wasn’t sure. The guy at the border yelled at me because I did not speak German.
After the workshop, Kathleen and I drove up to the mountains. I had it in my head that Switzerland was all mountains. It was a surprise to me but all of Switzerland is not mountains. It is all hilly, but the hills near Uzwil are pretty small.
We must have brought the hot weather with us. It is 32 C as we drove through Urdorf, Switzerland. Interestingly, Markus was talking about how hot days like these that melt the glaciers in the Alps. This is the hottest day that they have had in Switzerland this year. Then, Saturday, Aug. 18, the temperature reached 37 C (about 100 F). That is a hot temperature anywhere.
I’ll post more about the glacier on Mount Titlis tomorrow.
Where we have been so far
I put together a map of where we have been so far using Google maps. You may notice that it is in German. Google maps seems to be picking up that I am in Switzerland and is making the map in German. I’ll try to update this whenever we go somewhere.
On August 17 after visiting with Markus’ classes, Markus’ wife Esther took Kathleen and I to St. Gallen. It is a nice quaint town on the eastern side of Switzerland. It is the town that Esther grew up in. There is an old part of the city that used to be surrounded by a wall during the Middle Ages. That part of town is still there. On the day that we went, everyone was preparing for a festival in the old part of town. One of the nice things to do in Europe is to visit the very old churches. That is what we did. I didn’t know that the churches often have clocks on them. At the church, Esther helped me take surface temperature observations at 4 locations around the church: 1. paving stones, 2, paving stones in the shade, 3. grass, and 4. slate slabs. These observations were taken around 3 pm and the sky was completely clear. After averaging the 9 temperatures according to the GLOBE protocol, the temperatures were as follows:
1. paving stones: 34.0 C
2. paving stones in the shade: 23.6 C
3. grass: 31.4 C
4. slate slabs: 45.2 C
As you can see, the slate slab was by far the hottest. Interestingly, the paving stones which seem to be a more traditional way of making side walks and roads here is nearly as cool as the grass. If you look back to the observations that we took around the hotel in Frankfurt, you can see that in this case, the grass and slate slabs have a similar difference in temperature, 13 C, while in Frankfurt, the difference was 11 C. I really find it interesting that the traditional paving stones have nearly the same temperature as grass. Maybe we have stumble on a way to keep urban heat island at bay. At, it will employ a lot of pavers.
August 17, 2012
Today I went to Uzwil Secondary School with Markus Eugster. In the picture below are the courtyard of the school, the phenology cameras that Markus has looking at the vegetation and the start of his GLOBE phenological garden. The phenological garden is broken into four pieces, winter, spring, summer and fall. I found out that the schools name is just Uzwil Secondary School. Markus said that it is nothing fancy.
I met with two classes and it was a great time. The first class was a geography class taught by Daniel Zahner. He is a good sport. He posed with the monkey. I asked the students what geography was. They told me it had to do with the earth and why things are where they are. I told them that Toledo, Ohio where the University of Toledo is (the place where I work) was founded because it was a good port on the Great Lakes. I asked them why Uzwil was where it is. Once astute student said that it was a mid-way point where travelers could stop along the road.
A teacher in Toledo, Melody Tspranis wanted me to ask the students about the snow in the Alps last winter. The students told me that there was lots of snow and that there was no drought like the one in the United States. If anyone else has a question for the people that I meet along the way, please post it in the comments.
I talked to the class about the surface temperature field campaign and I showed them the infrared thermometers. Markus has a set of five IRTs from Cason that he plans to use this December. I am so grateful to have dedicated teachers to work with on the surface temperature field campaign. I explained to the students how land cover can affect surface temperature. One of the students said that a parking lot will be warmer than grass in general.
That’s all for now.
August 16, 2012
Yesterday after we arrived in Frankfurt, we walked around the city. It is an amazing city. It is big enough that there is a lot of business but it is small enough that the streets are not clogged with cars. Maybe one of the reasons is that so many people ride bicycles. There were bikes everywhere. Sometimes the people walking have to be careful not to get run over by the bikes.
We went down to the old part of Frankfurt which is near the River Main. The old town area is very cool to visit. I found it interesting that much of the old town had to be rebuilt after World War II. The allies bombed the city destroying many buildings. I found some images from 1927 and 1947 that I’ve included with a picture that I took yesterday. You can see that a couple of the churches survived the war. The picture from 1927 was probably used to recreate the buildings that are standing today to reconnect the area with the past.
Frankfurt also has one of Germany’s best underground rail systems. Kathleen and I went down into the underground for a little while. We went to a grocery store and bank underground. It was amazing.
Just beyond the old town is the River Main and the Eisener Steg bridge. There are thousands of locks locked to the bridge. Couples have put them there and many of the locks of the people’s names engraved on them. That is a really neat idea.
The one bad thing that I can say about Frankfurt is that it has some bad odors. Frankfurt is not unlike others cities. It seems like all large cities have smells.
Today, we drove to Switzerland to meet up wit GLOBE people there. We were suppose to meet with Juliette Vogel, the GLOBE country coordinator for Switzerland, but on our drive down, we got turned around on the Autabahn (Germany’s highway system) and ended up going an hour and a half out of our way. Juliette had to catch a train to go home from Zurich, so we were not able to meet.
After driving through Zurich, Kathleen and I made our way to Markus Eugster’s house in Uzwil, Switzerland. Markus is a good GLOBE friend. He is a teacher at the ? Okay, I realized I don’t know the name of Markus’ school. I am going there tomorrow. I better learn it. He teachers 7th through 8th grade science and math from what I know. In the picture are Markus and two of his three sons, Michael and Simon. I’m the guy on the left.
Please post comments to my blog here. I would like to see what people have to say.
Field Experiment in Frankfurt, Germany.
On the first day that Kathleen and I were in Germany, we conducted a surface temperature field experiment around the hotel we were staying at. We chose 3 sites for our experiment: 1. a brick sidewalk in front of the hotel, 2. a grassy area behind the hotel and 3. a pond with a fountain behind the hotel. We took all of the observations with 10 minutes and cloud cover did not change, overcast with altocumulus and cumulus clouds.
The average temperatures were as follows:
1. Brick side walk: 35.3 C 2. Grass: 24.3 C 3. pond: 23.2 C (shown in yellow in the image from Google Earth).
I could actually feel the warmth radiating off of the bricks. I was somewhat surprised how hot they were given the cloudy day that we had. I thought it was interesting as well that the pond and grass were about the same temperature. The grass was not shadowed by the building when I took the measurements.
August 15, 2012
My wife Kathleen and I have come to Europe as part of my sabbatical at the University of Toledo to meet with GLOBE partners and teachers. My goal is to promote awareness of the surface temperature field campaign which is part of GLOBE’s Student Climate Research Campaign (SCRC) this year and which will be held in December. I am also promoting projects. Teachers should work with their students to do science investigations (projects) based on GLOBE observations.
We left Detroit, Michigan (the airport closest to our house near Toledo, Ohio) yesterday, August 14th at about 5:30 pm. We landed in Frankfurt, Germany at about 8 am local time on August 15th. This was an overnight (red-eye) flight. Everyone is suppose to sleep on the plane. Here is a picture of me with my monkey neck pillow. I love my monkey pillow.
We are really tired today because we did not get much sleep last night. There is a 6 hour time difference. When it is 8 am here and everyone is waking up, it is 2 am where we live. Everyone is asleep.
We will be first driving to Zurich, Switzerland tomorrow to visit Juliette Vogel who is the GLOBE country coordinator for Switzerland. After the meeting, we will head over to Uzwil, Switzerland which is on the eastern side of the country. We will be staying with Markus Eugster and his wife. I’ll visit his classroom and then help out with a teacher training on Saturday. From there, we will visit the mountains of Switzerland. I want to see how the temperature of different land cover types and elevations affects surface temperature.
Then, we will go to Konstanz, Germany to visit teachers from the von Humbolt school. This is one of the top GLOBE schools in the world. They have posted x amount of data. It is only a 45 minute drive from Uzwil.
Here is our itinerary:
I hope to blog a lot along the way.
We’ve rented a car and will driving to all of the above locations. It just seemed easier than to try to catch the train although Europeans like to take the train.
Kathleen started to drive first. The car has a manual transmission. There aren’t many cars with manual transmissions in the United States any more. Kathleen hadn’t driven one in 15 years or more. Let’s just say she was a little rusty.
We’ve seen some familiar things in Frankfurt: Starbucks, Subway, McDonalds…. And even a jewelry store selling jewelry from Arizona made of Turquoise.
The hotel we are staying at in Frankfurt is near the central business district. Our hotel is 50 meters from the Borse Stock Exchange, 800 m from the European Central Bank. If I was a country in need of money, I could go there to get a loan.
The proximity to the banks probably explains why our hotel room is so expensive. A bottle of water in the hotel is 5 which is about $6.
One thing that Kathleen and I noticed from the plane when we are flying over Germany is that people tend to live in small villages with their houses clustered together with few houses in the agricultural areas and forested areas. This is a big difference with the United States. Many people in the US want to live on 5-10 acre properties. This has caused the cities in the US to sprawl, called urban sprawl. It is one of the main reasons that the US cities are warming up due to the urban heat island effect. On my trip, I hope to learn more about central Europe’s cities and whether they are seeing the urban heat island effect like the US cities are.