Entry under construction.
The latest meet in the making
July 2011 - plans are being made for a meet in the Autumn of this year. It is the North's turn, and Hamburg will definitely be the venue, but settling on a date is proving rather difficult. As October is too cold in that part of the world, and as so many people are tied up for most of the weekends in September, we are now working on 27th August. Follow this thread for the ongoing discussion.
Mini-Meet in Frankfurt/Main on 24 July 2011
While the above discussion ensues, three researchers got together for a day in Frankfurt/Main.
U185843 was due to spend a few days at a Symposium in the Mannheim/Heidelberg area and would be flying to Frankfurt. So he did what everyone should do when they're due to travel and will have some time to kill - threw out a question to the h2g2 Community, asking what do do while there and whether anyone who lived in the area was free for drinks or a meal together at the same time.
U185843 was staying at U230913's flat, and had a conference call (rather hush-hush, to do with the takeover bid of the h2g2 web site) at 10.30 CET. By the time this was over, U154942 had turned up at the flat, and the three jolly researchers set out to catch a bus into the busy centre of Frankfurt.
The town was dominated by the preparations for the European Iron Man championship, due to take place on the following day, the Sunday. Grandstands were set up on the picturesque square in front of Frankfurt's landmark, the 'Römer' for the finish of the race, notices were up everywhere, warning people that the buses and trams would not be running on the Sunday, and the town was milling with people, many of them sporting the official Iron Man backpacks, which, presumably, meant they were entrants. A long queue of athletes with their cycles blocked the way in front of a row of cafés and for several hundred metres along the street and around the corner. They were obviously queuing up to be registered, have their bikes tagged and their numbered kitbags handed out to them - according to the official website1, some 2300 triathletes will be splashing in the Main and running the streets of Frankfurt on 24 July 2011.
Our three researchers walked around the more picturesque parts of the town, bumping into people and tripping over cables on this busy Saturday, taking photos and talking a little of the history of the place, talking about other h2g2 researchers, and enjoying each others' company.
Time for a lunch break. It may have been mid-July, but the weather was very untypical for the time of year - cold winds and rain, interspersed with hot, humid bursts of sunlight. Nevertheless, many restaurants had tables outside, and, with jackets on, under a huge sunshade, some reasonable food with vegetarian options was found at a Thai restaurant. As much as a foreign visitor to any country should be shown the joys of the local cuisine, this would, in Germany, usually involve large amounts of pork, and U185843 is vegetarian. This suited the others well, and the service was extremely friendly and quick, the food good and spicy, and reasonably priced. As U230913 and U185843 were invited to a barbecue in the evening, thirsts were quenched with non-alcoholic beer and coconut juice.
It was already 3 pm when the group left the lunch table to jump on the Ebbelwoi-Express. The €6 ticket included a ride in the historic tram right round the town, during which time you can enjoy a drink of the Apple Wine (Ebbelwoi), apple juice or water, and a small bag of pretzels. Despite the rain outside, the atmosphere inside was jolly, with a group of girls on a hen outing, dressed as air hostesses (most apt for Frankfurt!) creating a party atmosphere.
After all that apple juice and wine everyone agreed that it was time to find a café with 'amenities'. There was still plenty to talk about, but at 6 pm U230913 and U185843 needed to leave to get ready for the barbecue, and U154942 had to catch the train home at 7 pm. The group parted company at the Hauptbahnhof, the main railway station. They knew where they were going, and, after today's conversations, they have a better idea of where h2g2 is going, too.