Kategorie-Archiv: Urban Experiences

train

Transrapid in Shanghai

For a business meeting in Nanjing on Monday, the travel agency felt the most economical way to travel would be to leave Toronto on Thursday and eventually reach Nanjing via Vancouver, Shanghai and then a local train to Nanjing.

After a lengthy flight from Vancouver and a lengthy experience at Chinese immigration (very friendly, also quickly processed, just the waiting time was crazy), we were to head from the airport to Shanghai train station.

We could either have taken a cab, a bus, the metro OR:

The Maglev High-Speed Train connecting Shanghai airport to…

Nothing, really…

It runs along a 30km track to the suburbs of Pudong, from where you can either take a cab, a bus, or the metro to Shanghai train station. So pretty much the same options you had before going sub-sonic…

A maglev leaves every 15 minutes and takes about 8 minutes or less to complete the journey. They state top speeds of around 431 km/h (depending on time of day), and it costs about 50 Yuan for a single trip ticket. It is fun to look out the window and then check your speed on the ticker:

train

As you can see, I feel like I didn’t get the full value of the ticket given the 1 km/h lower-than-max-speed we saw. To be fair, 431 did flash up briefly, but not long enough to take a picture…

I rate this as an experience well worth having (50 Yuan is about $8).

 

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Porta Nigra

Touring Trier

I have a morning meeting in Luxembourg, but the hotels in (close by) Germany are a) less expensive and b) gives me a chance to see Trier again – if only the down town area.

Last time I was here (as a kid), I got to explore all the former Roman structures, including an awesome amphitheater.  This time the dinner meeting with a colleague gave me about 45 minutes to walk around the Porta Nigra and then head over to the town square. The Porta Nigra is a massive ancient Roman gate – I believe the largest of its kind this side of the Alps.

 

IMG00605-20120606-2120 Porta Nigra

 

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Wishing Tree

Back in Nanjing

A two-day conference in Nanjing has me back in town, along with a colleague who is originally from the area.

Only this time I came in with a full day to spare (Sunday, but I’ll take it). That gave us the opportunity to check out Confucius Temple and area, i.e. the Wishing Tree. Apparently you make a wish, write it down on a strip of red paper(ish) and throw it into the tree. The higher you position it, the better, so to weigh it down (and I guess ‘pay’ for the wish), you tie a coin to the strip.

We also found a local restaurant in the area and had some good hot pot, which included a number of ingredients that I didn’t really recognize (but were good). As usual, English didn’t get me very far, so my colleague got to choose.

 

IMG00479-20120307-1507 IMG00475-20120307-1501 IMG00491-20120307-1651 IMG00469-20120307-1316 Nanjing

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Weihnachtsmarkt

Santa’s Flight

Christmas time throughout much of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Sweden usually means Christmas markets – the Weihnachtsmaerkte or Christkindlmarkt that is already starting up over here as well.

If given the chance, I’ll admit to enjoying a stroll (bummel – hence the Weltenbummler…) across a Weihnachstmarkt. Last year I actually managed to cover Zurich, Vienna, Munich, Nuernberg, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stockholm and Freiburg all in one week.

Hamburg’s Rathausmarkt (City Hall Square) hosts a very full and well attended Christmas Market. Aside from the usual Gluehwein, other warm alcoholic beverages and foods, the market also has a toy train set puttering around overhead above the toy section. And at regular intervals, Santa’s sleigh flys over the entire market with a load of toys and a lot of ho’ho’ho’s.

 

Weihnachtsmarkt

 

IMG00330-20111126-2000

 

 

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Erbsensuppe

Wursteinlage in Hamburg

After meetings in Denmark, I made my way south and drove through Hamburg for the weekend.

I tend to be in Hamburg a lot, but this time I took a colleague to see some of the more touristy sites – the Reeperbahn in the red light district. Given all the signs and activities, I thought this was a novel concept at directing traffic to pea soup with sausage…

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