Thursday, November 8, 2007


I've been in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth for the past few days, visiting the university here. The university is relatively new, founded and built in 1975, and unlike the University of Köln, it has a self-contained campus, much like American universities. I don't have pictures of my main reason for the visit and the most exciting part (for me), giving a talk Wednesday morning and spending the day discussing some of my research with people there. No major breakthroughs, but confirmation that what I'm working on is a hard problem (which I guess is better than easy). I suppose I could have taken pictures of beautiful german blackboards - the norm here is to have double boards, so that you can slide the front board up, hence keeping all that you have written visible, and thus doubling your board space. These exist in some classrooms (mostly large lecture halls) in the US, but here they are in every seminar room. And the german boards stay much cleaner, since instead of using a standard chalk eraser, they use a wet sponge and a squeegie, genius!

I arrived late Tuesday afternoon and saw the main market in the evening. I stumbled upon a cute restaurant that evening for a nice, but lonely, dinner by myself. I must have had good taste, since that was the same restaurant we went to Wednesday evening. Later I learned that this restaurant is in the building of the Altes Rathaus (old City hall), so a popular destination for tourists and locals.

Thursday I had a chance to see a little more of the town, made famous by Richard Wagner. In fact, the Wagner Festival each summer is really the only time the city sees any tourists, where there is a ten year waiting list to get tickets.


Mark said...

Seattle and Bayreuth have a Wagner festival tradition in common; but I think I would be happier joining you for a light dinner, than a heavy Wagnerian opera.
I'm also trying to remember where I last saw sliding blackboards... and I think it was back in medical school.

Aaron Burkhalter said...

In the back of my mind I think "Someday maybe I'll see a Wagner opera" and then I learn my options are super expensive tickets, or the so-called student tickets that are, and I'm not joking, standing room only.

Who would see a Wagner opera standing the whole time????

Anyway, those blackboards sound hot. I'm quite jealous.