Europe Trip 2010: Day 3, Start of the Conference

On the third day of our vacation adventure, we find that it’s time to pay our dues. You see, our choice of Germany for this trip was basically decided for us: Teisha has an interesting stem cell conference here in Dresden, and a grant that will pay conference-related travel expenses. And today is when the conference begins! We had a great morning together seeing a bit more of historic Dresden, and then went to the site of Teisha’s conference- which looks very neat! Moreover, that don’t seem to worry about hungry spouses mooching a little food. Yum!

Here’s our photos from Day 3, but you really should just read on for the explanations!

Since we were leaving our first Dresden stomping grounds, we thought we’d snap a few shots of a few more fun things before we left. Frauenkirche, the rebuilt church discussed on Day 2, has an all new dome, but one piece of the old dome is preserved right in front of it:

We had our last awesome breakfast at the Gasthaus Am Neumarkt, and captured photos of us happily eating, as well as some photos of the restaurant itself:

We left to go wander over to a public Park we had seen yesterday, hidden behind the royal palace. On the way there, we ran into a big (probably several thousand participants) bike race:

The park (once we weaved through the oncoming bikes) was quite nice, and Teisha snapped some shots of the local crows, ducks, and humans.

We then stopped by the Zwinger and Royal Palace region one last time, to capture a few shots we missed.
For instance, the fake graffiti on the fake-wall of the under-renovation Zwinger (that smiley face is part of the backdrop, not added later):

And here’s a few nice shots: Teisha in front of the Zwinger fountains, the entrance to the Green Vault, and a model of the palace:

All that done, we were just about ready to head out for new adventures… until we realized that we had never actually made it inside the famous Frauenkirche. Oops! Of course, it was Sunday, too. That meant lots of services, and not much chance. In fact, we ended up walking in with the patrons attending a church service, taking some quick photos (very respectfully, no flash, trying to stay out of the way), and then making our exit. It is a beautiful church inside:

I also got a shot of the church’s original cross (which used to adorn the top of the dome). In 1945, when the church was bombed, the cross fell 300 feet and then burned– but the metal survived. Interestingly, the church’s new cross is a replica made by the son of one of the English pilots who bombed the church, which I think is a hugely powerful statement.

After that moment of somber reverance, we were ready to bid adieu to Munzgasse street, our first stomping ground in Germany.

The second leg of our adventure starts at the Maritim Conference Center— our new hotel, and the site of The 3rd International Congress on Stem Cell and Tissue Formation. The walk over was a bit grueling- 90 degree heat, blazing sun, and noisily dragging luggage (at least we packed light) across cobblestone streets. We made it, though, and checked into our new room (pictures of the outside will have to wait for Day 4). Note Andrew’s “mobile work station” to get some science done while Teisha is in the conference.

One thing that was interesting is that, in addition to having a bathtub/shower, a sink, and a toilet, there was this fixture in the same small room as the toilet, facing it. It didn’t look like any bidet I’ve ever seen, and has hot and cold water. We’re still not sure what it’s for.

Checked in, rinsed off, and gussied up in our “serious scientist” garb (which, for a conference, means slacks and a button shirt with no obvious food or sweat stains), we headed over to the beautiful conference center. The main lecture hall can hold about a thousand people (which is about how many are attending).

The conference center is very ultra-chic and is situated right along the Elbe river.

Here’s Teisha posing in her conference outfit:

Since Andrew’s not actually attending, getting into the conference area to visit could present a problem. So, like many of Mother Nature’s creatures, he quickly evolved protective coloration, mimicking a legitimate conference attendee with suitable garb, a poster tube, and one of the bags handed out to attendees. Two days running (though without the poster tube), this garb has allowed Andrew to seamlessly infiltrate the conference event. He promises that he did his best not to learn anything. We feel pretty vindicated because we’ve caught at least three or four other couples doing the same thing.

Our day ended on a high note– Getting fed by the conference, which prepared a huge banquet feast, and sitting on the plaza of the conference center, watching the Elbe roll by.

In fact, we were so hungry that we couldn’t even wait to take a photo of our meal before digging in:

That’s it for Day 3– the next several days will probably be a bit shorter, since Teisha is at the conference most of the day, and Andrew is telecommuting a bit. But on Day 4, we did take off early to go visit the Blue Wonder Bridge. Tune in soon for the next update!

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