I recently had the strange pleasure of visiting a large festival in Germany. Unlike most visitors to Germany at the moment though, this didn’t involve giant jugs of beer and lederhosen, rather, it was a more science based affair.
How intellectual of me, you are probably thinking. And you would probably be right, although any man who turns down the opportunity to wander around giant bits of machinery with accompanying red buttons and warning signs that you can’t read should be questioning their status of manliness.
The festival in question, from what I could glean, was mostly about space, and also about planes, mostly of the planes-that-help-in-space-research variety. It took place in a very large and very barbed wire surrounded facility that was home to a great many machines that clearly did very interesting things, given the number of wires and buttons that were attached to them, and the length of their names in German. German not being a language that is afraid of a nice long word.
I did find one section of the show that was in English. It was all about wee, and how astronauts wee, and what wee in space is like. This wasn’t a topic I had previously thought I would find of interest, but as it was the only information panel I was able to find in English, I devoured it nonetheless. And it was as fascinating as the topic of space based wee could be.
Beyond wee, there were all sorts of other things that engineer friends of mine would no doubt have been enthralled by. Giant wind tunnels, for example, currently in use to test things that might be on their way to Mars shortly. Other enormous machines whose use were a mystery to those of us in the crowd (me) not fluent in German.
All of these things were presided over by a large number of extremely boffin looking chaps, who, I’m pretty sure, were fairly nervous about the general public being allowed to come and poke around their highly scientific looking equipment.
This being a German festival, there were some standards that were adhered to. Wurst stalls selling sausages that far outsized their accompanying buns of course being one, and copious amounts of beer being sold at bargain prices being the other.
The other half of the show, past the wind tunnels and the red buttons, was the planes bit, which was the part of the show I was more interested in, being as I harbour a secret passion for things that fly around in the sky.
This was very interesting, full of seriously exotic looking craft. The plane that is used to simulate Zero G for example, was there. A giant 747 used by NASA as some kind of mobile telescope (turbulence must make that job fun) was casually parked up. There was even an A380 that deigned to give us a low level fly by. All very jolly stuff.
So that was the space show, and other than a hilariously overcrowded bus (Germany is not as efficient as you might think) getting us to and from the venue, the whole day was terribly enjoyable.
Other recent activities we’ve taken part in have been what you would expect – meeting people, drinking beer, wandering through the forest, enjoying the long tail of the European summer that is still doing it’s best to let t-shirts and shorts be the preferred clothing choice.
This weekend we’re off to Luxembourg for a brief visit, and I’m sure a post about that will be coming soon. In the meantime, here are some bells.