Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Angela Merkel is in Town

Frau Merkel came to Mannheim (sorry the English press didn't yet cover it) for the first time as Chancelor today. She was actually giving a speech in the building across the street from my office as a guest of a University of Mannheim Professor at the ZEW (translates to Center for European Business). Tried as we might via the 4th floor window, 3rd floor window and a solo attempt by ours truelz for a viewing and photo, I could only get as close as her cars (3 Mercedes and an Audi, all black, 2 registered in Berlin and the third from Bonn) and didn't want to look suspicious to the police by taking a photo. Suprisingly for an American such as myself, the security was minimal, a few uniformed police and a couple of plain clothes guys on foot patrol and no closed off street. In fact, you can find way more security on a Satrday in and around Mannheim soccer games - and they aren't even in the 1st league! According to the article I referenced above, she was in town for only 2 hours to hold the presentation and then she left via helicoptor. She as one black away from the Castle and didn't even visit it. Since my whole Merkel experience (or lack there of) was a bit of a disapointment, I've included the following photos from the Christmas Market we visited last weekend in Bad Wimpfen. Of course, I felt obliged to include the standard Christmas 1/2 meter sausage (in case you forgot I was still in Germany). It is an old walled city that has remained mostly old and I look foward to visiting in the daylight/spring but it was the perfect back drop to a traditional Christmas Market. You can even bring your own mug! This weekend we are hoping to go to Nuremburg - the mother of all Christmas Markets, I only hope it can live up to its reputation.

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