Notes from Germany

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I spent much of last week traveling to Germany — Berlin and Hamburg. Time for an update.

I started off with a day-trip to Berlin, which could have been exciting given my complete lack of German, but I spent it instead with Axel Hecht, localization coordinator for Mozilla, which meant that the chances of my getting lost were pretty slim. What I learned:

  • Berlin is a city under massive change. It’s history is mostly erased, with lots of new buildings blurring the once stark divisions between east and west. You have to know that the line of bricks on the ground marks the old wall. Unfortunately, it was drizzly and cold for most of the day, which didn’t let the architecture shine. Still, I got a feel for the city, and I’ll definitely go back and spend more time there.
  • Axel and I talked a lot about localization, a topic that I have deliberately not dived into yet because it seems in relatively good shape. Figuring out how to coordinate the work of 50 teams of volunteers across the world is something that I know we’ll have to taken on soon, but not this week. It’s nice to be able to learn from Axel and get his perspective on what works/doesn’t work.
  • I found a lot of echoes of my childhood, and brought some of them back: marzipan, Struwwelpeter. I also brought back weird chocolates (pomegranate and chili chocolate anyone?). Who knew germans were so culinarily experimental?
  • Hamburg is a very pleasant city, especially if the weather cooperates. Unfortunately I had camera troubles so didn’t take as many shots as I should have. But I liked the blend of canals, modern architecture and older buildings, and a general feeling of highly functional buildings. Recommended.
  • Strangely enough, while we certainly had our share of good beer, we had only one schnitzel and no sausages. Don’t know why, that’s something to be corrected in the future.
  • Work meetings went well. It was I think very helpful to have Dan, Bryan, Mark and I in the same room as many of the Calendar contributors, including Daniel Boelzle, Simon Paquet, Philipp Kewisch, Christian Jansen, and more. See Bryan’s photo to match names and faces. I also have some untagged pictures for less formal shots. I’ll write more about the calendar project in another post.
  • I’ve discovered a special area of Schipol airport with really nice relaxing chairs, a good place to spend 4h layovers

For the record, a few great places to eat:
In Berlin:

In Hamburg:

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