There are few reasons that makes anyone hooked to hit a trip to Germany.
1. Germany is the land of technology – the home of some of the famous Car manufacturers including – Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, and yea, much more. Also the famous engineering companies – Bosch and Siemens, to name a few.
2. Has the largest economy in Europe and fourth largest economy in the world, founding fathers of European Union and Eurozone economy.
3. Over a third of the energy consumption in Germany is from Renewable resources.
The icing of the cake would be to
attend one of the biggest fairs in the world – Hannover Messe 2015. With, more than 4500 exhibitors, spread over 30 halls, 200,000 visitors from over 120+ countries, watching the next generation of technologies here in action is marvellous! Something more interesting to know is that, the partner country is India.
This year’s theme was Industrie 4.0 and Integrated Industry – a much versatile attempt to bring mechanical and ICT together.
While I can make this as a technical post about what I learnt in the fair, it might be a boring post to most of you, but there is something more interesting to read about the whole trip.
The whole trip was filled with interesting turns and twists, from the beginning! (Not just during the start of the trip, but even when we have started to plan)
Once all the flight tickets were frozen, we had a big question mark with respect to stay. The hotels were showing exorbitant rates. The other non conventional alternatives available were airbnb and couchsuring which were relatively new to all of us! We had tried shooting requests to as many people of Hannover as we could, but we were surprised to see that everyone declined the request with the principal reason being that, they had already a couch surfer in their home. One of the comments said that the city becomes 10x during the events of Hannover messe, which we almost realised, although it really didn’t appealed to be. As this continued, we just had a week left until the departure date, when still we didn’t had a clear idea of stay. With a little bit of Jugaad thinking, we changed the strategy to send requests not to the people of Hannover but to Hildesheim, which is almost half an hour from the city/Fair. Luckily, we got positive responses from most of the people, and we accepted to stay with the first person who responded.
The next big twist was during the departure from Stockholm. The flight ought to depart by 6.50 PM. Everything went fine until check in, Security check, check in through the gates, getting seated inside the aircraft, transfer from the gates to the runway. We heard this usual sound – nnneeeaaaaaooowwwwww, the big sound that the engines make before the flight speeds through the runway. In a moment, the captain puts these words across the communication system – “Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the five computers that control the aircraft doesn’t function properly, and so we are resetting it. This might take a couple of minutes”. Actually five minutes passes, and still the aircraft is standing still in the runway. Now the captain comes online again and says, “Apologies for the delay, we are still trying to reset the system, and might take another couple of minutes”. Another five minutes passes, (I guess the pilot needs to check his watch :p) and this time he says, “Dear passengers, we are extremely sorry for the delay. Since we continue to have further issues with troubleshooting, we are heading back to the gates”…
But this statement was bothering to all three of us (oops, I forgot to say that along with me, Hari and Janahvi are also coming. As we share common dreams and goals, we found the trip to be exciting with interesting talks and conversations from the beginning until the end. We still do 😀 ) It was bothering, not for the reason of the fear of the aircraft not taking off properly or something like that, but because we have a connecting flight from Copenhagen by 9.15 PM. So we started to calculate the last arrival time to CPH so that we might catch the connecting flight. We really started to think ahead of time.
Time passes by. While the technicians work on the problems, we are concerned with our own problems. As the time progresses, the buffer time gap to catch the next flight diminishes and our concern escalates. Time was by then almost 7.30 PM. I thought that only I had the problem, but along with us, there were some more pity passengers who had the same problem. They started to line in front to tell about their concern to the head air-hostess.
I initially mistook that these people have lined up for using the restroom. Thinking so, I raced em all and went to the front of the aircraft, only then to feel guilty that everyone are waiting for answers! :O . But no one yelled at me! In few minutes, the air-hostess came back with the information that those who will miss the connecting flight to hannover will get a place in the next day’s flight. By that time, we understood that, we are for sure gonna miss the flight that night.
But the best part was that, we got our stay arranged in a four star accommodation – Scandic Syndhaven. We got royal treatments (not so really) with a cab to and fro and 75 Danish Krone credit each which can be used for our dinner purposes.
All of us being vegetarians, (One having turned recently), asked for vegetarian burgers in Burger King in Kobenhamn airport. Unfortunately, they ran out of the patties, but the waiter was kind enough to give whatever they had in veg, and finally, they gave us food which was worth more than we could get for!
That night, we saw Hospitality at its heights!
But not at its fullest!
We took the cab, and had some interesting conversation with the cab driver who identified as Indians, and tried to entertain us with coolest Indian songs (He sang them). He knew little Hindi as well. But the surprising thing being, himself coming from Turkey!
Gosh! CRM at its heights! 😀
We arrived at the Hotel. Gave the slip that was given to us to the attendant at the Reception. He said, “Ah! The hotel is full. SAS called us and blocked all the vacant rooms and we have nothing left”. We were unpleasant inside, but gave reactions in such a way that we need the place in your damn hotel! (But we didn’t speak a word!) Looking at us, the receptionist again looked at his computer screen, was trying to look hard into it, as if he can create a new room for us by magic! We continued staring at him! Then he came back to us saying, “Sir, since all standard rooms are occupied, we are offering you a Suite” 🙂 Now we saw the hospitality at its fullest!
Thanks SAS for taking care of us in such a nice way!
After a nice sleep and a cozy stay, we started in the morning for the early morning flight! (Good thing that we got the earliest flight).
Put your seat belts right! Sit upright! Destination Hannover!
Filled with excitement, we reached Hannover, the city of Fairs. We heard in advance about the extent of promotion and publicity of “Make in India” campaign, and so we were not super surprised to see the hoardings, promotion in the Airport. But yes, we were when we were out in the city, to only see the ad campaigns of that Lion filled with different elements in every corner, every taxi, every bus and every sign boards that can be spotted in the city!
There were helpers, in the outfits of Hannover Messe out there in the airports and the railway
stations to help out people with the information. Everyone were given a freebie of a cloth bag with “Make in India” lion. There was a little badge and a fancy pen drive inside the bag.
Taking the S-bahn, we reached the fair grounds. After having our lunch, we proceeded, and it took sometime to get the feel and structure of the whole fair. It was too massive to understand.
Luckily, I met few people, known to me, one being my professor who were with us during the Laboratory session in Bachelors. He told us a glimpse of the whole fair and the most important ones, which ought not to be missed. After a quick plan, we finished the evening and started towards Hildesheim.
After the night, we started back to Hannover Messe in the morning. After covering the ones which we intended for, I was waiting for the Guided Technology tours. This was a nice arrangement,
wherein, the people are taken on a tour to specific stalls. The participants get a headphone and a receiver. The participants follow the tour guide and in each stall, the stall representative speaks over the mic, and we hear him over the receiver. The tour which I chose was Industrie 4.0 and I got a chance to see the latest developments in this area from various companies.
That day being the last day, all the stalls had started to unpack, exactly by 5 PM. The unpacking was so meticulous and fast that, as we walked from one of the halls to the entrance, we saw almost 50% of the things been removed in most of the stalls.
The next on our list was hamburg. We had to take the regional trains. We figured that there were trains that pass Hannover Messe that goes directly to Hamburg. The ticket that we obtained was something called as Niedersachsen ticket (Lower Saxony). So having this ticket, entails to travel in the whole region of Lower Saxony. We got on board of ICE – super fast train which clocks at 250 kmph. The more interesting thing about Germany, unlike Sweden is that, you don’t have to check your ticket in the barricades to pass the entrance. All the stations are open and you can get on board, even in the U-bahn(Metro). The ticket examinee comes on board (not so frequently) and checks the ticket (Similar to India). He checks our ticket, gives a kind of Sigh and leaves away. Although we did not understand that, we later got to know that ICE was not included in the ticket. We were entitled to travel only in slow speed regional trains. But this person should have been a gentleman, to have understood that we are ignorant and innocent people. 😉
We somehow finally reached, Hamburg. After munching burgers (not ‘Hamburg’ers though :P) in McD, we headed towards one of Janahvi’s friends home! The next day was her birthday. Hari somehow managed to get a cake without Janahvi’s knowledge and had me hid inside my bag. He is quiet good in doing these stuffs. I remember my Birthday too, when he sneaked away my keys from my home, without my knowledge to surprise me at 12! 😀 😀 😀
We go to their home, and chat until 12, and we say, “Happy Birthday Janahvi” and cut the cake! 😉 A simple yet an elegant birthday! lol!
The next day, our plan was to join the walking city tour by 11 AM. But this plan gets messed up, and we end up eating in an Italian Restaurant. The food was so amazing and the hospitality had
no limits. This made us to come back for dinner in the same place! Meanwhile we explored the city at our own pace, clicking so many photographs and going by the water front of River Elbe.
This time, we stayed at yet another classy hotel, with the best sleep which we didn’t get for past couple of days! I realised that, I left my specs case and specs inside at our friend’s place. This is something I keep doing in every trip of mine.
The next day morning was rather a lousy one, vacating the room almost noon, but I left early to get back my case and joined the other two guys in the miniature museum.
Few words ought to be described about miniature museum! First, it is world famous. It was built at an estimation of whopping 14 million euros! 300 people work in this museum all time, and half the people are interns. The museum is constantly updated and its ever growing. With several thousands of sensors and actuators, one could see a real miniature world.
By real I mean, everything real! The people in the artefacts move, the factories really operate ( You could see a miniature chocolate museum which makes chocolate on the spot – melts, bakes, packs and gives out a Lindt chocolate!), trains go around (It has 12 km of rail connections), and even the flights take off and land! It is just marvellous! All the events are continuously monitored in large screens. Its a dream come true for the people who work in Embedded Systems, Microprocessors and Micro controllers!
With all nice memories and lots of inspiration, we head back to the airport to fly back to Stock”HOME”! 🙂