Did I tell you that we had perfect weather for the first 8 or 9 days? The temperature went up to a record (?) 30 C, we had sunshine and blue skies most of the time. Even today after some rain in the morning it cleared up and the afternoon was beautiful (look at the picture!).
So what did we do today? Well, after taking part in the quest for the perfect picture(s) for somebody's living room (which was semi-successful), we escaped and went on a quick shopping and sightseeing tour in Erlangen.
Although it's existence was first documented in 1002, the first major date in Erlangen's history is 1686. That's when a (pretty big?) group of French huguenots, fleeing religious persecution in their home country, settled in the new part of town which was built by the Markgraf Christian Ernst, following certain baroque ideals. (I'm a travel pig, not a history buff, so please excuse my over-simplified version of what went on back then!)
Anyway, the city grew and grew and in 1743 the university was founded. It's called Friedrich-Alexander-Universitšt and today is the 2nd largest university in Bavaria (after Munich).
Erlangen is also known for its "Bergkirchweih", a two week event held in May/June, sort of a combined fair and beerfest that takes place around the "Keller" on the "Burgberg". A "Keller" is a cave -like storage room - dating back to the times before modern refrigeration - where the local breweries used to store their beer to keep it cool. They're still used today. The first Bergkirchweih took place in 1755 (!!!) and today the university closes for one week to give its students (and teachers!) the opportunity to really enjoy it - attendance probably wouldn't be very high anyway ...
Erlangen has about 100,000 inhabitants - and lots and lots of bikes! And it's not only students that ride them. I have a feeling that Americans would call the city the bike captial of Germany ...
In the picture you can see me in front of the "Schloss" which today houses the administrative offices of the university. (Sorry Sabine, I know you hate to see that building but I think it looks pretty good :-)
More to follow! Livi