Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From Freiburg to Stuttgart 4/21/15

My day got off to a good start with a run along the river in Freiburg.

Unfortunately later in the morning I learned that Deutsche Bahn, the German train system, is going on strike on Wednesday. That just happens to be the day that I have several trains to catch, from Stuttgart to Heidelberg and Heidelberg to Hamburg. My trip is sponsored by the US Embassy, so they were able to make other arrangements via bus and plane. This trip is turning into a version of “planes, trains and automobiles” although buses need to be included.

On my way from Freiburg to Stuttgart I had to change trains at Karlsruhe and in another very un-German situation, my train was delayed and I missed my connection. Luckily there was a regional train a few minutes later, but it meant stops in every small town between Karlsruhe and Stuttgart. Again, I shouldn’t complain too much, since there are other options, but between the strike and delayed trains, the DeutscheBahn’s reputation is taking a major hit on this trip. I’ll also have to revise my lecture on Germany as a good example of corporatism, which is supposed to avoid strikes, given that there was a strike by Lufthansa pilots back in April. I also heard there is going to be a general strike in Belgium on Wednesday...so it seems to be turning into strike season across Europe. Strikes and protests are a regular occurrence in France, but they seem to be happening more regularly in Germany in my visits over the past year.

I was lucky to meet up with a couple of former students in Stuttgart and we walked around town, the weather has been gorgeous on this trip.

We had a good turnout for tonight's lecture and we had a very lively discussion about discrimination and ways to institutionalize antidiscrimination policy.

The main pedestrian shopping street

Folks appreciating the sun and warmth today - along with an interesting mix of architecture 

The Rathaus or City Hall (yes, it's ugly)

People out enjoying the wonderful weather in front of the "new" castle 

My hosts:

My former student Inga

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