Jun. 14th, 2014

Finally heading home! Made it from Hamburg to Amsterdam, just waiting for the Amsterdam to Atlanta leg. Yaaaay!

Thursday was a short day at the conference--after getting home after 1 am, I had to be at the 8 am symposium on Huntington's Disease, as one of the MRN guys was giving a talk, and Jebo was heading the panel. It was a good panel! Lots of interesting findings, and the PET stuff in particular was very promising. Jeci made it too, which was good 'cause she really needed to hear all of it.

The keynote of the morning I didn't find particularly thrilling, but I may have been burned out. Jebo and Jeci and I all sat next to each other in the back of the auditorium, and we were all checking email and doing other stuff. But after that we were all splitting up--Jebo still had a poster to stand by but I was off to see the town, and Jeci was starting her week of free time and trying to decide what to do. She got a lot of advice from me and Jebo and Towh who stopped by to say goodbye. :) Towh lives in Rotterdam so her advice was the most meaningful, and I'm thinking Jeci decided to go off to Amsterdam and from there to Bruge and Ghent over the course of the week. I just hope she manages to get back in one piece--she's a little scattered!! I got a panicked email from her later in the day about her hotel bill not having been paid for, she couldn't pay for it, her card was being denied, eek eek--and it turned out she was supposed to have picked up a check before she left the US but didn't see the email/voicemail about it. Oops!! But her mom wired her the money to settle the hotel bill, luckily, and replenished her credit card so she can keep traveling. Yeah, Jeci's a little young. ;)

So I went off to the Port of Hamburg, which is one of the top-listed things to do, and it was a complete waste. Smelly, dirty, nothing happening except tours leaving to do trips on the water. I bought some souvenirs and they wouldn't take my credit card (even the European pre-paid card I bought!) which made me nervous about running out. So then I was heading to the art museum (Kunsthalle) but hopped off at the Rathaus on a whim, and that was a good choice! The sun came out, the Rathaus is very picturesque and I got some good shots--as well as bumping into someone else I know from the conference, who was also out sightseeing! We were going different directions, unfortunately, but it was funny to stop and compare notes. I walked from there to the Kunsthalle, passed it to the train station, and there I could pull more Euros off my prepaid card, and exchange some more as well.

The art museum was much fun, for me. More on that after I post this. :)
So the Kunsthalle in Hamburg is actually three buildings--for old art, modern art, and contemporary art, roughly speaking, though I'm not entirely sure what's in the middle building. It's whoppingly expensive to get in, but they let you take pictures! I don't remember being in a museum before that didn't have "no flash/no photos" signs everywhere. Maybe with the rise of cell phone cameras they've given up?

But it made it a slightly different experience, to go into a gallery with an eye toward what I could take a picture of--what popped off the wall, what was different/interesting/worth a photo? :) Most of them didn't come out--my cell phone camera work is almost always blurry, I really need the real camera. But it was fun to try! I saw a number of familiar pieces and some really bizarre ones. The medieval stuff had some interesting points; I was reading the various altar pieces' depictions of events from the Bible and it was funny to see what they chose to depict, what they skipped over, and what they ended on. I can't judge the technique on those things, of course.

The museum tended to hang things together--there was a room or two of Dutch interiors, a room of still lifes, a room of Madonna's, a room of nature scenes, etc. That made it fun to do a compare and contrast, and see which one I liked better or why.

I kind of skipped the 1800s section, but in the modern section I spied a Picasso and a Braque and the usual impressionists (there was a Sisley showing the summer sun on the harvest fields that I swear felt hot to stand in front of :). I guess in the 1800s section there was a magnificent wall painting of some Kaiser's triumphant entry somewhere, and it was full of snorting horses and barebreasted maidens, really lively and well executed for my point of view. I tried to get pictures of it but I fear only one even remotely came out, a close-up on one of the (dressed) ladies of the court who struck me as just gorgeous.

I walked from the Kunsthalle back up to the conference center and on to my hotel, getting in a little after 3 pm and very footsore! I got some work done, copied the photos off my camera and threw out some of the bad ones, and met Dogr for dinner at 6:45. :)



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