Week 12: Hamburg and Hannover

It was a week of mourning and tearful new beginnings as we had to throw away months of work due to the contamination, aggressively clean everything (which litteraly brought tears to my eyes because of all the isopropyl alcohol), and start over with some new cells.  Luckily, some work was salvagable because a few pellets I had isolated the RNA from were ones that my supervisor had frozen before the bad passage came in, so I can still continue with reverse transcription and PCR for those samples.  Sadly, for the new cells I seeded, I won’t see the day that they are full neurons because it is a 28 day differentiation process and I have but half that.

On a lighter note, over the weekend, I traveled up North to Hanover and Hamburg with a few friends I know who live in that area.  One of them is from the US and was living in Flagstaff but fell in love with Germany and decided to move up here, and the other two were studying abroad at NAU for a semester and we crossed paths through the NAU Ultimate Frisbee Club.  It was really strange being together again in a country on the opposite side of the world, where the roles were completely reversed – I was the guest and we were on their turf.  They showed me all the normal German traditions, like eating a large brunch consisting primarily of bread, cheese, various deli meats, and veggies.  On Saturday, we all met up and rented a paddle boat on the lake, ate dinner on the Harbor, and walked the red light district of Hamburg, regretting that we hadn’t decided to spend the night there.  Instead, we took the last train back to Hannover and slept at my friends house.  In Hannover, we mostly just walked around, caught up, and stopped at all the tourist spots (for my benefit).  One thing that I thought was really cool about Hannover is that they have this random sewage drain that has music coming out of it.  Why?  No one knows!

On a side note, I would like to mention something about transportation in Germany.  On first glance, if you wait untill the last minute to figure out your travel plans, it can seem quite expensive.  However, there are always ways to get around for cheap!  Germany offers several regional passes, like the Bayern Pass in Bavaria, and the Niedersachen Pass in the Lower Saxony, which only cost about €23 for one person and €5 for each additional person, and allow you to use any local trains as well as city buses and metros!  So, instead of paying €150 for my train there, I only paid about €40 for the train to the first city in the Niedersachen Region, and then bought the pass for three people (average 10 per person), which we were going to use to get around Hamburg and then back to Hannover anyways.  Then, for the way back, I used BlaBla car, which is a ridesharing site for Europe.  At first, I was a little sketched out about driving with a complete stranger, because in the US, this would definetely be a red flag, but my friends from Germany use it all the time and have only had positive experiences, so I decided to try it.  One great bonus is that you can get all the way accross the country for about €20, and the ride isn’t actually that long usually because of the amazingness that is the German Autobahn (no speed limits!).

Hamburg from the top of the Rathaus
Hanover from the top of the Rathaus
All of us in front of the Hanover Rathaus
All of us in front of the Hanover Rathaus
The Hanover Rathaus
The Hanover Rathaus
Paddle boating on the Alster Lake in Hamburg
Paddle boating on the Alster Lake in Hamburg

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