Travellings: Deutschland #2 Deutsches Museum

I have decided that day 8 (today) is going to be a lazy day – it is a Sunday after all. Yesterday was spent wandering around the Deutsches Museum for the best part of the afternoon. Imagine the Science Museum crossed with the Imperial War Museum and from a German perspective. It’s truly an amazing place (particularly if you’re a history/science person or a petrol-head) and there’s no way you can absorb everything in a day, so I am determined to go back at a later date.

The first hall I walked into was dedicated to various types of craft – it starts off with boats and rafts from the earliest designs and then walks you through various historical stages and improvements with a mixture of miniature and life-size models – some of which you can go inside and take a look around. Then there’s a fascinating section on engines and the individual components until you reach the aircraft section. Out of all the sections, I spent the best part of my time walking around the aerospace and “astronautics” – their wording, not mine – sections. I have to admit I have a thing about flying things (I blame the cat’s influence, personally.) There were helicopters, gliders, jets, propeller craft, rockets; the lot. The bit that really pleased me was when I managed to recognise a Messerschmitt (see, Matt? Proper spelling just for you :p) without having to read the placard – silly, I know. And in another hall, there were life-size replicas of the very first flying machines – Bleriot’s craft in which he made his successful crossing of the Channel included – as well as replicas of the first hot-air balloons and wing-like contraptions that were used to glide. The interesting thing here is that one side of the hall is dedicated to flying creatures, the physics behind their capability to fly and how they inspired the creators of our modern-day flying machines.

Replica of Bleriot's aircraft which crossed the Channel
Replica of Bleriot's aircraft which crossed the Channel

Then there was the more science-y bit and less of the Imperial War Museum side of things. There were entire rooms dedicated to various means of providing energy: how we mine for oil and gas, hydro-electricity and of course nuclear power, amongst other things. Then there was the really interesting section on lasers and their role in modern industry, the process of casting and smelting and a load of other machinery bits that I couldn’t understand because it was all in complicated German and by this point my brain had given up and turned to a pile of mush. I did understand the section in the optics room on holograms – those were pretty cool.

I didn’t spend nearly enough time in this section, but by this point it was mid-afternoon and I was hungry. There is also a section on musical instruments and astrophysics – there is, I think, some form of an observatory there, neither of which I saw. Oh well, looks like I’ll just have to go back another time. What a shame. I also made a new friend in the form of a grumpy-looking chef in the café-type place on the ground floor of the main building – shame he only spoke Bavarian to me, so communication between us was fairly limited – I think I guessed what he was saying correctly; he only looked confused once – but out of all the customers that left, I was the one who got a wave: best friend #6.

And yesterday evening I managed to film some of the amazing lightning strikes we seem to be getting most evenings. At the moment it’s averaging 26/27 degrees today, although the past few days have been 28-30 degrees with very little cloud. For the past few nights, however, the weather breaks and there are the most amazing thunder storms with lightning – they last for at least an hour, if not several. By the next day, however, it’s all cleared up and there’s no sign of the stormy tantrum from the night before.

lightning snapshot
lightning snapshot - the most impressive was a strike the spanned the entire horizon

This morning was spent outside around the back of the hotel in the sun reading. I decided to turn into a bit of a sun-lizard (lizard because I’m rather cold-blooded in that I need my surroundings to be warm to feel the warmth myself.) Except I’ve had to come inside now because I have a tendency to go from alabaster to a lovely shade of lobster very quickly. Anyway, I’ve just finished reading (finally) Guy Deutscher’s book “The Unfolding of Language”, which I mentioned in a previous post. Okay, I didn’t mention it, I waxed lyrical about it, but that’s only because I wish I’d read it earlier and the points he makes in the book make so much sense I couldn’t believe that they hadn’t occurred to be until I sat down and read about them.

Personally, I think this would have helped explain any tricky aspects of one of the modules I took this year on the development of the German language because there’s an entire chapter on the types of language change and he doesn’t just reference German (which is both helpful and not at the same time.) The only drawback is that although the material is explained in such an accessible way, (and is not only gratifying to read, but you also feel like you’ve learned something whilst actually enjoying it) the actual linguistic terms are not always introduced to the reader. So if you wanted to research it further, you’d either have to already be familiar with the topic, or be about to study it, in which case you’d understand the processes, and would just need to learn the correct vocab. Then again, maybe I’ve found it easy/enjoyable to read because I’ve already studied the topic and found it gratifying that I knew what he was talking about in some chapters and could smugly scan the pages – it’s not often that you feel you’re on the same wave-length as someone with the brain the size of a planet.

Marvin the paranoid android from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
"Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? 'Cos I don't."

In any case, there are chapters which I know I will want to go back to and read a second time – although I understand things on a basic level, there’s still a lot to absorb and internalise. In the meantime, I shall let its contents take a while to sink in and read another book also by Deutscher called “Through the Language Glass”, which takes you through the differing perspectives and I suppose cognitive abilities that different languages give you. Prepare for me to rave about that one too in the near future – bear in mind that I don’t start work for roughly another week and there’s only so much of wandering around museums I can do before I get bored.

Having said that, I do plan on visiting the Alte and Moderne Pinakotek in Munich – from what I’ve heard/read, they’re essentially massive art galleries – the “Alte” for classical and “old” works, and the “Moderne”, well… for more modern artists, surprisingly.

Oh, and in the past two days, I’ve only been into a McDonald’s once – see? I’m improving all the time.

Ciao :)

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One thought on “Travellings: Deutschland #2 Deutsches Museum

  1. Guten Tag!

    Well, it’s evident you’re having an interesting time in your new surroundings! I love the photo of the Bleriot aircraft and the lightning strike. Imagine flying across the channel in such a flimsy yet elegant aircraft – they were intrepid people those early aeronauts! Perhaps I should tell you that I’ve always been quite interested in aircraft – I was in the RAF for three years after I left school. I was ground crew, not a pilot, so I didn’t fly (such a disappointment!!). But I have flown in a glider and I went up a few times in a Chipmunk training aircraft – like this one here: http://www.army.mod.uk/images/central-panel/aac_haf_chipmunk_410.jpg
    Flying is fun! But, then again, so are walking, reading, swimming, dancing, listening to music and writing comments on your blog!!

    Tschüss!!

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