Monday, November 12, 2007

Heidelberg Stays Up

I don't know if this is a country-wide or just a local phenomenon, but there's a bit of a craze for stay-up-late events in Heidelberg - and I'm not talking about dance marathons for charity. Several months ago, there was the "Long Night of Museums", when local museums kept their exhibits open super-late. A week and a half ago we got the "Long Night of Shopping", during which stores stayed open on a Saturday until midnight. And this past weekend, there was even a super-nerdy "Nacht der Wissenschaft!" This translates sort of to "night of science", though the definition of Wissenschaft is a little more broad than the English definition of science - it encompasses philology and philosophy, for instance, which most people in the probably would not consider science. (The literal translation of Wissenschaft is something like "the business of knowledge", which is freaking cool.) The night included lectures, tours, and other geeky stuff until 2am on Saturday.

Die Nacht der Wissenschaft was hyped a lot at my work since I am in research, and one of my coworker friends even gave a lecture. (In a showing of brilliant German openness, he informed me that he was nervous about it by saying, "I get diarrhea every time I think about it!") I thought about going to find out more about who and how many people go to these things - mostly uni students prodded by professors? People from the general public? Do they fall asleep or show up drunk or...? Also, I wanted to support my friend. Or laugh at him. In a friendly way, of course. However, I was feeling a bit under the weather Saturday in more ways than one - I was both sick and the actual weather outside was incredibly miserable - so I didn't make it. Maybe if it had been free I would have made it, but there was a hefty fee that didn't seem it would be worth it unless I attended multiple events. If anyone went, tell me how it was!


  1. Was in your 'burb the night of, and though it was a working visit I felt guilty for not being motivated to take a break and hear at least one of the lectures, say on taxes. Someone I'm sort of trying to impress professionally had been pretty insistent about how great the whole shebang is. But I was really under the gun and it felt good this a.m. to have met double key deadlines.

    Um, yeah, and the fee. I don't consider myself cheap, but I'm so glad to hear someone else admit they considered the ticket pricey. At least for one lecture I'd have reached on foot. I guess it's a good deal if you attend a lot of events and take public transport.

    On my way to and from dinner, I got the impression that there were a lot of alteingesessene Heidelberger heading into the fray, the type of people who attend events like the free Aerzteorchester concerts. There were a number of kidz events as well.

    If I'd known about the lecture by your expert on gastrointestinal flare-ups, I might have reconsidered.

    Hope you're feeling better.

  2. Well, Newspaper said 23,000 ppl went in total. Kinda low really - this was a joint event with Mannheim and Ludwigshafen, thus reaching about 700,000 ppl in theory. But definitely understandable with the weather. And the price.

    I think if they'd made it a free-for-all, they'd have had 100,000+ ppl banging on their doors ;)

  3. Your diarrhea vingette reminded me of a similar story. One of my grad school friends, from Columbia, thought that constipation was the same as congestion. He would say "I have a cold and I'm really constipated". Everyone just looked at him funnily and changed the subject. After two years, someone finally figured out his confusion and told him what he had been saying.

  4. Okay, that long night concept is really cool. I need to see if they do that down here...

  5. Wait, they wanted you to PAY to stay up all night? Damn, I'd pay to get a whole night's uninterrupted sleep right about now.

  6. Well... there'd have been one way to pretty much get it "for free".

    Since public transport (to Mannheim/Ludwigshafen) was included, you could have like gone met people there for a night out, and would even got 50 cent out of the deal (€8.50 Ticket 24 cost vs €8 "Long Night" cost).

  7. @ Mary - was he at T.C.?

    A friend of the family was a soloist ... and once, for a church luncheon of proper senior ladies, she slipped and in one stanza of Blessed Consolation, sang "blessed constipation." A few guests cracked smiles.

  8. Molly: Yeah, I have a wide range of FREE seminar options in my life, so I wasn't really interested in paying for one. I think I would have had to plan out the whole night and all the various places I would visit to make the fee worth it, and, well, I hadn't planned at all, so it didn't seem wise.

    Kato: 23000 still sounds pretty good to me! Wissenschaft DOESN'T sell in the US. Let's think back to the "Baby, you know we don't REEEEEAAAAD" story...

    Mary: Too funny!! Was he Spanish-speaking? The word for congested in Spanish sounds like our word for constipated.

    Cowgirl: Someone told me that Aachen had some too, so it seems other cities should as well!

    Naechste: There's probably a place you can pay to do that...I know they have places you can pay to power-nap in Manhattan...;)

  9. He was Spanish speaking. Forgive my spelling - I meant Colombia, not Columbia.


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